Advice on Advance Payments

After you retire, we start calculating the amount of your final retirement benefit. This means you won’t receive your full pension payment right away. It often takes time for your former employer to provide us the specific information we need to determine your final retirement benefit, such as your employer’s certification of your unused vacation and sick leave credits. So, for the first few months of your retirement, your first payments will be advance payments.

What Are Advance Payments?

Advance payments are based on your most recent NYSLRS retirement estimate. They provide up to 95 percent of the retirement option you elected. You’ll continue to receive advance payments until we finalize your benefit. Currently, our pension calculations can take up to five months to complete, though every case is different; if we requested more information from you or your employer, it may lengthen the amount of time it takes to complete your retirement case.

Advance payments are always paid via check and are mailed to the address we have on file for you. Make sure we have the correct address for you when you retire.

When Can I Expect My First Advance Payment?

The month you retire determines when advance payments would start. The table below shows the schedule of mailing days for a new retiree’s first advance payment.

Date of Retirement Date First Advance Payment is Mailed
January 1-31 1st business day of March
February 1-28 (29) 1st business day of April
March 1-31 1st business day of May
April 1-30 1st business day of June
May 1-31 1st business day of July
June 1-30 1st business day of August
July 1-31 1st business day of September
August 1-31 1st business day of October
September 1-30 1st business day of November
October 1-31 1st business day of December
November 1-30 1st business day of January
December 1-31 1st business day of February

What Happens Once My Pension is Finalized?

Once your monthly pension is finalized, we’ll send you a retroactive payment to make up the difference between the advance payments you’ve received and the amount actually due (minus federal withholding). You’ll also receive a letter explaining how we calculated your final retirement benefit, and what your final monthly benefit will be for life.

Once you receive your retroactive payment, you’re officially part of the regular pension disbursement schedule. If you signed up for direct deposit, your monthly pension payment will be deposited directly into your bank account on the last business day of the month. If you didn’t sign up for direct deposit, you’ll receive a pension check, which is mailed out on the second-to-last business day of the month.

If you have questions about what to expect once you retire, check out our Life Changes: A Guide for Retirees publication, or contact us.

12 thoughts on “Advice on Advance Payments

  1. Valerie Sullivan

    My retirement was effective November 28th. It is now the first week in February and I have yet to receive an advance payment check.

    1. NYSLRS


      Generally, you will receive your first advance retirement payment six to eight weeks after you retire (advance checks go out on the 1st business day of the month). As you’re probably aware, advance checks are partial payments, based on the information we have and the option you chose, and provide up to 95 percent of what your final retirement benefit will be. Advance payments are provided during the time it takes your former employer to provide all the information we need to determine your final retirement benefit. You will continue to receive advance checks until we finalize your benefit. Once we determine your final retirement benefit, you will receive a retroactive payment along with a letter explaining how we calculated your final retirement benefit. The average processing time for a final benefit calculation is about four months.

      Using the link below (to ensure your privacy), please provide us with your retirement registration number, which can be found on your Member Annual Statement, and we will forward your question to our Benefit Calculation and Disbursement Services bureau. One of our staff in that bureau will be contacting you to better assist you.

      If you have any other retirement questions, we encourage you to visit the Contact Us page on our website at:

  2. Patricia Hazard

    I retired on October 22, 2015. Got my first advance check Dec. 1, 2015. Here we are almost into July and still my retirement is not finalized! I thought it would only be 5-6 months. Why is it not done yet?

    1. NYSLRS

      While the average processing time can vary depending on how many incoming requests we’ve received and the complexity of your own circumstances, seven advanced checks may be longer than the average time it takes to finish processing a retirement application.

      We recommend that you send your question using our secure email form, and note that you are still receiving partial payments after having retired in October. Once received, one of our customer service representatives should forward your inquiry to the right staff person who can handle your request. Filling out the secure form allows members to safely provide us with the information needed for us to assist you. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Unfortunately, our current computer system does not allow us to enroll a member in direct deposit until the member’s retirement case is finalized. We are working on a multiyear project to replace our computer system. The new system will provide a number of self-service options and help us better serve our customers.

  3. Gregory Stey

    I Retired in October of 2016. I received my partial payment in December 2016. It is now June of 2017 and I am still waiting for the final calculation. I sent a secure Email in the beginning of May 2017 no response to the Email and still no final calculation. Is there an average time limit to process your final calculations?

    1. NYSLRS

      Because of the many variables that can be involved in verifying service and salary details with your former employer, finalizing your retirement benefit amount can take some time. The time it takes can vary depending on the complexity of your own circumstances.

      Once we’ve finalized your benefit, you will receive a retroactive payment of what you are owed back to your date of retirement (the difference between partial payments and your finalized retirement benefit amount).

  4. Jenny Camacho Castro

    My date of retirement was June 1, 2017. I am still waiting for my final option letter in the mail, so I can fill out my choice and send it back to nycers. It’s already October. How long does it take.

  5. Ellen C

    I have been approved for a mortgage, signed a contract and given a commitment letter for the loan shortly after being granted an accidental disability and receiving my retirement estimate. I was expecting to close this month. Now the loan processor is questioning the retirement estimate all because it is worded as an estimate. I know that it is a low estimate and just the minimum I will be receiving. I had 19 yrs in the system, tier 2 , and my highest yrs were not my last 3. it’s a lot to calculate. They are afraid I will be receiving lower that the estimate. Is there any way to provide the loan processor with something to explain that the estimate is just a first and minimum projected income?

    1. NYSLRS

      Unfortunately, the NYSLRS social media team doesn’t have access to your retirement account information.

      To get the account-specific information you need, you can call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990. You can also email them using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.


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