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Your retirement options

Learn more about the pension benefits you collect after you retire or leave your public service job.

There are three options to choose from for your retirement benefits. You may not change your option selection for any reason after you retire.

Retirement options

  • Receive maximum monthly payments for as long as you live.
  • Your benefits stop when you die.
  • Your surviving beneficiaries receive nothing upon your death.
  • Your monthly payments are on average 3 to 5 percent less than Option A based upon actuarial tables.
  • Your surviving beneficiary or beneficiaries receive a lump sum payment of any unspent monies from your annuity reserve account when you die.
  • You may change your beneficiary or beneficiaries at any time.
  • You may also include organizations as a lump sum beneficiary.
  • This is also known as the joint and last survivor allowance.
  • Your monthly payments are on average 10 to 12 percent less than Option A based upon actuarial tables.
  • Upon your death, your beneficiary will receive two-thirds of your Option C benefit for life.
  • You may only nominate one person as an Option C beneficiary. The Option C beneficiary must be either a spouse, former spouse who has not remarried, child, parent, or sibling.
  • Should your Option C beneficiary die before you, you will automatically pop up to Option A.

For more details about the options, please check out our retirement process checklist.

Retirement groups

There are four group classification assigned to various jobs.  Your group classification determines the number used to calculate your benefit amount.

We calculate benefits based on:

  • your group classification
  • your years of service, and
  • an average of three years of your highest pay (five years for those who started their membership after April 2, 2012).
Group Number Job
Group 1
Percentage Chart (Group 1)
Group 1 covers elected officials, general employees, clerical, administrative, and technical workers.
Group 2
Percentage Chart (Group 2)
Group 2 is limited to include hazardous jobs. Electricians, police and fire signal repair workers, and some corrections officers.
Group 3 Group 3 is for State Police. The group is not part of  the Boston Retirement System.
Group 4
Percentage Chart (Group 4)
Group 4 primarily includes public safety employees.

Retirement formula chart

We calculate your pension benefit by multiplying your group classification number by your years of public service. We then multiply that percentage by your highest average income over three years. We calculate your percentage as follows:

age group 1 group 2 group 4
65+ 2.5 2.5 2.5
64 2.4 2.5 2.5
63 2.3 2.5 2.5
62 2.2 2.5 2.5
61 2.1 2.5 2.5
60 2 2.5 2.5
59 1.9 2.4 2.5
58 1.8 2.3 2.5
57 1.7 2.2 2.5
56 1.6 2.1 2.5
55 1.5 2 2.5
54   1.9 2.4
53   1.8 2.3
52   1.7 2.2
51   1.6 2.1
50   1.5 2
49     1.9
48     1.8
47     1.7
46     1.6
45     1.5

For example, say you were a Group 1 worker, age 65, who chose Option A and had 30 years of service.

If your highest three-year average in earnings was $50,000, your pension benefit would be:

  • 2.5 x 30 = 75 percent
  • 0.75 x $50,000 = $37,500 each year. That works out to $3,125 each month.

Refund of retirement deductions

We can refund your contributions if you stop working for the City.

You will receive your total amount of retirement deductions paid into the retirement system plus interest. You need to complete a refund application, print it out, and either mail it or bring it to us at:

Retirement Board
1 City Hall Square, Room 816
Boston, MA 02201
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

We will issue your refund within 60 days. You may not refund your account while you’re still an active employee.  Also, refunds are subject to tax liens and child support orders.

We listed the three different options to get your refund below:

  • We will pay you a lump sum plus interest, but less Federal withholding.

  • You may make a direct rollover to an eligible retirement plan.
  • If you are rolling over to a Roth IRA, you'll have to pay the standard 20 percent federal withholding tax. You may not roll after-tax contributions over into a traditional IRA.
  • You can roll over part of your contributions to another retirement plan and take the rest as a lump sum payment. You may have to pay taxes on whatever you take for yourself.
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