What Happens After You File for Retirement

The day has finally come — you filed for retirement. You submitted your retirement application through Retirement Online (or mailed a paper retirement application) and now you’re looking forward to your first pension payment. Here’s what to expect next.

Submit Any Additional Paperwork

After you file for retirement, we will send you and your employer an acknowledgement letter, which will list your retirement date. We may reach out to you for additional information to complete the retirement process — what option you selected, what federal tax to withhold, and your banking information for electronic payments.

file for retirement

Fortunately, if you used Retirement Online, you were able to select your payment option, provide tax withholding information, and enroll in our Direct Deposit Program when you completed the online application.

If you mailed a paper application and did not include this information, we’ll send you the necessary forms to fill out and send back to us. The forms are also available on our website if you want to print your own:

  • W-4P form: If you don’t submit a W-4P, we’ll withhold federal taxes based on the status “married with three dependents.” You can change your withholding at any time.
  • Direct Deposit Enrollment form: We encourage you to sign up for direct deposit, so you’ll have safe and reliable access to your pension payments on the last business day of each month. Paper checks are mailed on the second to last business day of each month and may take longer to receive.
  • Option Election form: If you haven’t received a pension estimate from our office in the past 18 months, you don’t need to include your pension payment option election when you file a paper application — you can wait until after you review an estimate to choose an option. We’ll send you an estimate, along with an option election form, after we receive your retirement application.

Receive Your First Payment

Once NYSLRS receives your retirement application, we will determine your initial pension benefit amount based on the earnings and service information we have on file at the time of your retirement.

Most NYSLRS retirees get their first pension payment at the end of the month following the month they retire. Please note: we cannot send your first payment until we have proof of your date of birth. A copy of your New York driver’s license, birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers are acceptable proofs. If you didn’t have proof of date of birth available when you submitted your retirement application, you can email us a copy by attaching it to our secure contact form or upload it using Retirement Online.

Possible Adjustments to Your Pension

If we receive additional payroll information from your employer, such as eligible lump sum payments, a retroactive pay increase or lagged regular earnings, we may need to adjust your pension payment.

Because of the many variables that are often involved in verifying service and salary details with your former employer, finalizing your retirement benefit amount can take some time. The time this takes depends on the complexity of your circumstances. For example, if you worked for multiple public employers, it may take longer to pull together all your earnings information. Also, if you are transferring service from another retirement system, filing a Domestic Relations Order or are seeking to purchase past service credit, you should expect a delay in receiving a finalized pension amount.

Once we have all the information we need, we’ll recalculate your pension amount. In most cases, your initial payments will be very close to the final benefit amount, but if your payment increases, you will receive a retroactive payment for the amount you are owed back to your date of retirement (the difference between your initial payments and your final retirement benefit amount).

12 thoughts on “What Happens After You File for Retirement

  1. Mark Hsuton

    I am retiring on April 26,2023. I submitted my application 90 days before April 26, I gave all required documents, assuming everything is ok, I should see my first check at the end of May. Is that correct.

    1. NYSLRS

      Yes, most members get their first pension payment at the end of the month following their retirement date.

      Certain situations may delay your first payment, for example if you have not submitted your proof of date of birth or pension payment option form or if you have a domestic relations order on file.

      If you have questions about the status of your application, please message our customer service representatives using our secure contact form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

  2. Eleanor

    I have lot of sick leave time can I use it for retirement health. Coverage. Can I continue to have family coverage

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      NYSLRS does not administer health care coverage for its retirees. Whether you work for New York State or another public employer, if you are not yet retired, your employer’s health benefits administrator (HBA) should be able to answer your questions.

  3. Cindy L. Perkins

    Can i pay my loan amount by money order? I do not use checks. I also use debit cards. Thank you.

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      You can make an additional payment or pay off your balance with a money order payable to the New York State and Local Retirement System, with “loan payment” and your NYSLRS ID (or last four digits of your Social Security number) written on the payment.

      You can check your current loan balance and pay off your loan from a checking or savings account in Retirement Online. For more information on repaying your loan, please visit our Loans: Applying and Repaying page.

  4. Jon Hildreth

    Are eligible lump sum payments from unused vacation accruals requested from your agency prior to retirement or through NYSLRS and do you actually receive a check or is this amount just added to your pension benefit? Thank you.

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Any lump sum payment for unused vacation time would be paid by your employer. Your employer would report the lump sum payment to NYSLRS, and, depending on when you joined the Retirement System, all or part of the payment could be used in calculating your final average earnings.

      For account-specific information concerning lump sum payments, 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.

  5. Christine Hayes

    What happens if I retire and within the following year an early retirement incentive is offered Will I lose out?

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      An application for retirement can’t be withdrawn after your date of retirement.

      If a State retirement incentive program is approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor, NYSLRS will provide specific incentive details on our website and on social media.

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      NYSLRS does not administer health insurance programs for its retirees.

      For New York State retirees and some municipal retirees, the New York State Department of Civil Service administers the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP). To learn more, please visit the Department of Civil Service’s website, call them at 1-800-833-4344 or 518-457-5754, or email them at pio@cs.ny.gov.

      If you work for a public employer that does not participate in NYSHIP, your employer’s benefits administrator should be able to answer your questions.


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