1 1. What is a class action? Class actions are lawsuits in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single court proceeding. 2. What is this class action about? The Class Plaintiffs claim that the Defendant Teachers Retirement System of the City of New York ( TRS ) failed to take into account per session pay received by TRS members who retired before November 24, 1998 in calculating retirement benefits. Per session pay received during a member s applicable final average salary period will increase the benefit due to the member in most cases. The parties have agreed to settle this lawsuit and the court has approved the settlement. Under the settlement, TRS will provide an additional benefit based on per session payments received during the applicable final average salary periods defined below. See Question 14 for the mailing schedule of individual determination letters. 3. Am I part of the Settlement Class? You are covered by this settlement only if: (i) (ii) (iii) You are a TRS retiree who retired from City service before November 24, 1998; or You are a vested member ( vestee ) of TRS who left City service before November 24, 1998 and you are entitled to receive retirement benefits in the future; or You are the beneficiary of a person described in (i) or (ii) above. However, retirees who died without a beneficiary more than one year before August 29, 2002, and beneficiaries who died more than one year before August 29, 2002, are not eligible for the benefits of the settlement described below. 4. Will I be entitled to a benefit increase? To be eligible for a benefit increase, you must meet the general eligibility requirements described in question 3, and you also must have received per session pay during an applicable final average salary period described below in an amount that warrants an increase of your monthly pension amount. Approximately 20% of the retirees who are covered by this settlement and received notices of the settlement of this lawsuit have been found to be eligible for an increase in benefits. The fact that a person received a notice about this Per Session Pay class action settlement in 2007 does not necessarily mean that the person had per session pay during the relevant period or is entitled to an additional benefit. As the notice stated, it was sent to everyone who might possibly qualify based on retirement date. Note: The Per Session Pay Class Action case is also known as Nager v. Teachers Retirement System of the City of New York.
2 5. What if I retired after November 23, 1998 and earned per session pay during my final average salary period? Members who retired after November 23, 1998 are covered by a different lawsuit, and TRS calculated or, in some instances, recalculated, their benefits to include per session pay under the terms of that earlier lawsuit. Members who retired after November 23, 1998 are not covered by this lawsuit. 6. Does my participation in this lawsuit affect rights I may have under the 20 Year Plan lawsuit? No. Tier I Plan A and Tier II Plan C members may be entitled to a benefit (and may have already received a benefit) under the 20 Year Plan class action and may also be eligible for a benefit under the Per Session class action lawsuit if the member retired before November 24, 1998 and earned per session pay during an applicable FAS period. 7. What records of per session earnings are being used to calculate benefits? TRS worked with the Department of Education ( DOE ) to collect, tabulate and analyze DOE pay vouchers that document the amount and date that per session payments were made. DOE did not keep records listing the dates when per session work was actually performed. The DOE has only maintained records of payments made on or after January 1, 1980, so your individual Determination Letter will not reflect any per session work paid prior to that date. If you believe that you performed per session work before January 1, 1980, and that pay for such work was received during your applicable FAS period, you should submit that documentation in accordance with Question 13 below. 8. How has the Final Average Salary period been defined for this lawsuit? Final average salary is generally defined as the salary earned during the final one or three years of a TRS member s career, depending on the member s Tier. Since the DOE only kept records of the dates when per session pay was paid, not when it was earned, the parties have agreed to apply a series of rules designed to fairly credit a class member s final average salary for per session pay received, even if that pay was received some time after the work was performed. These general rules under the settlement provide for a modified final average salary as follows: A. General Modified Final Average Salary Rules Tier I: The modified final average salary period is the nine-month period immediately before the TRS member s retirement date (or for vestees, the nine-month period immediately before the last day of work) and the first three months thereafter. Tiers II, III and IV: The modified final average salary period is the 33-month period immediately before the TRS member s retirement date (or for vestees, the 33-month period immediately before the last day of work) and the first three months thereafter.
3 B. Special Rules Based on Retirement Dates and Dates Per Session Pay Was Received The parties recently agreed to use the following special rules in some cases to better reflect per session earnings in certain instances (most frequently, when a member received summer per session pay during a year that preceded the year of retirement). Under these special rules, certain members who retired during the period April 1 through August 31 will be eligible to have their benefits increased by using either the modified or regular formula. The more favorable formula (i.e., the formula that results in the larger final average salary amount) will be used to determine whether an additional benefit is due and, if so, the amount of the additional benefit. a. Retirement dates from September 1st through March 31st. TRS will determine the qualifying TRS member s additional benefit based on per session pay received during the modified final average salary period. b. Retirement dates from April 1st through August 31st WITH any per session pay received in July and/or August of a prior year that would be excluded when using the modified final average salary period. TRS will calculate the qualifying member s additional benefit based on per session pay received during both the modified final average salary period and the regular final average salary period, and provide the greater amount as the additional benefit. c. Retirement dates from April 1st through August 31st WITHOUT any per session pay received in July and/or August of a prior year that would be excluded when using the modified final average salary period. TRS will determine the qualifying TRS member s additional benefit based on per session pay received in the modified final average salary period. The regular final average period for Tier I members is the 12-month period immediately before their retirement date (or for vestees, the 12-month period immediately before their last day of work). For Tier II through Tier IV members, the regular final average period is the 36-month period immediately before their retirement date (or for vestees, the 36-month period immediately before their last day of work). 9. Why doesn t the settlement count my Per Session Pay from earlier parts of my career? Under the laws generally governing the calculation of TRS pension benefits, only compensation that was earned during a member s final average salary period is taken into account in calculating the amount of the member s pension. In other words, any pay, including per session pay, that was earned during earlier years of a career cannot have any effect on the amount of the pension.
