Q. Why does my Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) look different this year? It no longer includes estimated benefit amounts at the bottom of the statement.
A. Since all Retirement System members now have the ability to generate their own estimated benefit amounts for Normal, Early, and Deferred Vested benefits, there is no need to include this information on an annual statement. By generating your own benefit estimates, you have the ability to enter any retirement date after your initial eligibility for the particular type of benefit you want to consider. The annual statements only provided the first available dates out of the system. We find that members are much better able to calculate their own benefit estimates considering different retirement scenarios. In addition, the system automatically looks at your sick leave balance when calculating your eligibility dates and dollars.
Q. There is a message at the top of my 2017 statement that says the ABS will no longer be mailed after this year. Why is that?
A. We made the decision to stop mailing Annual Benefit Statements after this year, due to the reason mentioned above, but we wanted to take this opportunity by mail, to provide you with basic information about your account (e.g. beneficiary information, plan, and account balance), as well as to include a Tip Sheet with instructions for how to use the online Benefit Estimator.
Why does my Annual Benefit Statement reflect Average Monthly Salary instead of my annual salary?
A. The Average Monthly Salary displays the calculated average salary from historical pay records on a monthly basis. The calculation of Average Monthly Salary is done based on pay history. The terms "average monthly salary", "final average salary" (FAS), and "average final compensation" (AFC) are used interchangeably. In all cases, the definition is "the average of your creditable compensation for the 36 consecutive months of employment during which you earned your highest average annual compensation (78 consecutive pay periods for members who are paid bi-weekly)".
Q. How can I estimate my own Average Monthly Salary? When I multiply my hourly rate of pay by 40 hours and then multiply that by 52 weeks and divide by 12, I come up with a higher amount for my "Monthly Salary".
A. The calculation of Average Monthly Salary includes the past pay periods that are available in your payroll history. You would need to collect the highest consecutive three years of salary data and average the total into a monthly amount to match our computation. For future retirement planning, if you are further than three years from retirement, you could make some assumptions about future increases, or use your current salary as the estimated Average Monthly Salary.
Q. How do I get answers to questions I have on my Benefit Estimates? or What do I do if I think some of the information on my estimate is incorrect?
A. Please complete information on a Research Request Form and fax it to our office. If you have additional questions, please use the Contact Us function.
Q. Can I calculate my own retirement or DROP benefit estimate using the online calculator?
A. Log in to Web Member Services, establish an account, and click on "Benefit Estimate”. There are a series of drop-down boxes you will need to run through to calculate your own estimates.