You probably have a lot on your mind right now, but one thing you don’t need to worry about is your NYSLRS pension. Despite the turmoil in the financial markets, your retirement benefits are secure.
want to assure the more than one million men and women who rely on the State
pension fund for retirement security that we are well-positioned to weather the
ongoing volatility,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “To
our retirees, your pensions are safe and we will continue to pay your benefits
The New York State Common Retirement Fund, which holds and invests NYSLRS assets, has long been recognized as one of best managed and best funded public pension plans in the nation. The strength of the Fund puts NYSLRS in a good position as we navigate through the current economic turmoil.
Fund’s professional managers take a conservative approach to investing and
focus on sustained, long-term results. This approach allows the Fund to capitalize
on investment opportunities in good times and cushions it against market ups
and downs. In recent months, as they recognized increased volatility in the
market, Fund managers began making adjustments to the Fund’s investment
portfolio to prepare for an expected downturn in the economy. They are actively
managing the Fund through these difficult times and are confident the markets
will ultimately recover.
To protect the health of our members and employees, our NYSLRS consultation site offices are closed until at least March 30, 2020. The best method for customers who wish to submit documents and conduct business with us is through Retirement Online. There you can complete an estimate, update your information, and even file for retirement.
with previously scheduled appointments are being contacted and offered phone
consultations. If you would like to schedule a phone consultation, or have
retirement-related questions, you can contact us at 1-866-805-0990
(518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area) or email us using our secure
Our NYSLRS’ essential staff continue to do Retirement System
work. We are processing mail and applications, answering phone calls and
responding to emails during this time.
What Can You Do in Retirement Online?
Retirement Online gives you an easy and secure way to
review your NYSLRS benefit information and conduct transactions in real time. In
many cases, you can use Retirement Online instead of sending forms
through the mail or calling NYSLRS. Here’s a quick look at some of its
Update Contact Information Do you have a new mailing address, email address or phone number? Make sure NYSLRS can get in touch with you by updating your contact information.
Update Your Beneficiary Information You can designate beneficiaries for your death benefits, and also make updates to existing beneficiaries.
Create a Pension Verification Letter or Mortgage Letter If you’re a retiree and need to provide proof of your retirement income, you can generate and print an income verification letter from your account. If you’re a member and need to verify your retirement account information, you can generate and print a mortgage letter when you need it.
Update Your Last Name If you changed your last name recently, you can change it online instead of submitting a Name Change form.
Change Your Correspondence Preference Would you prefer to receive emails from NYSLRS instead of mail? You can update your correspondence preference and receive an email notification from NYSLRS whenever we have updated information to send you. (Please note that some information, such as tax forms, will be sent by mail for security purposes.)
Estimate Your Pension (Members Only) You can estimate your pension benefit based on up-to-date account information, then save or print the estimate for your records.
Manage Loan and Service Credit Payments (Members Only) Need to pay back a loan or purchase service credit? You can adjust your payment amount or make a lump sum payment.
Apply for Retirement Ready to retire? You can file your service retirement application right from home.
Apply for a Loan (Members Only) Eligible members can apply online to take a loan out against their NYSLRS contributions.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted our daily lives in ways large and small. As New York and the rest of the nation work on treatment and containment of this virus, many New Yorkers are concerned about what the future will bring.
The New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) wants to assure retirees and members who rely on the state pension fund for fiscal security that it is well positioned to weather the volatility in the financial markets. Your retirement benefits are secure and you will continue to receive your pension payments.
Retirees: Please Sign Up for Direct Deposit
As NYSLRS closely monitors the public health measures being taken to prevent the community transmission of the coronavirus, there are circumstances that could arise that impact the delivery of pension checks, particularly the ability of retirees to go to the bank to deposit them.
NYSLRS strongly urges retirees to consider signing up for direct deposit, instead of receiving a monthly pension by check via mail delivery. The vast majority of our retirees have their retirement and Social Security benefits deposited directly into their checking or savings account. Direct deposit is quick and safe. To enroll in direct deposit, complete the Electronic Funds Transfer Direct Deposit Enrollment Application (RS6370).
In late January, NYSLRS mailed tax information to retirees (and some members and beneficiaries) so they can file their taxes.
NYSLRS pensions are not subject to New York State or local income taxes, but in most cases they are subject to federal taxes. In January, we mailed 1099-R tax forms to almost 500,000 retirees who receive taxable benefits. We also mailed 1099-Rs to beneficiaries who received taxable income from NYSLRS in 2019, members who have taken taxable NYSLRS loans or have defaulted on their loans, and those who ended their membership and withdrew their contributions in 2019.
A 1099-R shows:
The total benefit paid to you in a calendar year.
