Certain Payment Options Provide a Lifetime Benefit for a Loved One

When you apply for a NYSLRS pension, you’ll be asked to pick a pension payment option. All payment options will provide you with a monthly benefit for the rest of your life. With the Single Life Allowance, all payments stop at your death and nothing is paid to a beneficiary.

Infographic describing pension payment options

Providing for a Beneficiary

If you’re married and need to provide for your spouse, or if you have someone else you would like to provide a lifetime pension for after you’re gone, there are payment options that let you do that. In exchange for a reduction in your monthly payment, Joint Allowance options allow a beneficiary to collect all or part of your pension after you die. The amount of the reduction in your pension is based on your life expectancy and the life expectancy of your beneficiary. That means the younger your beneficiary, the deeper the reduction.

You can only choose one beneficiary under a Joint Allowance option, and your beneficiary selection cannot be changed after you retire, regardless of the circumstances. The benefit reduction for Joint Allowance options will continue even if your beneficiary dies before you do.

Pop-Up Payment Options

If we could predict the future, pension choices would be a lot easier. But a Pop-Up payment option is one way to hedge your bets about the future. Like Joint Allowance options, these plans allow you to provide a lifetime payment for a beneficiary after your death. But if your beneficiary dies before you, your future monthly payments would be increased to the amount you would have been receiving had you chosen the Single Life Allowance. (The pop-up only affects future payments. You would not be entitled to any retroactive payments.)

The monthly reduction in your benefit will be greater if you choose a Pop-Up option over a regular Joint Allowance.

Consider Your Decision Carefully

There are a number of factors that might influence your payment option choice. Your age and overall health, the age and health of your spouse, and your loved one’s access to other financial resources should all be considered.

If you choose one of the retirement options above, you only have 30 days after the end of your retirement month to change your option. After that date, you cannot change the option or beneficiary designation for any reason.

Other Death Benefits

Most NYSLRS retirees are eligible for a post-retirement death benefit if they retire directly from payroll or within one year of leaving covered employment. Eligibility depends on your retirement plan and tier. If you are eligible, your beneficiary will receive a one-time, lump sum payment. The amount of the post-retirement benefit is a percentage of the benefit available during your working years. For information about this and other potential death benefits, please visit our Death Benefits for Retirees page.

Find Out More

There are also options that allow you to leave a monthly payment to more than one beneficiary, and options that leave a benefit for a certain amount of time. Visit our Payment Option Descriptions page for details about all of the available payment options.

Most members can use Retirement Online to create a pension estimate based on the salary and service information we have on file for them. Go to the My Account Summary section of your Retirement Online Account Homepage and click the Estimate my Pension Benefit button.

10 thoughts on “Certain Payment Options Provide a Lifetime Benefit for a Loved One

    1. NYSLRS

      A retirement option becomes irrevocable 30 days after the date the retirement benefit is payable. For options that provide a lifetime payment to a beneficiary (the Joint Allowance options), the beneficiary designation is also irrevocable after the 30-day period, even if the beneficiary remarries.

      If you have account-specific questions, please email our Matrimonial Bureau.


    How much does age affect your pension options? If I’m eligible to retire at 50 yo (and my spouse is 50), is a higher percentage taken out of my monthly payment than if we were 55 yo?

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Depending on your retirement plan, most members can’t retire and collect a pension earlier than age 55.

      Most Tier 2-6 members can now use Retirement Online to create a NYSLRS pension estimate based on the salary and service information we have on file for you. You can enter different retirement dates to see how your choices affect your potential benefit.

      If you are unable to use the online calculator or if you have account-specific questions, you can email our customer service representatives using our secure contact form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com) to request an estimate. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you are not yet retired, most NYSLRS members are allowed to take a loan from NYSLRS. Visit our Loans page for more information.

      If you are talking about taking a lump sum payment at retirement, certain members are allowed to receive a partial lump sum (PLS) payment at retirement in exchange for a reduced monthly benefit.

      If you are a Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) member covered by a plan that allows for retirement after 20 or 25 years of service regardless of age, you may be eligible for a PLS. Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members must be employed as a sheriff, undersheriff, deputy sheriff or county correction officer and work for an employer that has chosen the PLS option.

      You can find more information about the Partial Lump Sum (PLS) Payment option on our website.

  2. Fritz Laguerre

    if I have the single allowance before 10years and I get married can I add my wife ,aso if I have kids coming

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Unfortunately, once you choose a retirement option, you have only 30 days after the end of your retirement month to change your option.


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