Retroactive payments

Retroactive Payments and Your NYSLRS Pension

Retroactive Payments

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.

If you receive a retroactive payment from your employer, it could affect your pension benefit calculation.

How Retroactive Payments Can Affect Your Benefit

Your final average earnings (FAE) are a major factor in your pension benefit calculation. It’s 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.

Retroactive payments are applied to the pay periods when they were earned, not when they were paid. So, retroactive payments can increase your FAE, and therefore your pension benefit, as long as the time period in which you earned that money is part of the time period your FAE 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. You will receive correspondence from us explaining any change in your pension benefit.

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 any correspondence you received from your employer related to the payment. Mail it to:

NYSLRS
Attn: BCDS – Recalculation Unit
110 State Street
Albany, NY 12244-0001.

You can also email and upload this information to the Retirement System through our secure contact form.

For more information about FAE, read our Final Average Earnings blog post. You can also find out specific information about your FAE by reading your retirement plan booklet, available on our Publications page.

36 thoughts on “Retroactive Payments and Your NYSLRS Pension

  1. Maggio P. Ventura

    How does it work for pension calculation purposes when you cash out compensatory time you took in lieu of a cash payment. For example if my employer allowed me to cash out 480 hours of comp time eared threw out my earlier years does that amount count to the years it was earned or the year it was cashed out?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Your pension calculation and the specific types of earnings that can be included depend on your plan and tier.

      For account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of them will be able to answer your questions. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  2. Jane

    Hi, I currently work for the Unified Court System. When I look at my NYSLRS member annual statement it shows the retro payment from 2018 as a lump sum counting towards my pensionable amount (FAS) for the year it was paid not for the multiple years it was earned. How do I know that the adjustment was made and what the corrected amounts are for the years affected by the retro? The member annual statement used to show the reported salaries for the last five years but now that it went online only shows one year so I’m not able to see that info. Is there somewhere on my account online that I can look this up? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      You can view your earnings from the last five State fiscal years (April 1 – March 31) in Retirement Online. Click “View My Recent Employment Summary” from your Account Homepage. If you don’t have an account, go to the Sign In page and click the” Sign Up” link under the “Customer Sign In” button.

      For account-specific questions about your retroactive payments, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts. You can also email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Retroactive payments and pay for unused vacation time may affect the calculation of your final average earnings (FAE).

      For information specific to your situation, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts. A representatives can also provide information about how leaving public service may affect other benefits.

      You can email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information. You may also find our booklet What if I Leave Public Employment? helpful.

      Reply
  3. Christopher Thompson

    Once a contract is signed how long do they have to pay you, your retroactive pay? We signed a contract on the 11 of September of this year 2019.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      For questions about receiving retroactive pay, please contact your employer or, if you are retired, your former employer.

      Reply
  4. Steven Wood

    I’ll be receiving a retro check from my previous employer. I retired from this employer in 2016. I am now working after retirement for a public agency. Will this retro check count against my $30,000 cap for working after retirement for this year?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The $30,000 cap includes money earned in the current calendar year. Generally, retroactive payments that were earned in a previous year would not be included.

      Reply
      1. Steven Wood

        Thank you. The money was earned in 2014 to 2016. Years I was employed by that agency. Retro payment being made now but earned in 14 to 16.

        Reply
  5. Ernie Williams

    I retired 15 months ago and still receiving the estimate pension. The wait of this length is pathetic. After calling I’m told it will be at least 1.5 years before they will look into it. Ridiculous!

    Reply
    1. Lawrence Hochberg

      I retired almost a year and a half ago and also still receiving estimated pension. I called and they could not say why such a delay. They said send a letter. I sent a letter and did not receive a response! Next letter will go to comptrollers office and elected reps. COVID is not an excuse for this long a delay.

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        We apologize for the trouble you are having. Your message is important to us and we have sent you a private message in response.

        Reply
    2. Ellen A Jacob-Kinbacher

      I thought the delay in my pension being recalculated was due to Covid, but apparently not since it was like this before Covid – I retired on 1/02/2020 and I am still receiving the estimated pension amount – I’m 20 months retired today!

      Reply
      1. Bess Watts

        I retired in Oct 2019 and still have not received my recalculated pension. Originally they said 18 months, the second inquiry stated “There is not currently a timeframe to complete your recalculated benefit adjustment.” now it is close to 2 years. Completely frustrating.

        Reply
  6. jameshennessey

    What happened to the M/C raises that Governor Patterson refused to give to us in 2008, 2009, 20010, 2011, and 2012? I retired in 2012.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Any retroactive payments owed to retirees would come from an employer, not from NYSLRS. If you think you may be entitled to a payment because of a new union contract or other adjustment, please contact your former employer for more information.

