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Understanding your High 36

Aug 12, 2022, 15:51 PM by MOSERS

Good morning,

I understand that a State employee's retirement benefit is based on the highest 36 consecutive months of pay. My question is whether or not there is a time limit on this rule. For example, if an employee's first 36 months of pay averaged $1,000, then the employee downsized to a lesser wage for the remainder of their career, e.g. $500 for 20 years, would the retirement still refer back to the 36 months at $1,000 despite the vast majority of the employee's career averaging $500?

Yes, your final average pay, for the purpose of calculating your pension benefit, is your highest 36 consecutive months pay, regardless of when that occurs in your pay history. We will look at your entire pay history, as reported by your employer, and find the “high 36”. This can include overtime pay and holiday pay. All 36 months must be consecutive.

Your base benefit is calculated using a formula, as defined by law, that takes into account the following factors:

  • Final Average Pay (FAP) – The average of your highest 36 consecutive months of pay
  • Multiplier – The multiplier established by the legislature
  • Credited Service – Your years and months of credited service earned, purchased, or transferred, and unused sick leave (if applicable)

    (Base benefit is the amount before any reductions, taxes, or other deductions.)

    Here is an example of how the base benefit formula works for a person whose gross pay is $50,000 per year (for at least 36 months) and who retires under MSEP 2011 with 25 years of service:

     FAP ($4,167) x MSEP 2011 Multiplier (.017) x Credited Service (25) = $1,770.98 monthly base benefit in retirement

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