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  • Pay Raise & Final Average Pay

    Apr 12, 2019, 9:33 AM By MOSERS

    Will the raise that we are suppose to get in 2020 effect my retirement? If I am already on my BackDROP and if I retire in dec of 2021.

    Assuming the pay raise is included in the final state budget and goes into effect in January 2020, if you continue working and do not take BackDROP, the impact of a pay increase on your monthly retirement benefit payment would be dependent upon how long you continue working.

    Remember, in calculating your monthly benefit, one factor is your Final Average Pay, which is your highest 36 consecutive months of pay. So, if you got a raise and worked a few months past January 2020, the impact may be very small. If you got a raise and worked an additional 36 months, the impact would be bigger.

    Any pay earned during your BackDROP period has no impact on either your monthly benefit amount or your BackDROP lump-sum amount. If you are eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your FAP will be calculated using your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. In other words, pay (and service) during the BackDROP period is excluded when calculating your monthly benefit amount.

    But, after you retire, keep mind that MOSERS retirees receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 0-5%. This amount is calculated each January and is based on the CPI (Consumer Price Index), which is unrelated to any pay raises state employees receive. You can find more information about the retiree COLAs on our website.

    You can run benefit estimates under a variety of scenarios by logging in to myMOSERS or asking a MOSERS benefit counselor to run them for you. You may find our Creating a Benefit Estimate video and our Comparison Calculator helpful in weighing your options.

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  • Final Average Pay Calculation

    Jan 23, 2019, 9:15 AM By MOSERS

    I'd always thought retirement benefits were based on the highest pay of our state employment career. I was told by a coworker who recently attended a pre-retirement seminar that once you become eligible (under the rule of 80 for MSEP employees), that the highest pay rate considered for retirement benefits is already locked in and pay increases after that point will have no impact on retirement benefit. Please advise.

    What you heard is not necessarily true – so thanks for checking with us! Whether or not pay for a given period will be considered in determining your final average pay (FAP) depends on if you elect BackDROP* (if eligible); not when you hit “80 & Out”.

    To calculate your pension benefit, we will use your highest 36 full consecutive months of pay – wherever that occurs in your individual pay history. Practically speaking, most people earn their highest 36 consecutive months of pay in their last three years of state employment, but not always. If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your FAP will be calculated using your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. In other words, pay (and service) during the BackDROP period is excluded when calculating your monthly benefit amount.

    If, at retirement, you do not elect BackDROP, we will review your entire pay history and find the 36-month period with your highest pay (regardless of whether that is before or after you might hit “80 & Out”) and will use that in calculating your monthly benefit. You may elect not to take BackDROP if you want all of your pay and service to count. In most cases, opting not to take BackDROP will increase your monthly benefit amount.

    *BackDROP is available only to general state employees who are members of MSEP & MSEP 2000 and who work at least two years beyond normal retirement eligibility.

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  • Calculating Final Average Pay

    Jan 18, 2019, 12:52 PM By MOSERS

    Does MOSERS use the pay period end date or the check issue date when calculating the highest 36 consecutive months?

    In our calculation of final average pay, we credit you based on when the payroll was earned, rather than the month it was actually paid. To calculate your pension benefit, we will use your highest 36 full consecutive months of pay –wherever that occurs in your individual pay history. Practically speaking, most people earn their highest 36 consecutive months of pay in their last three years of state employment, but not always*.

    *Note: If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your FAP will be calculated using your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. In other words, pay during the BackDROP period is excluded when calculating your monthly benefit amount.

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  • Final Average Pay and BackDROP Period

    Nov 29, 2018, 10:43 AM By MOSERS

    My Pension is based on my best 36 months earnings. Wages during my 5 year BackDrop period are excluded. What if my best 36 months are after I complete my 5 year BackDrop period?

    Any pay earned after your BackDROP date (the beginning of your BackDROP period) does not count - it is excluded - when we calculate your monthly retirement benefit. We will look at your entire pay history in your MOSERS-covered employment prior to your BackDROP period to find your highest 36 consecutive months of pay and use that to calculate your monthly benefit.

