Alternate Contribution Stabilization Program


Legislation enacted as part of the State budget (Chapter 57, Part BB, Laws of 2013) established an alternative to the original Contribution Stabilization Program (CSP) enacted in 2010. Like the original program, the Alternate Contribution Stabilization Program provides short-term cash relief for employers by allowing them to amortize a portion of their annual contribution, but then requires repayment with interest, beginning the year after amortizing under the program, for up to twelve years.

Both Contribution Stabilization Programs are optional programs that establish a graded contribution rate system. Once an employer elects to participate in the Alternate Program, their contributions are based on the graded rate system regardless of whether they choose to amortize in any year. The program limits the increases or decreases in contribution rates from year to year. This means employers may be able to amortize a portion of their invoice as rates increase or they may have to make an additional graded payment as rates decrease.

Employers who wished to participate in the Alternate Program were required to make a one-time election to enroll during the 2013–2014 billing cycle. Forty-one employers elected to participate in the Alternate Program for any future amortizations that they intended to make.

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Participation in the Program

This program is closed to new entrants. Eligibility was limited to counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), as well as the four hospitals operated by public benefit corporations in Erie, Nassau and Westchester counties. The State could not participate in the Alternate Program.

Employers who elected the Alternate Program after previously being enrolled in the original CSP may not return to the original program; however, they are still required to continue payments on any existing amortizations from the original program.

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How the Program Works

  1. We determine an employer’s annual contribution using the rates established according to our usual rate-establishing procedures. The Alternate Program does not change these procedures or the method for determining annual contribution rates. For purposes of the Alternate Program, the normal annual contribution is the employer’s total invoice, excluding payments for group term life insurance, deficiencies, previous amortizations, incentive costs and prior years’ adjustments.
  2. We establish graded rates using the methods established by the law enacting the Alternate Program.
  3. We determine what an employer’s contribution would be using the graded rate.
  4. We compare the employer’s normal annual contribution to the graded contribution to determine if the employer is eligible to amortize or required to make a graded payment. If the normal contribution exceeds the graded contribution, the employer is eligible to amortize. If the normal contribution is less than the graded contribution, the employer is required to make a graded payment.
  5. If an employer is eligible to amortize, the employer chooses the amount to amortize. The maximum amount an employer can amortize is the difference between the employer’s normal annual contribution and the employer’s graded contribution. Employers may choose to amortize less than the maximum amount.
  6. If an employer is required to make a graded payment, the additional contribution must be paid in full. The amount to be paid is the difference between the employer’s graded contribution and the employer’s normal annual contribution.
  7. Payment for your annual invoice (which is provided to you in November) must be received by February 1. You can pay a discounted prepayment amount of your annual invoice contribution if you pay by December 15. However, if you owe a graded payment, it cannot be discounted for paying early. If you are required to make a graded payment, it must be paid in full.


Employers can see the maximum amount to amortize in their estimated invoice (available in Retirement Online every summer) and the annual invoice (issued in Retirement Online in November). The projected invoice, which is available 17 months in advance of the invoice due date, will show an estimated maximum amortization amount for the next fiscal year’s contribution. Participating employers do not have to amortize each year and can choose to amortize less than the maximum amount allowed. You can prepay prior amortized amounts to reduce your outstanding deferral and accrued interest. There is no prepayment penalty.

Employers will pay interest on their amortized amounts, which is comparable to a 12-year US Treasury Bond plus 1 percent. The interest rate is set annually by the Comptroller. The interest rate for amounts amortized on the invoice provided in November 2021 (for payment due by February 1, 2022), was 2.24 percent. The interest rate for amounts amortized on the invoice that will be provided in November 2022 (for payment due by February 1, 2023), will be 3.7 percent.

The interest rate applied to an amount amortized in a given year will be the interest rate for that year and for the duration of that 12-year payment period. Amounts amortized in other years will be at the interest rate set for the year of the amortization.

Graded Payments and Reserve Accounts

Graded payments will first be used to pay off existing amortizations.

If all amortizations have been paid, NYSLRS will set up a reserve account for the employer and any excess will be deposited into that account.

Reserve account funds will earn interest based on fixed rate securities of appropriate duration held by the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund). That rate of return will vary annually. Interest attributable to each account will be computed and credited at the close of each fiscal year.

