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.
Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s efforts to prevent and stop pension fraud help protect the integrity of NYSLRS and the retirement security of its members and beneficiaries.
The Comptroller’s Office works with law enforcement and local prosecutors to help root out pension fraud. Over the last several years, these investigations have led to dozens of arrests and the recovery of millions of dollars.
Recent Pension Fraud Cases
A Dutchess County woman failed to notify
NYSLRS about her mother’s death and continued to collect her mother’s pension checks. She collected nearly $42,000 before she was
caught, and pleaded guilty to petit larceny in July 2019. She was sentenced to
three years’ probation and has agreed to pay full restitution.
A Westchester County woman kept her deceased mother’s deposited pension
checks and spent the money on personal
expenses, including cellphone and utility bills. The amount she stole from the
retirement system totaled $60,288. She pleaded guilty to a felony grand larceny
charge and was sentenced to five years’ probation. She also paid back $22,000,
part of her requirement to make full restitution.
Comptroller DiNapoli is also committed to fighting public corruption in state and local government. He partners
with law enforcement to bring corrupt officials to justice and recoup stolen
Since he took office in 2007, DiNapoli’s anti-corruption
initiatives have resulted in more than 200 arrests and the recovery of $60
million in taxpayer money.
How You Can Help
The Comptroller encourages the public to report allegations of wrongdoing by:
Calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555;
As an Employees’ Retirement
System (ERS) Tier 6 member, your years of service are critical to your
benefits. As time goes by, and you earn service credit, you’ll reach a number
of career milestones. These milestones are points where you become eligible for
certain benefits or your existing benefits improve. Understanding these milestones
will help you better plan your career and retirement.
In ERS Tier 6, you reach your first milestone on your first day of membership. This milestone covers you for certain job-related death and disability benefits. (You can learn more about them in your Tier 6 retirement plan booklet.)
10 & 20 Years Make a Big Difference
For all NYSLRS members, there is one critical milestone: becoming vested. Being vested means that you have earned the right to a pension, even if you leave public employment before retirement age. ERS Tier 6 members become vested after they earn 10 years of service credit.
For most ERS Tier 6 members, another big milestone is the 20-year mark, when your retirement benefit improves significantly. If you retire with less than 20 years of service, you earn 1.66 percent of your final average salary (FAS) for each year of service. At 20 years, you receive 35% of your FAS. After 20 years, you’ll earn an additional 2 percent of your FAS for each year of service beyond 20.
ERS Tier 6 Special Plans
For ERS Tier 6 members in special plans, such as corrections officers, many of the milestones are the same. For example, you will become vested with 10 years of service credit.
But there are also major differences. Most importantly, correction officers in the special 25-year plan can retire after 25 years regardless of age. You can find more information in your retirement plan booklet.
When was the last time you updated your contact information with NYSLRS? If you don’t remember updating it recently, make sure we have the correct ways to contact you. (Even if you updated your contact information with your employer, that doesn’t update it with NYSLRS.) We want to make sure you continue to receive important information about your NYSLRS benefits.
Please share this post with friends, family or coworkers who
are NYSLRS members so they can also check their contact information.
Use Retirement Online to Change Your Contact Information
The fastest way to check and change your contact information
is through Retirement Online. When you sign in to your Retirement
Online account, click on ‘Update’ next to your home address or email
If you don’t have a Retirement Online account, it’s easy to create one. Visit our Retirement Online for Members page and click ‘Register Now’ under the Sign In button. When you create your account, you’ll be asked to provide the ZIP code of your home address. If it doesn’t recognize your current ZIP code, it’s likely we have an older address on file for you. Please use the older ZIP code to create your account — you can update your address afterward.
Mail or Email? Pick Your Delivery Preference
You can receive correspondence from us by mail or email by selecting your delivery preference in Retirement Online. If you choose ‘Email,’ you’ll receive an email notifying you to log in to Retirement Online to read new correspondence that we sent you. If you choose ‘Mail’ or don’t select a preference, we’ll continue to send you letters through the US Postal Service. Email is the fastest way to receive an update from NYSLRS.
NOTE: For security purposes, certain correspondence (like
tax forms) will only be sent by mail.
To update your preference, go to the ‘My Profile
Information’ area of your Retirement Online Account Homepage and click
‘Update’ next to ‘Contact by.’
And starting this year, you can choose to receive your
Member Annual Statement (MAS) through Retirement Online. If you choose this
option, you’ll receive an email that directs you to Retirement Online to
see your 2020 MAS when it’s ready. To choose your MAS delivery preference, go
to the ‘My Profile Information’ area of your Retirement Online Account
Homepage and click ‘Update’ next to ‘Member Annual Statement by.’
Coming Soon: A New Look for Your MAS
Your MAS provides your retirement account information as of March 31, 2020, the end of the State fiscal year. The new, streamlined look provides valuable information about your NYSLRS benefits and membership in a clear, comprehensive and easy-to-read format. Your statement includes your retirement plan, total service credit and contributions, the beneficiaries for your death benefit, a projection of your pension benefit and more. You can also save and print it for your records.
The MAS is an important tool to help you plan for retirement. Be sure to choose your MAS delivery preference and update your contact information so you can receive it this year. In addition, you can see your current benefit information every day by logging into Retirement Online.
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.