    Remember, your BackDROP period, whether it is a 2-year or 5-year period, will always be immediately prior to your retirement date. That means, you wouldn’t continue to be employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position after your BackDROP period.

    This is one of the factors to consider when making your elections about BackDROP. You can run benefit estimates under a variety of scenarios by logging in to myMOSERS or contact a MOSERS benefit counselor to run them for you. You may find our Creating a Benefit Estimate video and our Comparison Calculator video helpful in weighing your options.

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  • High 36

    Aug 3, 2018, 1:52 PM By MOSERS

    My five year BackDROP period is complete. I know my retirement check is based on my best 36 months. If I do not elect BackDROP, Can I use my best 36 months throughout my entire career, or only the period prior to my original BackDROP date?

    Yes, if at retirement you do not elect BackDROP, we will review your entire pay history and find the 36-month period with your highest pay, which may be in your final years of employment, and will use that in calculating your monthly benefit.

    Background for Other Readers: Any pay or service you get during your BackDROP period is not counted when calculating your monthly benefit payment. If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your highest 36 consecutive months would be determined from your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date.

    But keep in mind, you are not required to take BackDROP, regardless of how long you work beyond normal retirement eligibility, and you don’t have to notify MOSERS of any decisions about BackDROP until you retire. You may elect not to take BackDROP if you want all your service and pay to count and, likely, increase your monthly benefit.

    Our BackDROP page, with a BackDROP graphic near the bottom, may help you visualize how it works or you can read the BackDROP brochure for more information. BackDROP can be complicated to understand, so MOSERS benefit counselors are available to help by phone or through an in-person appointment. Call (800) 827-1063 to discuss your options. Counselors can also provide you with benefit estimates with and without the BackDROP so you can compare.

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  • Final Average Pay & BackDROP

    Aug 1, 2018, 12:53 PM By MOSERS

    Note: the question below refers to a previous Rumor Central question from July 2018:

    "As you referenced, FAP is determined using your highest 36 full consecutive months of pay when looking at your entire work history covered under MOSERS. Practically speaking, for most, that is their last three years, but not always. The exception to this would occur under the BackDROP (if eligible). If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your highest 36 consecutive months would be determined from your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. In other words, any pay or service during your BackDROP period doesn’t count toward your monthly benefit payments."
    Okay, based off this information, since I am working on my back-drop currently, an increase in pay will NOT increase my retirement? I am planning on working overtime as a Correctional Officer, will this have an effect on the amount of money I receive in my retirement? Yes or No...

    You are correct that pay earned during your BackDROP period will not count towards calculating your retirement benefit. Your monthly benefit will be calculated using your final average pay (FAP) and credited service as of your BackDROP date (the day your BackDROP period begins).

    Any pay or service you get during your BackDROP period is not counted when calculating your monthly benefit payment. To be clear, any overtime pay you receive during your BackDROP period will not be considered in calculating your final average pay. But keep in mind, you are not required to take BackDROP, regardless of how long you work beyond normal retirement eligibility, and you don’t have to notify MOSERS of any decisions about BackDROP until you retire. You may elect not to take BackDROP if you want all your service and pay to count and, likely, increase your monthly benefit.

    Our BackDROP page, with a BackDROP graphic near the bottom, may help you visualize how it works or you can read the BackDROP brochure for more information. BackDROP can be complicated to understand, so MOSERS benefit counselors are available to help by phone or through an in-person appointment. Call (800) 827-1063 to discuss your options. Counselors can also provide you with benefit estimates with and without the BackDROP so you can compare.

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  • Overtime & Final Average Pay (FAP)

    Jul 24, 2018, 10:32 AM By MOSERS

    Given the extreme amount of overtime currently being worked by corrections officers (over 1 million hours so far in 2018, and 1.6 million last year), how will this effect the long term funding available for pensions? Their pension is based off their 3 highest consecutive grossing years of service. Many officers have been grossing 2-3 times their base pay due to the inordinate amount of overtime. This has been ongoing now for two-three years. This will make a huge impact on their pension monthly benefit, increasing it exponentially. Has there been any comprehensive study done on how this will effect our pension funding in the future?

