Tag Archives: Retirement Myths

NYSLRS’ Top Five Retirement Myths from 2016

Retirement Myths vs FactsWith two retirement systems, six tiers and 346 retirement plan combinations, it’s quite possible that the NYSLRS benefit information your coworker is talking about may not apply to you. That’s why, periodically, we like to clear up some common misconceptions we hear from members and retirees. Here are our top five retirement myths from 2016.


Myth #1  “NYSLRS can change the rules determining pension contributions and retirement benefits.

Fact  We can’t. The contributions you make and the benefits you enjoy are dictated by law — as passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. NYSLRS administers these programs.

This is also true for retirement incentives; the decision to offer an incentive comes from the Legislature and the Governor. Individual employers, like your town or police department, may decide to offer their own incentives to employees, but these do not affect a member’s NYSLRS pension benefits.


Myth #2  “Your final average salary (FAS) is based on the years immediately preceding your retirement

Fact  While the number of years used to calculate your FAS varies by tier and plan, they aren’t limited to your final years of employment. We look at your entire employment history while you were a member of NYSLRS to find the consecutive years when you earned the most, and those years are used in the calculation for your FAS. For more information, visit our website.


Myth #3  “NYSLRS membership ends when you stop working for a NYSLRS participating employer.

Fact  Even when you leave public employment before you’re eligible to retire, you’re still a NYSLRS member. If you’re vested, you will be eligible for a pension benefit once you reach the retirement age specified by your plan. If you’re not vested, your contributions stay with NYSLRS and continue to earn 5 percent interest for seven years. If you leave public employment with less than 10 years of service, you can end your NYSLRS membership and request a refund of your retirement contributions.

What else happens when you leave public employment? Check out your plan publication to learn more about your benefits. You can also visit our website for more information.


Myth #4  “You can’t make extra payments to pay off a NYSLRS loan faster.

Fact  You can make additional payments or pay your loan in full at any time, with no prepayment penalties. For the payoff balance on your loan, call our automated phone service (1-866-805-0990 or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area and press 3 for members; then 1 or 2 for the Employees’ Retirement System or the Police and Fire Retirement System; and then 1 for loan services). For more information, visit Loans: Getting One and Paying it Back.


Myth #5  “If Call Center lines are busy, there’s no way to get benefit information.

Fact  Even when the Call Center phone lines are busy, our automated phone system can help members and retirees with a number of tasks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Press 3 for Member Services, which includes current loan balance and application status information.

Press 4 for Retiree/Beneficiary Services, which includes COLA eligibility and federal tax withholding information.

Press 6 for Other Services, which includes requesting forms by fax.

Another way to get benefit information is to visit the Contact Us page on our website, which has answers to many commonly asked questions. You can also email us using our secure email form.


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NYSLRS’ Top Five Retirement Myths from 2015

Retirement Myths vs FactsFrom the day you become a NYSLRS member to the day you retire, you’re exposed to all sorts of retirement information. Unfortunately, sometimes what you learn can get jumbled along the way. We want to help clear up some common misconceptions we’ve heard from members and retirees over the past year. Here are the top five retirement myths from 2015:


Myth #1 “I’ll receive the full amount of my monthly retirement benefit when my payments start.”

Fact For the first few months of retirement, most NYSLRS retirees will receive partial payments while we finish calculating their final benefit. (We need to collect information on final payments and pensionable leave credits from their employers, a process that can take some time.) The partial payments are based on their most recent NYSLRS retirement estimate and usually make up 90 – 95 percent of their final benefit. Partial payments are paid by check and mailed to the address we have on file for the retiree.


Myth #2 “Family members always receive death benefits.”

Fact With the exception of accidental death benefits, NYSLRS members may name any person, trust, or organization as their beneficiary to receive death benefits. It doesn’t have to be a family member. Accidental death benefit recipients are outlined in the law.


Myth #3 “I can’t collect my pension until I start receiving Social Security.”

Fact Members can apply for retirement as soon as they meet the eligibility requirements of their retirement plan.


Myth #4 “NYSLRS manages my retiree health insurance.”

Fact NYSLRS does not administer health insurance programs for its retirees. We deduct premiums from a retiree’s monthly retirement benefit to pay for their health insurance if we’re told to do so by their former employer.

(If you have questions about your health insurance coverage or premium deductions, please contact your former employer. If you retired from a New York State agency, you can contact the New York State Department of Civil Service.)


Myth #5 “NYSLRS decides when there’s a retirement incentive.”

Fact This isn’t the case. The New York State Legislature (not NYSLRS) enacts retirement incentive programs. Incentives are approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. NYSLRS administers programs that are signed into law.


Check out your plan publication to learn more about your benefits. You can also visit our website for more information.

The Top 5 Retirement Myths And Their Impact On Your Benefit

NYSLRS Members Would Be Wise to Avoid These Misconceptions

Retirement laws and procedures can be confusing. Sometimes even a small misunderstanding can have a big impact on your benefit. That’s why we feel it’s important to correct certain misconceptions that NYSLRS members have had over the years. The following are five of the most common myths:


Myth #1 My NYSLRS loan has gone into default and I have already paid taxes on it, so that means my loan has been satisfied and I no longer need to repay it.

Fact Not only does your loan still need to be repaid, but it continues to accrue interest. Since you cannot pay off your loan once you retire, an outstanding loan at retirement will permanently reduce your benefit. However, it does not prohibit you from filing for or receiving your pension.


Myth #2 I am required to contribute toward my pension. When I retire, my benefit will be based on what I have contributed to NYSLRS.

Fact Your member contributions are not a factor in the calculation of your pension. Your pension is based primarily on your service credit and the salary you earned when you were an active member. Other factors that may play a role in the calculation include your retirement plan and your age at retirement. In addition, if you have any outstanding loan balance when you retire, it will permanently reduce your retirement benefit.


Myth #3 I cannot collect my pension until I start receiving Social Security.

Fact You can collect your pension as soon as you meet the eligibility requirements of your retirement plan. Most members in regular retirement plans can retire as early as age 55. You should check the eligibility requirements for your tier when planning for your retirement.


Myth #4 If I am vested, off payroll and no longer working for a public employer, NYSLRS will automatically start paying me my pension as soon as I meet eligibility requirements.

Fact Since only you can decide when retirement is right for you, in order to begin collecting your pension benefits, you must file an Application for Service Retirement (RS6037).


Myth #5 I recently applied for retirement by giving my employer the paperwork.

Fact Giving your employer your retirement paperwork does not mean that you have filed for retirement and will receive your benefits. To apply for your NYSLRS benefits, you must file your retirement application form with the Office of the State Comptroller. For a form to be considered as “filed with the Comptroller,” it must be received by our Albany office, one of our consultation sites, or another office of the State Comptroller.


Have a concern that wasn’t covered? You can always email us from the Contact Us page of our website.