Get answers to common planning questions.
1. I had a membership in another NYS public retirement system before I joined NYSTRS. How will that affect my retirement?
If you held an earlier date of membership in any New York State public retirement system, your current membership may be reinstated to the earlier date. Doing so could significantly change the calculation of your retirement benefit; you should investigate this possibility before filing for retirement. It may not always be in your best interest to reinstate, so contact NYSTRS before making the decision. (Tier 3-6 members reinstating to Tier 1 or 2 must repay any outstanding loan balance before their date of retirement.)
2. When do I file for retirement?
You can file your retirement application up until your effective date of retirement, but no sooner than 90 days before your retirement date. If the application is sent to NYSTRS by registered or certified mail, it will be considered received on the date it was postmarked. Those age 55 and older may complete the application online in MyNYSTRS. Please call us at (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6250 if you need help completing your retirement application.
3. May I cancel my retirement application once it's filed?
Yes. If you file for service retirement, you may withdraw your retirement application – or change your retirement date – by notifying NYSTRS with a signed request within 14 days from your effective date of retirement. If you file for disability retirement, you may withdraw your retirement application by filing a signed request any time before the latter of: a) the date the Retirement Board acts upon the application; or, b) the date the retirement becomes effective. If the letter is sent to NYSTRS by registered or certified mail, it will be considered received on the date it was postmarked.
Your employer's policy for withdrawing a retirement application or changing a date of retirement may differ from NYSTRS' policy. Some employers, for example, may consider a letter of resignation or retirement irrevocable. You should consult with your employer's Human Resources or Business office, or with a representative of your bargaining unit, to determine the local policy on filing for retirement.
4. May I change my benefit payment selection?
We must receive any change in your selected benefit payment type within 30 days from your effective date of retirement. If you do not make an election on your retirement application, you will be retired under the Maximum benefit payment. Learn more about the benefit payment choices in our pamphlet Maximum or an Option: Choosing a Benefit Payment Right for You, which will help you select the benefit payment that best meets your needs.
5. May I withdraw my contributions at retirement?
Tier 1 and 2 members may withdraw the balance of their Annuity Savings Fund (ASF), if any, in lieu of receiving a monthly annuity. To withdraw these funds, please check the appropriate box on the retirement application or notify NYSTRS within 30 days of your retirement date. We will deduct any outstanding loan balance from your ASF.
For Tier 3-6 members, required contributions help fund your pension at retirement. They do not provide you with a separate annuity or any other retirement benefit.
6. What is the difference between the date of resignation I provide my employer and my date of retirement from NYSTRS?
For NYSTRS' purposes, the effective date of retirement you enter on your NYSTRS retirement application must be at least one day beyond the last date you earned salary under contract. For example, if you last earn salary under contract on June 30, the earliest effective date of retirement you could select is July 1.
7. When will my benefit payments begin?
Your first benefit payment date depends on the date you file your retirement application and your effective date of retirement. For example, if your retirement date is July 1, you will generally receive your first payment at the end of July if you file your retirement application at least 30 days in advance. Your initial retirement benefit payments, which are based on unaudited data available to NYSTRS at your retirement, usually represent 95% or more of your final benefit.
It typically takes approximately nine to 12 months to complete the processing of a retirement application. This allows the necessary time to receive and analyze relevant salary and contract information from employers, resolve any service credit issues, and calculate the final benefit. When we have completed processing your application, you will receive your full benefit, plus any necessary adjustment retroactive to your date of retirement.
Please also note that we cannot begin your retirement payments until your Direct Deposit Authorization Agreement (GRE-54) is on file. Benefit payments are directly deposited on the last business day of each month.
Read The Path to Retirement: Understanding the Retirement Process, a guide for new NYSTRS retirees, that explains how the System processes retirement applications.
8. What is the Post-Retirement Paragraph 2 Death Benefit?
A Paragraph 2 Death Benefit would be paid to the beneficiary of a Tier 2-6 retiree whose Paragraph 2 Death Benefit was in effect at retirement. The post-retirement benefit is 50% of the death benefit in effect at retirement if the member dies in the first year after retirement, 25% of the death benefit at retirement if the member dies in the second year after retirement, and 10% of the death benefit at retirement for ensuing years. To be eligible for the continued coverage in retirement, you must retire within one year of leaving the payroll and not be employed (other than NYSTRS service) between your cease-teaching date and retirement date.