Countdown to Retirement — 18 Months to Go

Thinking about retiring soon? Our Countdown to Retirement series will help you get started and stay on track to hit your retirement date.

Countdown to Retirement 18 months

Review Your Account Information in Retirement Online

As your first step on the road to retirement, you should sign in to your Retirement Online account and review the information we have on file for you. If you don’t have an account, consider signing up for one. It’s an essential retirement tool that will make the retirement process easier.

Make sure your mailing address and email address are current and check other information in your account. In your Retirement Online account, you’ll find:

  • The date you joined NYSLRS;
  • Your tier and membership plan;
  • Your estimated service credit;
  • Your annual earnings for the past five years; and
  • Loan balances and payoff dates.

If you believe information is missing or incorrect in your Retirement Online account, please contact us.

Read Your Retirement Plan Booklet

Your retirement plan booklet provides essential information about your NYSLRS benefits. It shows the formula that NYSLRS will use to calculate your pension and discusses other factors that may affect your pension.

You can find your plan booklet on our Publications page. Read our blog post about retirement plans to figure out which plan is yours. If you’re still not sure, check your Retirement Online account or ask your employer.

Learn How Divorce Can Affect Your Pension

If you’ve been through a divorce since you joined NYSLRS, that may affect your pension.

Retirement benefits are considered marital property and can be divided between you and your ex-spouse. Any division of your benefits must be stated in a domestic relations order (DRO), a legal document that gives us specific instructions on how your benefits should be divided.

Read our Divorce and Your Benefits page to learn more.

Other Things to Consider

If you have a NYSLRS loan, you should plan to pay it off before retirement. Your pension will be reduced if you retire with an outstanding loan. You can use Retirement Online to check your balance, make a lump-sum payment or increase your payment amount. For more information, visit our Loans page.

If you are planning to purchase service credit, including military service, you should do that as soon as possible. You can apply for additional credit in Retirement Online or submit a Request to Purchase Service Credit form (RS5042). Our publication Service Credit for Tier 2 Through 6 has more information.

Your Countdown to Retirement

Your planned retirement date will be here before you know it. Watch for future posts in the Countdown to Retirement series for steps to take at 12 months, four-to-six months and one-to-three months before your retirement date.

22 thoughts on “Countdown to Retirement — 18 Months to Go

  1. karen costello

    If you are trying to get credit for time earned in a probationary period at beginning of career (filed Sept 2019 and still NO word), have already paid into the system for ten years (actually entering into the 30+ range of service) why would you have to pay for the first year? Since ten years is all that you are required to pay into system and is contingent on salary, didn’t i already over pay? Earning more money clearly in the eleventh year.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      For assistance, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  2. Michael

    Are you ultimately able to collect your pension with no penalty if you leave your NYS employment prior to reaching your retirement age? For example, say a person is 53 years old and has 31 years of credited NYS service. Can that individual simply leave the workforce entirely for a couple of years (at 53 years of age) and then officially retire once they’ve reached their 55th birthday (without penalty) – or do they need to work all the way up to their 55th birthday and then retire directly from their state employer at that time?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Depending on your tier and plan, you may be able to retire without penalty at age 55. For example, Tier 3 and 4 Employees’ Retirement System members who are in the Article 15 retirement plan and have at least 30 years of service credit can retire at age 55 without penalty.

      However, leaving public payroll before you are eligible to retire may affect your eligibility for certain death benefits and health benefits.

      If you are considering leaving public payroll before you retire, we suggest you email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website to ask how it would affect your NYSLRS benefits.

      You may also wish to speak to your health benefits administrator to find out how going off payroll would affect any post-retirement health benefits you may be entitled to.

      Reply
  3. Michael

    I have heard from some co-workers that you can retire just under 1 month before your actual date of eligibility arrives due to how the retirement system algorithm works, in that it doesn’t calculate fractional months. So, for example, if I’m eligible to retire with no penalty on my 62nd birthday (let’s say it is May 25th), I can actually retire around April 28th-April 30th of the prior month and suffer no penalties leading to a reduction in my pension amount. Can that information be confirmed by NYSLRS?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      For questions about how a specific retirement date would affect your benefits, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Most NYSLRS pensions are subject to federal income tax (although some disability benefits are not taxable). NYSLRS pensions are not subject to New York State or local income tax.

      If you are estimating your NYSLRS pension benefit, the amount is a gross amount, before any deductions. You may wish to speak to a tax advisor for questions about how much you will be taxed in retirement.

      You may also find the info on our Taxes and Your Pension webpage helpful.

      Reply
  4. Teresa E Nolan

    Could someone let me know if I retire on my 62nd birthday, is it that day or the midnight the day before? My birthday is November 3rd. Do I go to work that day?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Your retirement date is the day your retirement starts, not your last day of work.

      For questions about how your choice of retirement date would affect your pension, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts. You can also email them using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  5. Gary Cassidy

    My ex spouse sent a letter to the matrimonial
    Unit requesting an estimate of my benefit from her pension upon her retirement based upon the previously filed QDRO, We were instructed to send this letter to the matrimonial unit for them to me inform the estimate of benefits unit of the QDRO provisions, but the matrimonial unit responed that she needed to send an estimate request form to the estimate of benefits unit. She has now done so and we continue to wait for the estimated amount that I am entitled to receive from her pension upon her retirement. How long should this take and is there anything else we need to do to get this information?

    Reply
  6. Linda Kulas

    I have an outstanding service credit and wondering how to pay it off? Plus my spouse died almost 7 years ago. Need to remove him from beneficiaries.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Members can update their beneficiary information and manage payments for service credit in Retirement Online. If you don’t have an account, go to the Sign In page on the NYSLRS website and click the “Sign Up” link under the “Customer Sign In” button.

      You can also pay off your service-credit balance by sending a check, payable to NYSLRS, to NYSLRS, 110 State Street, Albany, NY 12244-0001.

      In addition to using Retirement Online to update your beneficiaries, you can also complete a Designation of Beneficiary form and mail it to NYSLRS. If you change your beneficiaries by mail, be sure to include all your beneficiaries on the form. Your new beneficiary designations will replace all your previously named beneficiaries.

      If you have account-specific questions or need help with Retirement Online, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts. You can also email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  7. Georgine Rusnak

    Is there anyway to schedule the phone conference online? Have not been able to get through on the phone. It has been at least half hour wait or I get hung up on.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We apologize for the trouble you’re having getting through to our Call Center. Your message is important to us and we have sent you a private message in response.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We will send you and your employer acknowledgment letters. If you have chosen to receive correspondence by email through Retirement Online, you’ll receive an email letting you know you can sign in and view your letter.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      To schedule a personalized pre-retirement telephone consultation, please call 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts.

      Before a consultation, you may wish to sign in to Retirement Online to review the information we have on file for you, such as your estimated total service credit, and use the online benefit calculator to estimate your pension.

      Reply

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