Retroactive payments are lump sum payments you receive from your employer. These payments can be from new union contracts, arbitration awards or legal settlements that took place while you were on your employer’s payroll.
Your final average salary (FAS) is a major factor in your pension benefit calculation. Your FAS is the average of your three (five for Tier 6 members) highest consecutive years of earnings. For most people, their highest years of earnings come at the end of their careers.
If you receive a retroactive payment from your employer, it could affect your final average salary. Let’s look at how.
How Retroactive Payments Can Affect Your Benefit
When we calculate your FAS at retirement, retroactive payments are applied to the pay periods when they were earned, not when they were paid. In general, retroactive payments can increase your FAS as long as the time period in which you earned that money is part of the time period your FAS is based on.
Your employer should let us know if you receive a retroactive payment before or after you retire. If you are a State employee who receives a retroactive payment after you retire, we will recalculate your pension automatically; you do not need to notify us. If you receive a retroactive payment from a non-State employer after your pension calculation is finalized, send a letter to our Recalculation Unit in the Benefit Calculations & Disbursement Services Bureau. Please include a copy of your check stub and/or any correspondence you received from your employer. You may also email and upload this information to the Retirement System through our secure contact form.
For more information about FAS, read our Final Average Salary blog post. You can also find out specific information about your FAS by reading your retirement plan booklet, available on our Publications page.