4 10. Will per session service after retirement be included in my final average salary? No. Post-retirement earnings, as distinguished from pensionable per session pay earned before the retirement date but received thereafter, are not pensionable earnings and are therefore not included in the calculation required under the settlement. TRS will recalculate applicable TRS members final average salary based on per session pay received during the regular final average salary period for retirees who either (1) had earnings for post-retirement public employment pursuant to New York Retirement and Social Security Law 212 or who were granted waivers for post-retirement public employment pursuant to 211, or (2) received DOE pay after their retirement date and received no per session pay during their regular final average salary period. Individuals subject to this paragraph, through the TRS review and the appeal process, will have the opportunity to demonstrate that pay received after retirement is not post-retirement earnings, but is rather per session pay earned before the retirement date. Upon such a showing, TRS will recalculate members final average salary based on per session pay received during the modified final average salary period. 11. How will my benefit be calculated? To expedite the recalculation of benefits, actuaries representing both sides in the lawsuit developed and tested formulas which accurately approximate the increase in benefits to which eligible members are entitled under the settlement. These formulas take into account the increases in your final average salary based on per session earnings, offset by any contributions and interest on those contributions that the member would have had to make on the per session pay if it had been recognized as pensionable at the time it was received. The Court in this case has reviewed and approved the use of these formulas. 12. Will I be responsible for any additional contributions for per session work performed? No. The benefit calculation formulas take into account contributions and interest you might have been charged on your additional per session earnings if your per session earnings historically had been treated as pensionable. Moreover, you will not be charged for any contributions you might otherwise owe for per session earnings received outside of any applicable final average salary periods.
5 13. What can I do if I believe that the decision about whether I am entitled to a benefit adjustment, or the amount of the adjustment, is incorrect? If you believe that either the decision whether you are entitled to a benefit adjustment, or the amount of the adjustment, is incorrect, you may submit a written request for a TRS review within 60 days of the date on the Determination Letter which will you receive at a later date. You must send the Request for Review of Determination form (which will be enclosed with your Determination Letter) to: Teachers Retirement System of the City of New York c/o TRS Claim Review Committee 55 Water Street New York, New York Your submission should include whatever evidence you have to support your claim. For instance, if you claim that you received more per session pay during your applicable final average salary period than is listed in the Determination Letter, you should provide as much information as possible about the nature of the work performed, when the work was performed, and, if available, list the dates of payment, sums received and provide any documentary proof of the payments that you may have (for instance payment or work records). TRS will review your submission and any other relevant documents on file and respond to you in writing. If you are not satisfied with TRS response, you will have the right to file for an appeal before a third party in accordance with instructions you will find on the TRS response letter. 14. What is the schedule for administration of this settlement? The court settlement order requires TRS to complete its calculations and for the City s Office of the Actuary to certify cases in which benefits are to be increased. Determination Letters will be sent to class members who have been found not to be entitled to a benefit increase on a rolling basis (i.e., they will be sent in batches) commencing in the summer of Determination Letters will be sent to participants who have been found eligible to receive a benefit increase on a rolling basis commencing in the fall of This means that some class members will not receive their individual Determination Letters until the summer of Retroactive payments, where due, will be credited with simple interest at the rate of 5% on all adjusted payments due for the period beginning August 31, 1996, as specified in the settlement.
6 15. Where can I get more information about the per session pay lawsuit? You may obtain additional information on the TRS website address: Additional information can be found at a website maintained by the class attorneys: You may also call the Per Session Pay class settlement administrator, Gilardi & Co. at 1 (877) If you are considering whether or not to make a request for review or otherwise need additional information, you may contact your attorneys who are Class Counsel as follows: David S. Preminger KELLER ROHRBACK, L.L.P. 770 Broadway, 2nd Floor New York, New York (800) Alan M. Sandals SANDALS & ASSOCIATES, P.C. One South Broad Street, Suite 1850 Philadelphia, PA (800) Teachers Retirement System of the City of New York 55 Water Street, New York, NY (888) 8-NYC-TRS
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