Additionally, the funds in the reserve account can be used toward a portion of an invoice once two conditions are met:

  1. The System average rate must exceed a specific percentage in the previous fiscal year.
    • For the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS), the rate must exceed 9.5 percent.
    • For the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), the rate must exceed 17.5 percent.
  2. The employer’s average rate must exceed the System graded rate.

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Amortization Schedules and Payoffs

If you elected to participate in the Alternate Program during the one-time election period, you can view the payment schedules of any outstanding amortizations in Retirement Online. Sign in to your Retirement Online account. From your Account Homepage, click the “Access Billing Dashboard” button. After choosing your location code and retirement system (ERS or PFRS), click the ‘Amortization Schedule Review’ link on the Billing Dashboard.

You will be able to search for a specific amortization or view a list of all amortizations. If you click on an amortization in the search results list, you will see details associated with that amortization, including the effective date, maturity date, interest rate, payment amount and payment schedule.

You can save on interest costs by paying off amortizations ahead of schedule. To calculate a payoff amount for any amortization based on a payment date of your choice, from the Billing Dashboard, click the ‘Amortization Payoff Calculator’ link, then click the “Search” button. In the list of search results, click the amortization you want to pay off. Next, enter your preferred payoff date in the Payment Date field and click the “Calculate Payoff” button.

If you plan to pay off an amortization, please notify us in advance so we can identify your payment and post it to the proper amortization. You can use our help desk form and select “Employer Billing” from the dropdown.

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Graded Rates

The increase or decrease in the Retirement System graded rates depends on the gap between the System average rate and the previous graded rate:

  • If the gap is 0.5 percent or more, then the graded rate will increase/decrease by 0.5 percent in the direction of the System average rate.
  • If the gap is less than 0.5 percent, then the graded rate will be set to the System average rate.

Note: Graded rates are calculated based on a System average rate that does not include employer group term life insurance (GTLI) owed that fiscal year.

Fiscal Year End System Average Rate,
excluding GTLI
Alternate Program
Graded Rate
System Average Rate,
with GTLI
Employees’ Retirement System
2014 20.5 12.0 20.9
2015 19.7 12.0 20.1
2016 17.7 12.5 18.2
2017 15.1 13.0 15.5
2018 14.9 13.5 15.3
2019 14.4 14.0 14.9
2020 14.2 14.2 14.6
2021 14.1 14.1 14.6
2022 15.8 14.6 16.2
2023 11.4 14.1 11.6
Police and Fire Retirement System
2014 28.9 20.0 28.9
2015 27.5 20.0 27.6
2016 24.7 20.5 24.7
2017 24.3 21.0 24.3
2018 24.3 21.5 24.4
2019 23.5 22.0 23.5
2020 23.5 22.5 23.5
2021 24.4 23.0 24.4
2022 28.3 23.5 28.3
2023 27.0 24.0 27.0

Under this program, no money is taken from the New York State Common Retirement Fund. In addition, the calculation of future employer contribution rates and the System’s funded ratio are not affected.

While the Alternate Program provides more upfront cash savings than the original CSP, as actuarial contribution rates decrease, graded rates decrease by only 0.5 percent. More of the savings from the drop in rates will be used to pay off earlier deferrals.

If you have questions about either the Alternate Program or the original CSP, please use our help desk form (select “Employer Billing” from the dropdown) or call 866-805-0990 and press 1, then 6.

The Alternate Program is only one type of amortization you can view in Retirement Online. Other types are:

  • Original Contribution Stabilization Program (CSP): amortizations of annual contributions by employers who elected to participate in the original program.
  • Deficiency: a 25-year amortization required of new participating employers. Deficiencies cover the cost of benefits for employees who were on the payroll before the employer participated.
  • Incentives: amortizations of costs to participate in an incentive. Generally, employers can elect to participate in an incentive if one is offered and can choose to amortize the cost or pay the full amount.
  • Past Service Costs: costs associated with adopting a new retirement plan or option. The employer can choose to pay the cost in a lump sum or amortize.
  • Special Legislation: Generally, employers can choose to pay any cost in a lump sum or amortize. The legislation defines the amortization period, which is usually five or ten years.


Rev. 8/22

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