The taxable amount of your benefit.
The amount of taxes withheld from your benefit.
If you didn’t get your 1099-R, you can request a reprint. This year, reprints will be available for calendar years 2017, 2018 and 2019. Your 1099-R will be mailed to the address we have on file for you. Sign in to Retirement Online to check or update your mailing address before requesting a reprint.
If you have questions about the information on the form, we feature an interactive 1099-R tutorial on our website. It walks you through a sample 1099-R and offers a short explanation of specific boxes on the form.
Changing Your Federal Tax Withholdings
If you need to make changes to your federal withholding, you can send us a W-4P form at any time. You can use this form to change your withholding status, increase or decrease the number of your exemptions, or request that an additional amount be withheld.
Please note: If you change your withholding, it may take a few months before the changes are reflected in your pension payments. You can look up your current payment breakdown, including tax withholding, using Retirement Online.
Federal tax withholding and other deductions taken from your pension, such as union dues.
Health insurance premiums. (NYSLRS doesn’t administer health insurance benefits, but we deduct retiree premiums at the request of your former employer.)
Not a Tax Document
While your Retiree Annual Statement includes information about your benefit payments and tax withholding, it is not a tax document and should not be used for filing your federal income tax return. NYSLRS mailed 1099-R tax forms to retirees and beneficiaries in January.
If you need a reprint of your 2019 1099-R to file your taxes, you can order one online. Reprints will be mailed to the address we have on file for you, so if you’ve moved recently, you should check to make sure your contact information is up to date before requesting a reprint. The fastest way to check and update your address is with Retirement Online. From your account homepage, you can also let us know how you would like to receive information from NYSLRS by choosing your correspondence preference.
News & Notes, our semiannual newsletter, will be included with your Retiree Annual Statement. The newsletter will help you keep up with the latest news about NYSLRS and other topics of interest.
Your Statement provides a snapshot of your NYSLRS account as of December 31, 2019, but you can get up-to-date information by signing in to Retirement Online. If you don’t already have an account, you can learn more or register today.
NOTE: when there is a change in your net benefit amount, NYSLRS will notify you by mail or email.
You can use Retirement Online with
complete confidence knowing that your personal account information is safe and
secure. For one thing, Retirement
Online uses the same security safeguards used by banks and other
financial institutions for online transactions. But we also use other important
safeguards, some of which are described below.
security begins the moment you register for your Retirement Online account.
process will take you through a series of steps, where you’ll be asked to
provide personal information, including your date of birth and the last four
digits of your Social Security number. Then you’ll be asked a series of security questions
to verify your identity. These questions are provided by a trusted third-party source.
NYSLRS doesn’t store the questions or your answers.
Next, you’ll need to select a user ID and password. Be sure to create a password that is both strong and easy to remember. You may want to read our Tips for Secure Passwords blog for guidance. Remember to keep your password to yourself. (A NYSLRS representative will never ask for the password to your account.)
When you register,
you’ll also be asked to select how you would like to receive security codes. Security codes help you sign into your
account (see more about signing in below).
Retirement Online uses a
two-step sign-in process to securely sign you in to your account.
First, you’ll enter your user ID
and password, and check the Google reCAPTCHA box. After you click the Sign In
button, you’ll need to receive a security code to complete the sign-in process.
The security code provides an extra layer of protection for your account. The code goes to the device of your choosing, based on the contact preferences you selected when you created your account. Security codes can be received by text message or phone call.
Once you receive and enter the
security code, you can finish signing in to your Retirement Online
You’ll have the
option of registering a device, such as a laptop or desktop computer, so you
can skip the security code when signing on with that device. If you choose to
do this, make sure it’s a private, secure device that only you will use. Don’t
register a public device, such as a computer at the library.
Retirement Online provides a safe and convenient way to review your retirement account details and conduct transactions in real time. In many cases, you can use Retirement Online instead of sending forms through the mail or calling NYSLRS. Need help accessing Retirement Online? Here’s some handy information to help you sign in, reset your password, and more.
Registering for Retirement Online
When you sign up for a Retirement
Online account, for security reasons, you will be asked to identify
yourself, confirm your Social Security number, verify your identity and create
credentials. Read our Registering
for Retirement Online guide for help with the registration and sign
Retirement Online uses a
two-step sign-in process to securely sign you in to your account. First, you’ll
enter your user ID and password, and check the Google reCAPTCHA box. After you
click the Sign In button, you’ll receive a security code to complete the
Your security code can be sent to
you through an automated phone call or as a text message to your cell phone. Request
the security code once and wait to receive the code.
If you receive the security code by text message, you must enter the six-digit code provided in the body of the text message.
