When you join NYSLRS, we ask you to designate one or more beneficiaries who may receive certain benefits if you die while working. But, don’t forget about your beneficiaries after you turn in your membership application. It’s important to review them periodically to make sure they reflect your current wishes.
Your beneficiaries can be anyone; you don’t need to choose family members. You can even name an organization, such as a charity or religious institution, or your estate. And, did you know there are two types of beneficiary that you can designate?
Types of Beneficiaries
You can name both primary and contingent beneficiaries:
- Your primary beneficiary will receive any payable benefit. You can list more than one primary beneficiary, and if you do, they will share the benefit equally. You can also choose different percentages for each beneficiary, as long as they total 100 percent. (Example: John Doe, 50 percent; Jane Doe, 25 percent; and Mary Doe, 25 percent.)
- Your contingent beneficiary will only receive the benefit if all your primary beneficiaries die before you do. Multiple contingent beneficiaries will share the benefit equally, unless you choose to divide the benefit among them differently.
How Do I Designate a Beneficiary?
Even though you designated a beneficiary when you first joined NYSLRS, you can update your beneficiaries any time.
- The fastest way to view or update your beneficiaries is through Retirement Online. It’s a convenient and secure way to review your personal details, contact information and more. Register and sign in, then click Manage My Beneficiaries on the right, under I want to ….
- You can also complete and mail us a Designation of Beneficiary form (RS5127). Be sure to sign and date the form, and have your signature notarized. The notary must include his or her notary expiration date, and your notary should not be one of your beneficiaries. We can’t accept a form with any alterations, including erasures or the use of correction fluid. You can name up to four primary and four contingent beneficiaries on the form. Please contact us if you want to designate more, because we cannot accept attachments.
Whether you change your beneficiaries online or by mail, be sure to include all of your beneficiaries. Your new beneficiary designations will replace all of your previously named beneficiaries. The changes will not take effect until we review and approve your designations.
You can read more about beneficiary designations in our Life Changes: Why Should I Designate a Beneficiary? publication. If you have any other questions, please contact us.
How do we find out how much accumulated contributions are left after death?
Once NYSLRS receives a report of a member or retiree’s death, we contact any designated beneficiaries. We begin processing any death benefits that may be payable once we receive a death certificate. We can only mail specific information about death benefits and continuing retirement benefits to the named beneficiaries.
If you have questions about your specific account, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.
As a tier 1 retiree I have no death benefits however they still asked for a beneficiary. Why?
This could be explained by the fact that there are several possible death benefits available to NYSLRS retirees.
We suggest you contact our customer service representatives. Because they have access to your account-specific information, they’ll be able to answer your question. You can contact them by using our secure email form (www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.
You can also contact our Call Center at 1-866-805-0990 (518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area). The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am – 5:00 pm.