Planning Around Your Retirement Date

Retirement is a big decision, and one important factor to plan for is the day you choose to retire. When you’re eligible and ready to retire, you can select any day as your retirement date. You can even choose a weekend or a holiday. Generally, your retirement date is the first day you don’t work. It could also be the first day you don’t get paid by your employer (for example, if you use accruals before your retirement date).

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing your retirement date is when you’ll receive your first benefit payment. Once we receive your retirement application, we begin the process of gathering service and salary information from your employer to come up with your final benefit amount. Most retirees are eligible to receive partial monthly pension payments while we work on calculating their final benefits.

Planning for your Retirement Date

Partial Payments

We base your partial payments on your most recent NYSLRS retirement estimate. These monthly payments provide 90 to 95 percent of what your final pension benefit amount is estimated to be. You’ll continue to receive partial payments until we finalize your benefit. Partial payments are mailed to the address we have on file for you.

This is where your retirement date comes in. The month you retire determines when partial payments will start, not the day. If you retire in March and are eligible to receive partial payments, your first partial payment would be mailed on the first business day of May. It doesn’t matter if your retirement date is March 1 or March 31: your payment will go out on the first business day of May. You can enroll in our Direct Deposit Program at the same time you file for retirement. As soon as we are able to, your payments will be directly deposited into your account.

Keep this in mind before you settle on a date. You may need to set some money aside, as it could be five to eight weeks before your first partial payment arrives. Many retirees retire on the last day of a pay period (so final payment information is available from their employer sooner) toward the end of the month to minimize the number of weeks before they receive their first partial payment.

Filing for Retirement

Once you have a day in mind, when should you apply for retirement? You must file your retirement application with us 15 to 90 days before your retirement date. If you’re over age 70 at retirement, or if you are no longer actively employed by a public employer, you don’t have to wait the 15 days. The application is also available from your employer or can be found on our website by clicking the link above.

Would you like to read more about applying for retirement and what comes after? Read the Applying for Your Service Retirement Benefit and After You Retire sections in these publications:

You may also want to visit one of our consultation sites.

11 thoughts on “Planning Around Your Retirement Date

    1. NYSLRS

      NYSLRS does not require you to work on the day before your retirement date. You may wish to check with your employer to see if they have specific requirements.

      To find out how your choice of retirement date may affect your retirement benefit, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts. You can also email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      You may also be interested in our publication How Do I Prepare to Retire? This booklet describes some of the resources available to you as you plan for retirement, presents factors to consider as you plan, and takes you step by step through the retirement process.

  1. Susan A Duncan

    My mother passed away on October 8th. I mailed the death certificate to you the following week. I’ve had no response from email or mail and can’t seem to get a human by phone call. She received her monthly benefit on the 31st. Am I to understand that her estate may need to repay monies from her October benefit? Or is her estate entitled to the monthly payment from October? Thank you.

    1. NYSLRS

      We’re sorry for your loss and we apologize for trouble you’re having reaching us. Your message is important to us and we have sent you an email in response.

    2. NYSLRS

      We’ve been informed that one of our customer service representatives contacted you. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

  2. Thomas F Hickey

    I understand that if I retire any time in July, my first partial payment check will be mailed at the end of August. My question is: will the amount of my first check be the same regardless of when in July I retire? Or, if I retire early in the month, will my first check be bigger? In other words, if I retire on July 1, will my first payment be bigger (to account for the month of July) than if I retired on July 31? Thanks.

    1. NYSLRS

      Your first pension check will cover the period from your date of retirement through the end of the current month. For example, if your retirement date was July 1, the first payment would include July and all of August.

      Keep in mind that your pension is based on your final average salary and years of service. If you postpone your retirement till later the month, you would earn additional service credit, which would result in a slight increase in your monthly benefit amount.

      Most Tier 1-4 members can get an estimate of their benefit at different retirement dates by using our Benefit Projector Calculator.

  3. rosemaryknowlton

    Can you please tell me if I would be eligible to draw on my ex-spouse’s social security? We were married for over 27 years and divorced in 2000. I turned 60 in May of 2014 and remarried December 2014. Thank you.

      1. rosemaryknowlton

        Thank you. That was a rather crass sentence. There are more intelligent ways of explaining than your curt explanation. Please see a copy of what the SSA sent me and you have a good day, “sir”.

        Benefits usually cannot be paid to a remarried divorced spouse on the former spouse’s record unless the latter marriage ends (whether by death, divorce, or annulment). On the other hand, benefits can be paid to a remarried divorced widow or widower if:

        – He/she remarries at age 60 or later; or

        – He/she remarries at age 50 and after becoming disabled. (If he or she is already entitled to disabled widow’s or widower’s benefits and remarries, benefits can continue regardless of age.)

        I don’t you are on the same page.


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