Once you enter the security code, you can access your account.
Forgotten User IDs or Passwords
Did you know that you can retrieve your user ID or reset your password on your own? This is a helpful tip to remember, because if you enter an incorrect password three times, your account will be locked.
If you’ve forgotten your user ID,
go to the Retirement Online sign-in page. Click the “Forgot
ID” link above the User ID field. From there, you can identify yourself
and answer security questions to receive your user ID. Read our Forgot
User ID guide for step-by-step information.
If you’ve forgotten your password,
click the “Forgot Password” link above the Password field. From
there, you can identify yourself with your user ID and answer security
questions to reset your password. Read our Forgot
Password guide for step-by-step information.
In the event you become locked out
of your account, you can call our customer service representatives at
1-866-805-0990 (518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area). Press 2 to access the
member, retiree and beneficiary menu, follow the prompts, and then press 1 for Retirement
Retirement Online is available Monday thru Friday 7:00 am – 6:00 pm and weekends 6:00 am – 11:00 pm. Over time, we will expand our hours to better serve you. For more information, please visit our Retirement Online Learn More page.
As a NYSLRS retiree, you can work for a public employer after retirement and still receive your pension, but there may be an earnings limit on how much you can earn.
Public employers include New York State, municipalities in the State (cities, counties, etc.), school districts and public authorities. If you’re self-employed or work for a private employer, another state, or the federal government, you can collect your full NYSLRS pension no matter how much you earn. (However, earnings for most disability retirees are limited whether they work for a public or private employer. To find out your earnings limit, please contact us.)
Two sections of New York State Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) apply to NYSLRS service retirees who return to work in the public sector.
Section 212: Earnings Limit Increases to $35,000 in 2020
Section 212 of the RSSL allows retirees to earn up to $30,000 from public employment in calendar year 2019. Legislation signed in December 2019 increased the earnings limit to $35,000 for calendar year 2020 and future years. There is generally no earnings restriction beginning in the calendar year you turn 65. (Special rules apply to elected officials.) If you are under 65 and earn more than the Section 212 limit, you must:
Pay back, to NYSLRS, an amount equal to the retirement benefit you received after you reached the limit. And, if you continue to work, your retirement benefit will be suspended for the remainder of the calendar year.
Rejoin NYSLRS, in which case your retirement benefit will be suspended.
Section 211: Requires Employer Approval
Under Section 211, the earnings limit can be waived if your prospective employer gets prior approval. (In most cases, the New York State Department of Civil Service would be the approving agency.)
Section 211 approvals apply to a fixed period, normally up to two years. Approval is not automatic; it is based on the employer’s needs and your qualifications.
Could retirement bring you too much free time? When people think about retirement planning, they usually think about money. Will you have enough to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for a retirement that could last decades? But regardless of your finances, there is one thing you’re likely to have a lot more of after you retire: time. Figuring out how you’ll spend that time should also be part of your retirement planning process.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the average American
worker spends about nine hours a day at work. Add another hour a day commuting
time, and that’s ten hours a day or 50 hours each week.
All those hours you spent working, and traveling to and from
work, will instantly become free time. While that may sound great to many
people, all that extra time can have downsides.
For many couples, having extra time together is a dream come
true. However, some couples find themselves getting in each other’s way, and
that can sometimes lead to problems.
But there are ways to cope. For example, finding activities outside the home, both together and separately, can help. As with most things, you’ll be better off if you recognize there may be a problem, discuss it with your spouse, and come up with a plan.
Retirees, you’ll want to take advantage of the safety and convenience of Retirement Online to conduct business with NYSLRS.
Using Retirement Online may save you a phone call or a trip to the mailbox. You can conduct retirement transactions in real time when it’s most convenient for you.
Review the most up-to-date information about your account. Check
on the details of your pension and review deductions.
Moving? Changing your phone number or email address? It’s
easy to keep NYSLRS updated so you won’t have to worry about missing important
news and information about your benefits.
Snowbirds, take note. You can schedule an address change so you get NYSLRS mail at your seasonal home without interruption. This will ensure that you get your 1099-R tax forms in time to file your tax return.
You can change the beneficiary for your post-retirement
death benefit or change the contact information for an existing beneficiary.
Retirement Online makes it easy to view your
beneficiary selections and submit changes instantly.
Income Verification Letter
You may need to prove your pension income for business reasons, such as applying for a mortgage or renting an apartment. With Retirement Online, you can generate an income verification letter any time you need one.
Retirees: Register for Retirement Online Today
Retirement Online is generally available from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, seven days a week. In the future, we will be expanding its hours of operation. We’ll also be introducing additional features, including the ability to manage your direct deposit information online.