Retirement law can be confusing. Sometimes a small misunderstanding can have a big impact on your benefit. That’s why it’s important to correct some common retirement myths. Here are the top five:
Retirement Myth #1
My NYSLRS contributions go into a personal 401(k)-style savings account that I will get when I retire.
NYSLRS is a defined benefit plan. Your pension will be based on your earnings and years of service — it will not be based on your contributions.
Retirement Myth #2
If I work for more than one NYSLRS participating employer, the service credit from both will count toward my pension benefit.
It depends. You can only earn one year of service credit in a 12-month period. If you work part-time for two participating employers, you would receive credit toward retirement from both, up to the maximum of one year. However, if you already work full-time for one NYSLRS employer plus you work part-time for another employer, your part-time job won’t increase your retirement service credit. Also, if you are a full-time employee of a school district, you won’t earn extra service credit if you work during the summer.
Retirement Myth #3
NYSLRS administers health insurance coverage for its retirees.
NYSLRS does not administer health insurance programs. We may deduct premiums from a retiree’s monthly pension benefit to pay for health insurance coverage if their former employer instructs us to do so, but we can’t answer questions about coverage or changes in premium amounts.
The New York State Department of Civil Service administers the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) for New York State retirees and some municipal retirees. If you are still working, your employer’s human resources (personnel) office should be able to answer your questions about post-retirement coverage.
Retirement Myth #4
I can take out a NYSLRS loan after I retire.
You need to actively work for New York State or a participating employer to borrow against your retirement contributions. NYSLRS loans are not available to retirees.
Retirement Myth #5
If I’m vested and no longer working for a public employer, NYSLRS will automatically start paying my pension as soon as I’m eligible.
Your pension is not automatic. You must apply for retirement 15 to 90 days before your retirement date. Your retirement date is up to you. Most NYSLRS members can begin collecting their pension as early as age 55. If you retire between age 55 and your full retirement age (62 of 63, depending on your tier and plan), you may face a permanent benefit reduction. If you have left public employment though, your benefit won’t increase after you reach full retirement age, so delaying retirement beyond that point can cost you money.
You can find more answers about your NYSLRS benefits in your retirement plan publication. If you have account-specific questions, please message our customer service representatives using our secure contact form.
I work full time for a county in NYS and I work part-time as an elected official in a village in NYS. Can I retire from my full-time county position and still work part-time as an elected offical?
If you continue to work in the same elected office to which you were elected or appointed before retiring, your earnings will be limited by Section 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law.
However, in order to retire, a member must have a bona fide termination and be removed from payroll before the effective date of retirement. This is required by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules and the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL). When you apply to retire, we will notify your employer that your last day on their payroll must be no later than the day before your date of retirement.
Whether a termination has occurred is based on whether facts indicate that the employer and employee reasonably anticipated that no further services would be performed after the retirement date. Where it is expected that the employee will return to employment after the date of retirement, or where a member is retained on the payroll and paid for services past the date of retirement, there is no termination and the service retirement will be voided. Any pension amounts paid in error due to the fact that a retirement was invalid will be recovered by the Retirement System.
For information about your situation, we recommend that you call our customer service representatives at 866-805-0990, press 2, then follow the prompts. You can also message them using the secure contact form on our website. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.
I worked full time at Island Trees School District and part time after school at Levittown school district Do I not get credit for the part time job?
NYSLRS members can only earn one year of service credit in a one-year period. If you already work full-time for a participating NYSLRS employer, you already receive full-time credit, so your part-time work will not increase your service credit beyond that.
I’m still trying to get my final pension adjustment too. I cannot even get an estimate as to when that will be done. I retired in June 2020!
Thank you for posting these facts to educate all of us who read them.
I am VERY thankful for the NYS pension I receive each month.
I also get great answers when I call the NYS pension staffers at 1-866-805-0990 with a question.
Thank you for your kind words. They are greatly appreciated.
i’m still trying to find out if i got my fina adjustment. i retired back in august 2021.
To find out whether your pension benefit is being adjusted, please message our customer service representatives using our secure contact form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.
Good luck getting a definitive answer… I retired April 2020…no news yet
Virtually all initial pension payments are made timely by the end of the month following retirement. These payments are closer than ever to a retiree’s final calculation. NYSLRS often receives adjustments to earnings for retirees well after the date of retirement and is working hard to recalculate pension amounts and provide retroactive payments as quickly as possible. We apologize for the length of time this has taken for some retirees. Thank you for your patience.
Same here! I retired in June 20202!