Dear Scotty, "Am I Paying Too Much?"

Dear Scotty,

Long time reader, first time writer. My question is a bit more specific than some that appear in your column, and I’m not sure you can help me out with this. Specifically, this relates to contributions that I make to my Defined Benefit Supplement (DBS) account. I thought it was capped at 8%, but payroll seems to be taking out more than that. Where does that extra money go and will I ever see it again? Also, I noticed you didn’t have the new cover sheet for your DBS reports. Did you see the memo about this?

-William Lumbergh

Dear Bill,

I got the memo from one of my seven other bosses. Actually, I got the memo from all eight of you and returned the new form to the Department of Redundancy Department.

On the more serious side, Bill, you have an eagle-eye for changes on your paystub. Isn’t it fun checking the numbers each month to be sure you’re not getting taken to the cleaners – or to see if payroll “fixed the glitch.” If you paid into your Defined Benefit Supplement (DBS) account by working overload during 2014-15, then you did overpay. It wasn’t much, but you were supposed to contribute 8% and 8.15% was removed. The extra money is called “Excess Contributions” and is slowly making its way back to you.

To determine the amount you should get back, go to, login to myCal-STRS. Click the Services tab and then select Excess Contributions. The information from 2014-15 will be there. Remember that the difference is only 0.15%. If you worked $30,000 worth of overload, you’d receive back around $45. For 2015-16, the difference is higher (9.20% or 8.56%), so the excess contributions will be significantly higher (hundreds of dollars for some faculty). One last thing Bill, remember that these contributions were initially given to Cal-STRS as pre-tax dollars. When you receive them, don’t be surprised or upset when you are taxed on them!


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