Glitch in state treasurer’s office delays benefits to 53,000 retired teachers

About 53,000 retired teachers did not receive their monthly benefit payments this week because of a human error in the state treasurer’s office, officials said Thursday.

The problem, which affected retired teachers whose benefits are electronically deposited into their bank accounts, has been rectified, but the deposits may not go through until Friday, according to the office of State Treasurer Steven Grossman.

The glitch irked former educators.

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“It wouldn’t have mattered to me that much but we have things planned for the weekend,” Stephen Graham, who retired from Tyngsborough Public Schools in 2001 after teaching for 35 years, said Thursday. “I planned to go to the bank today to withdraw some money, but I wasn’t able to do that.”

Graham said his benefits are usually processed into his bank account on the 28th or 29th of each month, but when his wife called the bank this morning, the money had not arrived.

“I have never had a problem before; everything has been fine up until today,” he said.

About $146 million in benefits designated for the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System were not processed at the correct time, according to Grossman’s office. Retired teachers who receive a check for their monthly benefits were not affected by the issue, officials said.

The MTRS provides “retirement, disability and survivor benefits to more than 88,000 active educators and 55,000 retirees and survivors,” according to its website.

In an e-mail, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union, said it was aware of the problem and said the issue was specifically with “the direct-deposit file the treasurer’s office uses for teacher retirees.”