FAQ: What to Expect

Last Updated: April 2017

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions that members may have concerning some common interactions with NHRS, such as member appointments, requests for estimates, refund applications, and others.

Click here for a printable PDF version of this FAQ.

Appointments

Members have the option to schedule an appointment with an NHRS Benefits Specialist prior to retirement. An appointment is not mandatory.

How early can I make an appointment before I plan to retire?
If you are looking for an informational appointment to review the application process and an estimate of your pension options, anytime in the year prior to your anticipated retirement date can work.  If you are looking to review the estimated pension options and actually file your application, you should schedule the appointment within your applicable filing period.  For upcoming filing periods, see: https://www.nhrs.org/members/plan-details/filing-for-benefits

I want to schedule a meeting with an NHRS Benefits Specialist.  How long will it take to get in for a meeting?
We try to get you in for an appointment within 10 business days of your request; however, you can ask to book further out, as well. We suggest that you give yourself one to two months advance time, if possible. Certain times of the year, such as the filing periods prior to July 1 and January 1, are much busier than others.

Note to teachers: Teachers retiring July 1 who would like to make an appointment during Christmas, February, or April vacations are encouraged to contact NHRS at least one to two months ahead, as these times fill up quickly.

If I come in for a scheduled appointment, will I get an estimate that shows my pension under all the options?
Yes. In order to maximize the usefulness of an appointment with an NHRS Benefits Specialist, staff will always ask for some financial and/or salary information prior to the appointment in order to run an estimate for the member.  The estimate shows figures for all of the benefit options available to the member and is most accurate if calculated within one to two years of the retirement date.

How much time will my meeting with a Benefits Specialist take?
Plan to meet with your Benefits Specialist for up to an hour.

Am I only allowed one appointment with NHRS?
No.  Typically, if a member has had a previous appointment and received an application packet along with benefit estimates, he/she can call or email Member Benefits and receive additional guidance in that manner. If a member truly needs to return to the office for further review of a matter, we will do our best to accommodate that request.

Benefit Estimates

I submitted a request for a benefit estimate. When will I receive my estimate?
Our goal is to process estimate requests within 10 business days; processing could be delayed slightly during peak retirement periods.

Refunds

I submitted the paperwork for a refund of my NHRS accumulated contributions (member contributions plus interest). When will I get my money?
Final wage and contribution information from your former employer is not submitted to NHRS until the month following your termination. While state law requires that refunds must be made within 90 calendar days, we strive to get all refund payments processed within 60 calendar days of receipt of the request; in many cases refunds may be processed much earlier.

Service Purchases

I submitted paperwork requesting a cost calculation to purchase service credit. How long will it take for me to hear back on it?
Our response time will vary based on the amount of research needed to process your request.  In some cases, an NHRS representative may contact you for additional information regarding the service time you wish to purchase. Generally speaking, you can expect to receive a written estimate within 15 business days.

Additional Contributions

If I request an updated Additional Contributions calculation, how long will it take to get those figures?
We complete those calculations and provide them to members within 30 calendar days of receipt.

Pension Payments

When will I get my first retirement check?
As long as we have received all of the mandatory forms within the correct filing timeframes, your first retirement benefit will be paid to you on the last business day of the month of your requested retirement date. The pension payment will be based on the financial information available to NHRS at the time of your retirement. This is referred to as a “preliminary benefit.”

I understand my first payment is a preliminary calculation, when can I expect my final monthly benefit amount to begin being paid to me?

The amount of your final earnings and total service credit will likely not be available to NHRS when the first payment is made. After all of the financial information is received from your former employer, your benefit will be recalculated and finalized. You should begin receiving your final benefit amounts no later than 90 calendar days from your retirement date, unless there are delays with your former employer providing NHRS with your final wage and contribution information and confirmation of your termination. If the finalized benefit is more or less than the preliminary benefit, then a retroactive adjustment will be made to the pension benefits which were previously received.