      A retroactive payment for work performed during the period we used to calculate your final average salary could increase your pension. If you were a State employee and receive 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. The address is NYSLRS, 110 State Street, Albany, NY 12244. Please include a copy of your check stub and any related correspondence you received from your former employer. You may also email and upload this information to the Retirement System through the secure email form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com).

      Reply
  7. Joseph Bray

    So if I am understanding this correctly once a contract is settled with the agency you retired from they send you your salary retro pay… the retirement system after getting your salary update adjusts your FAS. After that the Retirement system adjusts your benefit. Then issues a check or direct deposit for retro benefit payments?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Generally, if you earn a retroactive payment during the period that is part of your FAS calculation, we will recalculate your FAS and your pension benefit amount, and you will receive a retroactive adjustment in your next monthly benefit payment.

      If you have questions about a particular situation, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      To get the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Please let them know if you received any retroactive payments before or after you retired. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  8. Jill Murray

    I retired Aug. 31, 2016 and just got a check in the mail for $390. It says pay start date 9/7/17 & pay end date 9/20/17. Under earnings, it has “Retro LSP Vacation”, “Retro Regular Pay Salaried”, and “Retro Salary LSP Annuals”. What is this for?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The NYSLRS social media team doesn’t have access to your account information, however, if you received retroactive regular salary and vacation pay, it likely came from your employer. You can check with them to see what the payment is for.

      Reply
  9. Eugene Shifrin

    I retired from the Unified Court System 14 months ago. As you know my bargaining unit [C.O.B.A.N.C] recently approved an agreement with OCA going back 7 years with retroactive pay increases which I am affected by. Current employees received those increases with yesterday’s pay check. So far I have yet to find anyone to answer the question of when retirees will get theirs. Do you know?
    Gene Shifrin

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      While the NYSLRS social media team doesn’t have any specific information about your retroactive pay, you can find general information about how retroactive payments work here on our blog.

      To find out how long it should take to receive an increase in your pension payment, we suggest emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of them will get back to you. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Possibly. The example used in this blog post is about employees who are in the Public Employees Federation (PEF) union. If you were a PEF member before you left State service, you may have recently received a retroactive payment covering your earnings from April 1, 2016, through your last date worked. Last summer, you may have received a payment covering your earnings from April 1, 2015, through March 31, 2016.

      If you retired last October and were a PEF member, NYSLRS will automatically recalculate your pension benefit if these retroactive payments will affect the pension amount.

      If you were not a member of PEF, please contact your union or your previous employer to find out whether you are owed any retroactive money.

      If you have questions about your NYSLRS account, we suggest you email one of our customer service representatives using our secure email form. They will be able to review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
  10. Noreen

    Does the retroactive pay also affect the amount of sick pay that accumulated and is used towards health insurance payment? I retired in August 2017, and the contract was settled for the period from April1, 2017.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Unfortunately, NYSLRS doesn’t administer health insurance programs for its members or retirees.

      If you retired from New York State, you may need to contact New York State Civil Service. You could also try contacting the health benefits administrator at the employer you retired from.

      Reply
  11. Vee

    I retired May 2016, we were still under an old contract for the past 6 (now 7) years – so once this new contract goes into effect, you are saying I will get the retro money from these years? I hope so, that would be wonderful!

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      It depends on your contact and when you retired. Retroactive payment from newly negotiated union contracts come from your employer.

      The example used in this blog post is about employees who are in the Public Employees Federation (PEF) union. If you were a PEF member before you retired, you may have recently received a payment covering your earnings from April 1, 2016 through your date of retirement. Last summer, you may have received a retroactive payment covering your earnings from April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016. For PEF members, pension NYSLRS benefits will automatically be recalculated if these retroactive payments will affect the pension amount.

      If you were not a member of PEF, please contact your union or your previous employer to find out if you are owed any retroactive money.

      Reply
  12. Mitchell Bock

    i retired in Feb. 2016 There was a two percent raise that I am waiting for april 2015 to Feb 2016. When will this be adjusted for in my FAS. M Bock

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      For account-specific details (such as how long your pension recalculation might take), please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
    2. Brian O. Smith

      I retired in October 2015…am I due anything retro-active?..Also your article stated legal settlements could factor into your FAS…I had a legal settlement that I received while I was working (from the Promotion Test Battery Exam…that was not factored into my salary..what do I do?

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS Post author

        If you believe that some payments were not factored into your final average salary, you can write to the Recalculation Unit in our Benefit Calculation & Disbursement Bureau. Write to:

        NYSLRS
        Attn: Recalculation Unit
        Benefit Calculations & Disbursement Services Bureau
        110 State Street
        Albany, NY 12244-0001

        Please include a copy of your check stub and any relevant correspondence you received from your employer. You may also email and upload this information to the Retirement System through our secure contact form.

        Reply

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