Retirement comes too soon for some people. Poor health, an injury, family situations, layoffs and other unforeseen circumstances could force you into an unplanned retirement.
You may already have a plan based on the date you would like to retire, but do you have a backup plan if that date comes a few years earlier than expected?
Know Your Benefits
As a NYSLRS member, you’re entitled to benefits that may help. Most vested members can begin collecting a lifetime pension as early as age 55, though your benefit may be permanently reduced if you retire before full retirement age. (Full retirement age for NYSLRS members is either 62 or 63, depending on your tier. Full retirement age for Social Security benefits depends on your year of birth.)
If you can no longer do your job because of a physical and mental condition, you may be eligible for a Social Security Disability, or a NYSLRS disability benefit if your disability is permanent.
You may also want to look into Workers’ Compensation if you are injured on the job or Unemployment Insurance if you have been laid off from a position.
Other Ways to Plan for the Unexpected
Doing your homework is important. The more you understand the potential benefits available to you, the better you can estimate your income if you are forced to retire early. Unfortunately, the numbers you come up with may not be enough when dealing with an unplanned retirement.
But one potential source of income can make a big difference: retirement savings. Your savings could help you get by until you are eligible to collect your NYSLRS pension or another retirement benefit. If you are not saving for retirement, consider starting now. And if you are saving, consider increasing your savings. It could become a lifeline if the unexpected happens.
New York State employees and some municipal employees can also save for retirement through the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan. Ask your employer if you are eligible.
For more information about the benefits offered by your NYSLRS retirement plan, visit our website to read your plan publication.