Following the announcement, I wondered how the increase would work for NRSA fellows who had already received their FY2011 awards. This includes not only new awardees but also scientists who won their fellowships in previous years (and for whom the FY2011 segment of the award has already started).
So I asked Megan Columbus, who works in the communications office of NIH's Office of Extramural Research, to explain. The answer is pretty much what you would expect; here's how Megan put it:
NIH will be revising all FY2011 awards already issued to-date to provide the increase in stipends for the FY2011 budget period. Once the revised award is received, the institution will provide the retroactive adjustment in accordance with its institutional systems/policies.In other words, the raise is retroactive and the extra funds will be dispersed in accordance with your institution's policies. It could be a lump sum or a higher rate -- say, 3% higher than you've been receiving instead of just 2%, depending on your award date -- for the remainder of the fiscal year.
It's not a lot of money, but if you're living on postdoc or graduate student stipends it could make a big difference.