Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is the trustee of the Common Retirement Fund, which is the third largest public pension fund in the country. The Fund’s assets come from three main sources: member contributions, employer contributions, and investment returns. The Fund has two main goals:
- Provide the means to pay benefits to NYSLRS’ participants; and
- Minimize employer contributions through an investment program designed to protect and enhance the long-term value of the assets.
Over the last 20 years, 79 percent of benefits have been funded from investment returns. When you retire from NYSLRS, your monthly pension benefit—and the benefits of many others—will be drawn from this fund. Ethical management and a long-term, diversified investment strategy has made NYSLRS one of the best managed and funded plans in the nation.
Strategic Long-Term Investments
The Fund’s investment program is designed to weather the ups and downs of an increasingly volatile global market. Our long-term target allocation for our investment portfolio is 22 percent in fixed income assets (bonds and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities [TIPS]) and 78 percent in equities, which includes:
- Domestic and international public equities
- Real estate
- Real assets
- Absolute return strategies
- Private equity investments
- Opportunistic funds
A diversified investment strategy helps us meet the funding needs for our current and future retirees while also helping to control risk.
The Fund is Well-Managed
An independent review of the Fund commended Comptroller DiNapoli and NYSLRS for strong policies and ethical management. By adhering to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, our members, retirees, and beneficiaries can be confident the Fund is being managed wisely.
If you’re a New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) retiree, you may be eligible for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this September. A COLA payment permanently increases your NYSLRS retirement benefit. It’s based on the cost-of-living index, and is designed to address inflation as it occurs. The September 2016 COLA increase equals 1 percent, for a maximum annual increase of $180.00, or $15.00 per month before taxes. Please note, for most retirees, there are other reductions, such as health insurance, which may offset the COLA increase.
How is the COLA Calculated?
The COLA is calculated based on 50 percent of the annual rate of inflation, measured at the end of the fiscal year (on March 31). It cannot be less than 1 percent or greater than 3 percent of your retirement benefit. This year, since the rate of inflation was less than 1 percent, the COLA increase equals 1 percent. The COLA is calculated using the first $18,000 of the annual Single Life Allowance pension (even if you selected a different payment option), or your actual pension, if it’s less than $18,000.
Who Is Eligible for a COLA?
To receive the COLA, you must be:
- Age 62 or older and retired for five or more years; or
- Age 55 or older and retired for ten or more years (for uniformed employees such as police officers, firefighters and correction officers covered by a special plan that allows for retirement, regardless of age, after a specific number of years); or
- A disability retiree for five years; or
- The spouse of a deceased retiree receiving a lifetime benefit under an option elected by the retiree at retirement. (Eligible spouses are entitled to half the COLA amount that would have been paid to the retiree when the retiree was eligible); or
- A beneficiary receiving the accidental death benefit for five or more years on behalf of a deceased NYSLRS member.
The NYSLRS COLA is different than the Social Security Administration (SSA) COLA. For 2016, the SSA didn’t provide a COLA adjustment for almost 65 million Social Security recipients.
If you want to learn more about COLA, read our publication, Permanent COLA.