RI not alone in pushing retirement age for a full pension to 67

Dozens of teachers and other government employees appeared before the joint finance committee last week to decry the proposal by Governor Chafee and Treasurer Raimondo to align the state pension system with Social Security by raising the retirement age to 67 for workers who aren’t in public safety.

“Do you really want a 66-year-old kindergarten teacher taking care of your children?” asked one. “I can’t imagine being able to do this at 67,” said another.

As it turns out, though, Raimondo and Chafee aren’t completely alone in thinking 67 should be the new 62 for the public sector. Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, another Democrat (and a 73-year-old himself), made the same “rare” proposal just last week, Bloomberg reports:

California would join Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri in raising the age threshold as a way to shave costs. …

Since 1989, public employees in Minnesota have had to reach 66 to step down with full benefits, according to Susan Barbieri, a spokeswoman for the state’s Teachers Retirement Association. …

Illinois and Missouri both bumped up their retirement age to 67 last year, according to Keith Brainard, research director for the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. Most states have thresholds of 60 or 62 years old, he said.

Congress in 1983 increased the age at which Americans can collect full Social Security payments to 67 for those born after 1959, according to the Social Security Administration’s website. …

The retirement age for California workers not in public-safety jobs was 65 in 1932, when the state created its pension system, according to a summary of Brown’s proposals. At that time, a 20-year-old wasn’t projected to survive beyond 70.

What’s unclear is whether the changes enacted in those three states and proposed in California apply to workers already in the system or only to new hires. The Raimondo-Chafee bill would make the retirement age 67 for any current employee born after 1959, though individuals could retire sooner with a reduced pension.

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