    Calculating Your Benefit

    You are correct, retirement benefits for general state employees are calculated using a three-part formula:

    Final Average Pay (FAP)  x credited service  x  a multiplier =  Monthly Base Benefit

    As you referenced, FAP is determined using your highest 36 full consecutive months of pay when looking at your entire work history covered under MOSERS. Practically speaking, for most, that is their last three years, but not always. The exception to this would occur under the BackDROP (if eligible). If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your highest 36 consecutive months would be determined from your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. In other words, any pay or service during your BackDROP period doesn’t count toward your monthly benefit payments.

    Overtime pay can increase your retirement benefits if there is a pattern of overtime pay. We don’t count one-time payments or any payments from your employer after you terminate state employment such as for unused vacation/annual leave.

    Pension Funding

    With regard to your question about how all this overtime will affect pension funding, you can rest assured that it is all being factored in to our funding process, we have made our external actuary aware of it, and we will continue to monitor it.

    In setting funding policy, our Board of Trustees works with our external actuary to review and set assumptions about a variety of economic and demographic factors including payroll growth, inflation, life expectancy, and several other factors.

    We conduct an annual “valuation” which is collecting all the above data (and more) and sending it to our external actuary. Our actuary does an “experience study” every 5 years to compare our assumptions to our actual experience with our members and with other economic factors. Then, we make adjustments accordingly. All that (and more) goes into the calculation of employer contribution rates going forward.

    The Department of Corrections (DOC) is a large employer but is one of several that we cover. While there may have been increases in payroll at DOC, they are offset elsewhere. For the year ended 6/30/17, the overall pay increase for state employees we cover was slightly less than assumed (p. 20 of 2017-06-30 Actuarial Valuation MSEP). We will have the data for FY18 soon. Each of the 39 state departments, agencies, colleges, or universities that we cover makes employer contributions as a percentage of their total actual payroll, which includes overtime pay. So,paying overtime also increases the amount of employer contributions that DOC has already been making to MOSERS. As mentioned above, we will continue to monitor overtime at DOC and factor it into our funding calculations.

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  • Final Average Pay & Rule of 80

    May 25, 2018, 8:34 AM By MOSERS

    Note: we receive this question a lot, so we thought it would be helpful to repost it as a reminder.

    Is our retirement benefit based on the 3 highest years of wages?
    or the 3 highest years of wages before you hit 80 and out?
    I keep hearing both, so not sure which is right.

    The answer depends on if you elect BackDROP* (if eligible); not when you hit “80 & Out”.

    If you are a general state employee, your retirement benefit is calculated using a three-part formula:

    Final Average Pay (FAP)        x            credited service         x             a multiplier

    FAP is determined using your highest 36 full consecutive months of pay when looking at your entire work history covered under MOSERS. Practically speaking, for most, that is their last three years, but not always.

    The exception to this would occur under the BackDROP (if eligible). If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your highest 36 consecutive months would be determined from your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. (Some people find BackDROP easier to understand if they think of the BackDROP period as being “cashed in” because salary and service during that period don’t count in the calculation of your monthly benefit amount.)

    So, to reiterate, if you don’t elect BackDROP, your monthly benefit will be based on your highest 36 full consecutive months of pay, regardless of whether that is before or after you might hit “80 & Out”. See the General Employees Retirement Handbook (MSEP & MSEP 2000) for an example and more detailed information. Also, keep in mind that “80 & Out” is not the only way to become eligible for retirement. For example, as a general state employee in MSEP 2000, you might become eligible for normal retirement at age 62 with 5 years of service before you would become eligible for “80 & Out”. See What’s My Plan? (bottom of the MOSERS website homepage) with information about plan membership, retirement eligibility requirements, and other plan provisions.

    * BackDROP is available only to general state employees who are members of MSEP & MSEP 2000 and who work at least two years beyond normal retirement eligibility.

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Disclaimer

We strive to provide the most accurate information possible in our answers to Rumor Central questions. However, occasionally, laws, policies or provisions change and individual circumstances may vary. Please contact a MOSERS benefit counselor or see the handbooks in our website Library for more detailed information. If there is any difference between the information provided in this blog or on the MOSERS website and the law or policies that govern MOSERS, the law and policies will prevail. See our Privacy, Security & Legal Notices for more information.