Your Checklist to Apply for Retirement

After months of planning and preparation, you’re ready to apply for retirement. To get your NYSLRS  pension benefit, you need to send in an application. Let’s look at what you should include with the form to help make the retirement process go more smoothly.

Filling Out the Retirement Application

Unless you’re filing for a disability retirement, you’ll need to fill out the Application for Service Retirement (RS6037). As you fill out the form, make sure you:

  • Know your registration number. You can find it on your most recent Member Annual Statement or retirement estimate.
  • Know your past employment. To help ensure you receive the proper credit for your public service, please list your public employment history. Include any military service and memberships in other New York public retirement systems.
  • Include your beneficiary’s information. You won’t make an official beneficiary designation with this form, but including these details will help us give you specific amounts for the pension payment options  that offer a lifetime benefit for a beneficiary.
  • See a notary. The form must be filled out completely and signed by a notary public.

Proof of Birth

Make sure we have proof of your birth date. You can send it with your retirement application or before or after, but we cannot pay pension benefits without it. We accept photocopies of the following as proof:

Other Forms

Option Election

You’ll need to choose your pension payment option, or how you want your pension paid. Option election forms are available on our website, but we will also send you a form after we process your application. If you choose an option that provides your beneficiary a lifetime pension benefit when you die, you must provide proof of your beneficiary’s birth date.

Federal Income Tax Withholding

Your NYSLRS pension isn’t subject to New York State income tax, but it is subject to federal tax. You can fill out a W-4P form  any time to tell us how much to withhold from your monthly benefit. We don’t withhold income tax for other states. Visit the Retired Public Employees Association’s website to see whether your benefit will be taxed in another state.

Direct Deposit

Direct deposit is the fastest and most secure way to receive your pension benefits. You can enroll in our direct deposit program when you file for retirement. Just fill out a Direct Deposit Enrollment Application (RS6370), and return it to us.

Domestic Relations Order

If an ex-spouse is entitled to part of your pension, you should send us a copy of your domestic relations order (DRO) as soon as possible. The DRO gives us specific instructions on how to divide your benefits. We cannot finalize your pension until we review it and calculate the court-mandated distribution of your benefit. For more detailed information, please read our Divorce and Your Pension blog post.


If you have other questions about applying for retirement, read our publication, Life Changes: How Do I Prepare to Retire? or contact us.

4 thoughts on “Your Checklist to Apply for Retirement

    1. NYSLRS

      Your retirement benefit will not be affected if you move overseas. In fact, nearly 700 retirees and beneficiaries live outside the United States. However, some services may be unavailable outside the country.

      NYSLRS can only provide direct deposit through U.S. financial institutions. We do not transfer funds into international accounts across national borders.

      Also, Retirement Online is not accessible to customers outside of the United States and Canada. This is to safeguard your personal information and keep your account secure. (If you need to do business with NYSLRS, you’ll still be able to email us through our secure contact form or download forms you may need from our website.)

  1. Charles Rodenas

    I’m planning on retiring soon. I understand that leaving (at the end of whatever month I choose) ensures a smooth transition to receiving my pension check the following month. My concern is making sure my pension check is in my account so that I can pay my mortgage and other sundry bills. How are pension checks distributed and figured out for a first time pensioner?

    1. NYSLRS

      Most members receive their first pension payments at the end of the month that follows the month in which they retired. If you include a Direct Deposit Application (RS6370) with your retirement paperwork, we will deposit your pension payment directly into your bank account. Otherwise, you’ll receive a check in the mail.

      Initially, your pension payment will be based on the salary and service information we have on file for you. However, your payment may be adjusted after we receive and process final payroll information, such as eligible lump sum payments or lagged regular earnings, from your employer.

      For information about your specific situation, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and get back to you. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.


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