Filing for Retirement Benefits During the COVID-19 Emergency

The unfortunate reality of the COVID-19 emergency is that some NYSLRS members may become seriously ill and some may die from the disease. That is why it is vitally important that members understand how to apply for retirement benefits, if they need to take that step.

NYSLRS members who become seriously ill from COVID-19 may wish to file for a disability retirement benefit so their beneficiary may be eligible for a continuing pension, rather than a one-time in-service death benefit, if the member dies. 

These members, or their employer on their behalf, need to file the disability retirement application that is appropriate for them according to their retirement plan.

filing for disability retirement benefits during the COVID-19 emergency

Please visit our Disability Benefits page and select “Find Your Application” to help you find the right application. Additionally, the member,  or the member’s spouse, should file a pension payment option election form to identify a beneficiary to receive the continuing benefit. An option election form cannot be filed by the employer. A continuing benefit cannot be paid to a beneficiary unless we receive an option election form.

Applications and option election forms can be emailed directly to NYSLRS’ Disability Processing Unit. If the member dies after applying, the disability retirement application would be effective upon death. If the member recovers, he or she would be allowed to withdraw the disability retirement application. 

Eligible members may also file for a service retirement.  However, a service retirement cannot be canceled if your retirement date has passed. You can file a disability and a service retirement application at the same time. Service retirements can be filed electronically using Retirement Online.

Please call our Contact Center at 866-805-0990 if you have questions.

10 thoughts on “Filing for Retirement Benefits During the COVID-19 Emergency

  1. Jacqueline Lamar

    hello..so im about 30 and i have recieved my aunts death benefits for about 11 years now,can i sell a portion of my benefits or get any type of loan during these times???

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      A NYSLRS pension cannot be transferred or sold to another party, and NYSLRS does not lend money against future pension payments.

      Reply
  2. Isaac Steven Nelson

    Are Tax liabilities being withheld from Withdrawals? I have (2) other retirement account and because of Covid -19 – no Taxes was held from my distribution – Why is this not the case for this account

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you withdraw your NYSLRS membership and receive a refund of your contributions, and if the payment is reportable for federal income tax purposes, we are required to withhold 20 percent of the taxable amount.

      For account-specific questions, you can email our customer service representatives using secure email form on our website.

      Reply
  3. robert

    first thanks for all your hard work NYLRS is doing for its members. my question is I no from prior reports our pentions are secure. but if not only we fall into a recession, what if we fall into a deep depression, and the economy stays closed for a while, will our pentions still be secure for now and in the future, or do we have to worry about if the money will be there for retirement.
    thank you.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We hear your concerns and want to assure you that the New York State Common Retirement Fund is well-positioned to weather the ongoing volatility. Comptroller DiNapoli, who serves as the trustee of the pension fund and the administrator of NYSLRS, is committed to ensuring retirees will receive the NYSLRS pensions they’ve earned. It’s important to note that NYSLRS pension benefits are guaranteed by the NYS Constitution.

      Reply
      1. Anthony Zaccone

        Does that mean that we will be getting our full benefits or, if if the economy takes a bad turn, reduced benefits? Many municipalities throughout the country with distressed economies have resorted to this. Please advise.

        Reply
  4. Mark DiPirro

    Will the Covid 19 Crisis delay the calculations of my final retirement pension number. It’s been 16 months and I’m still waiting?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      To check on the status of your final determination, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. One of them will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply

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