Countdown to Retirement — Final Three Months

Once you decide to retire and begin preparing, the final months leading up to your retirement date go by quickly. Previously, we discussed the steps to take when you’re four to six months away from retirement. As we wrap up our Countdown to Retirement, let’s take a look at what you should be doing in the final three months.

Final Three Months: Filing for Retirement

You need to file an Application for Service Retirement (RS6037) with us 15–90 days before your retirement date. You can download the form from our website or pick up a physical copy at one of our consultation sites. Make sure to fill out the application completely and have it notarized.

If you send the form by “Certified Mail — Return Receipt Requested,” we will consider your application filed on the date it was mailed. Please don’t give your application to your employer; send it directly to NYSLRS.

Next Steps

Once we receive your application, we’ll mail you a confirmation letter. If you’ve received an estimate from us within the past 18 months, we will include three forms with the letter:

  • Use the W-4P form to decide how much you want withheld from your pension benefit for federal taxes.
  • Use the Direct Deposit Enrollment Application (RS6370) to receive your pension benefit payments electronically, right in your bank account.
  • Use the option election form to choose how you want your pension benefit paid and whether you would like to leave a lifetime pension to a beneficiary when you die.

If you haven’t received an estimate, we will just send you the W-4P and Direct Deposit Enrollment Application forms. We will begin processing your estimate, and once it’s complete, we will send it to you along with an option election form.

final three months

Choosing Your Pension Payment Option

Select a payment option based on your most recent estimate. All of the options provide a monthly benefit for life, and some provide payments to a designated beneficiary when you die. You must file this form by the last day of the month in which you retire (unless otherwise notified).

Make Sure You’re Prepared

As your retirement date draws near, think about scheduling an appointment at one of our consultation sites. A consultation is not required, but our information representatives can answer any questions you have, help you complete the paperwork and notarize your retirement application. You can also contact us if you have questions.

14 thoughts on “Countdown to Retirement — Final Three Months

    1. NYSLRS

      When you retire, the mandatory contributions that you paid into NYSLRS will be used to help fund the cost of your pension.
      Your contributions do not go into an individual retirement account and will not be available to you when you retire.

      You should know that, unlike a 401k, the pension you will receive from NYSLRS will not be based on the amount of contributions you paid into the system. NYSLRS benefits are defined benefit plans, which means you will receive a lifetime benefit that will be based on your years of service and your earnings, not on the amount of contributions you paid into the system.

  1. Robert Barbella

    On any option selected to leave your beneficiary money and they predecease you,do you now go back to getting the full amount of your pension,or does your pension stay the same?

    1. NYSLRS

      That depends on the payment option you choose. If you choose a Pop-Up Joint Allowance option and your beneficiary dies before you do, your pension will be increased to the amount you would have received if you had chosen a Single Life Allowance. You can find more information on the Payment Options Descriptions page.

  2. Diane Giaquinto

    Hi, i submitted my Application for Service Retirement on 4/11/19 at the Hauppauge, NY Office and have received a reply letter from NYSLRS stating receipt of my application. I had selected the Single Life Allowance option, but upon further consideration, I wish to change that to Joint Allowance – 25%. How do I do this? I haven’t been able to get through on the telephone.


    1. NYSLRS

      We apologize for the trouble you are having getting through on the phone. You can change your option by filing a new Retirement Option Election Form. You can find the correct form for your retirement system and tier on our Forms page at You have up to 30 days after your pension benefit becomes payable to change your option election.

      If you have further questions, you can always 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.

  3. glenn

    what is your pension based on, gross income averaged or are there deductions . example health care payment , investment withdrawals

    1. NYSLRS

      Retirement benefits are calculated using gross pay. You may find the Final Average Salary information on our website useful:

      For account-specific questions, 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.

  4. ejhonda

    It would be helpful to have links to the other articles in this Countdown to Retirement series here so we can review them all. Thanks!

  5. Ed Rudder

    The option election form lists 2 choices for the Pop Up designation of 50% or 100%. How do I communicate a choice of 75% ?

    1. NYSLRS


      We do accept written requests for options other than those provided on the Option form. If you are filing for retirement, please include a letter detailing the option you would like, your name, contact information, and signature. Once your request is approved, you will receive a custom option form to complete.  

      We hope this helps,



Leave a Reply