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Understanding Benefit Estimates and Your High 36

Jan 20, 2023, 11:05 AM by MOSERS

Do the estimates for backdrop and monthly pension amounts project your current highest salary in the next 36 months regardless if you will be employed for the next 36 months? For example if my highest salary is achieved in January 2023 at $3,000/month but I plan to retire in January 2025 does it use that salary for the 36 months calculation for the estimates or can it pull it 24 months at $3000 and 12 months at $2500 (old salary) and average those? Numbers are for illustrative purposes.

Estimates are based on your final average pay (FAP), which is your highest consecutive 36 months of pay relative to the retirement date entered. When you run a benefit estimate of your own, it will project your current salary until the retirement date you entered. The system will look at your entire pay history to find your FAP/highest 36 consecutive months. That means part of your FAP may be in the future and part of it may be in the past – as long as it is 36 consecutive months. The closer you get to your retirement date, the more accurate your benefit estimate will be.

Please note:

  • Wait for a pay raise to be reflected in our system before running an estimate. (If you get a pay raise this month, it will be reported to MOSERS next month, so for a January pay raise, our system won’t have that information and it won’t be reflected in an estimate until mid-February.)
  • If you run an estimate that includes BackDROP, any pay earned during the BackDROP period you elect is not considered in your FAP.
  • It’s important to remember that a benefit estimate is just that, an estimate, not a guarantee. They are as accurate as the assumptions used to produce them. See Calculating Your Benefit Estimate for more information.

Based on your example and assumed date of retirement, your estimate would include a salary of $3,000 for 24 months and a salary of $2500 for 12 months for your FAP. 

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