Dear Scotty, "Am I Paying Too Much?"

September 16, 2016

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 http://www.calstrs.com/, 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!

 

-Scotty  

 

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