2021 Legislation

2016 Legislation

The following is a summary of 2021 NYSTRS-related legislation that has been signed into law.

Alternate Methods of Postal Mail

Chapter 329 of the Laws of 2021 (S6513/A7181)
Signed into law August 2, 2021
Effective Date: October 31, 2021

This bill amends Education Law Section 508 to allow NYSTRS to accept alternate methods of postal mail and offer expanded options to members to submit and file forms and applications. This further enables NYSTRS to deem the forms filed with the System by statutory deadlines. NYSTRS will promulgate regulations necessary for implementation.

Limits to Certain Tier 6 Member Loans

Chapter 370 of the Laws of 2021 (S6512/A6663)
Signed into law August 2, 2021
Effective Date: August 2, 2021

This bill amends Retirement and Social Security Law Sections 517-b and 613-a to limit the maximum amount Tier 6 members who join NYSTRS on or after July 1, 2022 may borrow against their retirement contributions. A Tier 6 member joining NYSTRS on or after July 1, 2022 may borrow up to 50% of the member’s total contribution balance or $50,000, whichever is less.

Post-Retirement Death Benefit

Chapter 376 of the Laws of 2021 (S6618/A7182)
Signed into law August 2, 2021
Effective Date: August 2, 2021

This bill amends Retirement and Social Security Law Sections 448, 508 and 606 to remove the age 60 qualifier and provide NYSTRS retirees to be eligible for the post-retirement death benefit in the third and subsequent years following retirement at the rate of 10% of the benefit in force at the time of retirement. This law applies to deaths on or after August 2, 2021.

Power of Attorney

Chapter 323 of the Laws of 2020 (S3923-A/A5630-A)
Further amended by Chapter 84 of the Laws of 2021 (S888/A2353)
Signed into law December 15, 2020 and March 25, 2021, respectively.
Effective Date: June 13, 2021

The power of attorney is a legal instrument by which a person (known as the principal) authorizes a third party (known as the agent) to act on his or her behalf.

Chapter 323 of the Laws of 2020 amended various provisions of the General Obligations Law Article 5, Title 15, relating to both the content and the execution of a statutory short form power of attorney. Chapter 84 of the Laws of 2021 was a chapter amendment to Chapter 323 and provided for an additional execution requirement of two disinterested witnesses signing said power of attorney form.

In general, the amendments made by Chapters 323 & 84 provide for the following changes to the Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney (POA):

  • Eliminated the separate Statutory Gifts Rider.
    • All powers granted by the principal to the agent are set forth in the POA.
    • Gifting authority to authorize gifts over the permissible annual amount must be expressly granted in the modifications section of the form.
  • Removed the strict language requirement of the form and allows the POA to “substantially conform” with the statutory form.
  • Signature requirements:
    • POAs must be acknowledged and witnessed by two disinterested persons who are not named as agents or as permissible recipients of gifts in the POA.
    • One witness may be the notary.
    • If the principal is unable to sign or initial the document, the principal is allowed to designate a person (other than the agent) to sign the POA on his or her behalf.
  • Established safe-harbor provisions:
    • Institutions cannot unreasonably reject a POA. However, an institution may request the agent certify facts as they relate to the principal or POA and may request an attorney opinion letter.
    • Grants protections for those relying upon an acknowledged and witnessed POA; third parties are held harmless from liability when they reasonably rely upon, in good faith, a duly executed POA.

Please Note: A properly executed statutory short form power of attorney, executed in accordance with the law in effect at the time of its execution prior to June 13, 2021, remains valid.

Refer to the full text of the law for more information. The information provided here is for general reference only. The System recommends members consult with their legal counsel for guidance and implementation of the law.

COVID-19 Public Employee Death Benefit

Chapter 78 of the Laws of 2021 (S4681/A3988)
Signed into law March 12, 2021
Effective Date: March 1, 2020

Chapter 78 amends various provisions of law in relation to extending the COVID-19 accidental death benefit to statutory beneficiaries of active New York State public employees (state and local) who worked on or after March 1, 2020, contracted COVID-19, COVID-19 was the cause or contributed to the employee’s death and the employee then died on or before December 31, 2022.

Refer to our COVID-19 Accidental Death Benefit Fact Sheet for additional information regarding eligibility and claiming the benefit.

COVID-19 Vaccination Paid Leave

Chapter 77 of the Laws of 2021 (S2588-A/A3354-B)
Signed into law March 12, 2021
Effective Date: March 12, 2021
Remains in Effect Through December 31, 2022

Chapter 77 amends the Civil Service Law to grant public employees with paid leave of up to 4 hours per injection to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The law applies unless the employee is already entitled to a greater number of hours pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

Public employees include public officers, employees of the state, county, community college, public authority, public benefit corporation, BOCES, vocational education and extension board, a school district, municipality, or any employee participating in the NYS and Local Employees' Retirement System or Teachers' Retirement System.

NYSTRS does not administer this statute. Contact your employer for additional information.

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