How Do I Prepare to Retire?

If you plan to retire in the near future, consider How Do I Prepare to Retire? a must-read.

This NYSLRS publication is a road map for the retirement process — a guide to the steps you’ll need to take before and after you file your retirement application. It highlights resources you can tap to get a better understanding of your benefits, including the NYSLRS website and Retirement Online.

prepare to retire

Retirement Planning Tips

Before you retire, you may need to tie up some loose ends regarding your membership. How Do I Prepare to Retire? discusses how to get credit for all of your service, paying off any outstanding NYSLRS loans, and other matters you should attend to before you file for retirement.

The biggest decision you’ll make as you plan your retirement is setting a date. This booklet includes a discussion about the impact early retirement may have on your pension amount. You’ll also find information about how your final average salary is calculated and how to get an estimate of your future benefits.

Retirement Countdown

Once you seriously begin to consider retirement, the booklet details a few steps you can take to make your path to the big day as smooth as possible.

  • File Proof of Your Date of Birth. Before we can pay any benefits, we must have proof of your date of birth.
  • File Your Domestic Relations Order. If you have a court order showing how your benefits are to be divided with an ex-spouse, we’ll need a certified copy.
  • Review Your Health Insurance. Check what coverage you’ll have or investigate health insurance options. (NYSLRS does not administer health insurance for our retirees, but you may be able to pay for yours through pension deductions.)

Filing for Retirement

Filing an Application for Service Retirement sets the ball in motion. In most cases, your application must be on file with the Office of the State Comptroller 15 to 90 days before you retire. You need to send it directly to NYSLRS; don’t give it to your employer. You can mail it, preferably by certified mail, or drop it off at one of our consultation sites.

This booklet tells you what to do and what to expect as we finalize your pension. There are important documents you’ll need to file, such as a W-4P form, so we know how much we should withhold from your pension. But don’t fret too much about these things: just keep How Do I Prepare to Retire? handy and consult it whenever you have a question.

Other Publications

Read our recent blog posts about other NYSLRS publications.

4 thoughts on “How Do I Prepare to Retire?

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Having an outstanding loan will not prevent you from putting in a retirement application, but if you retire with an outstanding NYSLRS loan, your pension will be reduced. The amount of the reduction depends on the amount of the loan and your age at retirement.

      Information about pension reductions is available on the loan application for Tiers 3-6 and for Tiers 1 and 2.

      In most cases, you will also need to report at least some of the loan balance as ordinary income (subject to federal income tax) to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You may also be subject to a tax penalty.

      Employees’ Retirement System members may repay their loan after retiring. You can find more information on our Repaying Your NYSLRS Loan after Retirement page.

  1. Deborah Smith

    I plan on retiring in September 2020 (hopefully). I can not get through to speak with someone on the phone. It’s becoming very stressful. I need a little guidance on this matter. Can someone please be available to speak to?


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