Monthly Archives: March 2018

Computer System Maintenance Scheduled for Spring

Computer system upgrades are coming

This spring, NYSLRS will be conducting a series of computer system upgrades to improve services to our customers.

Monthly pension payments will not be affected. We will continue to accept mailed forms during the upgrade and requests for income verification letters will still be processed promptly.

If you have a Retirement Online account, you will not be able to sign in during the upgrade period. Although you will not be able to take out a loan or update your contact information or beneficiaries via Retirement Online, you can conduct business with NYSLRS by email, mail, and phone.

The last day to submit loan applications using Retirement Online is April 6, 2018. We will resume accepting online applications for loans after the upgrade is complete. If you need to apply for a loan during the maintenance period, you can do so by completing this paper form and mailing it to our office.

Beneficiary designation changes and contact information updates will not be available in Retirement Online during the system upgrade. If you need to update your beneficiaries during the maintenance period, you can complete this paper form and mail it to us by certified mail, return-receipt requested.

For the latest on the upgrade, please visit our Contact Us page. If you have any questions, you can contact our Call Center at 1-866-805-0990 (518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area) or email them at

Divorce and Your Other Benefits

We’ve written here before about how divorce affects your NYSLRS pension, what a DRO is and why it’s required. However, NYSLRS members have other benefits besides their pensions. Divorce and DROs may affect some of them as well.

Ordinary Death Benefit

As with your pension, a DRO may direct you to designate your ex-spouse as a beneficiary for some portion of your ordinary death benefit. You should file the DRO with NYSLRS as soon as it’s officially accepted by the court.  We will prepare a custom beneficiary form that complies with the DRO.  Also be sure to choose additional beneficiaries for any remainder of the benefit and submit your changes to NYSLRS.

Post-Retirement Ordinary Death Benefit

Most Tier 2, 3, 4 or 5 members of the Employees Retirement System (ERS) are covered by a post-retirement ordinary death benefit. A DRO may direct you to designate your ex-spouse as a beneficiary for some portion of the benefit. Similarly, you should file the DRO with NYSLRS as soon as it’s officially accepted by the court, and be sure to contact us to choose additional beneficiaries as allowed by the DRO.


NYSLRS members who meet eligibility requirements can borrow a certain percentage of their contribution balance. DROs may be written to prohibit members from taking future loans.

Outstanding loan balances at retirement permanently reduce retirees’ pension benefits. As a result, unless a DRO specifically provides that the ex-spouse’s share of the pension be calculated without reference to outstanding loans, the ex-spouse’s portion will also be reduced if a NYSLRS loan is not paid off before retirement.


Occasionally, NYSLRS may refund a member’s contributions because of a tier reinstatement, membership withdrawal, membership transfer or excess contributions. If the member is divorced and NYSLRS has a DRO on file, the DRO will determine whether a portion of the refund must go to the ex-spouse. Generally, if the DRO doesn’t mention a contributions refund, the member receives the full amount.

NOTE: A divorce, annulment or judicial separation revokes a member’s prior designation of a former spouse as beneficiary of certain death benefits and retirement options, except as provided by the express terms of the judgment or decree, or a DRO. So, if you have gone through a divorce, annulment or judicial separation and you do NOT have a DRO, and you wish to retain your former spouse as a beneficiary, you must resubmit your beneficiary designation to NYSLRS. The easiest way to do this is by using Retirement Online, our secure, self-service web application. You can also submit a Designation of Beneficiary form.