May 2011
May 01, 2011

ERS: Email or online, keeping members informed

Author: Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
Source: NYSUT United

A well-rounded financial plan can make all the difference in your future. Since your retirement benefits are an integral part of that financial plan, it is especially important that you understand them.

The retirement system offers several ways you can keep informed about your benefits, but two that we especially recommend are E-News and Retirement Online.

Q: What is E-News?

A: E-News is our free, monthly electronic newsletter. Whatever retirement-related topics you are concerned about — beneficiaries, vesting, service credit, to name but a few — as an E-News subscriber you'll always be in the know. And if there's news or legislation that could affect you, it will be in E-News.

E-News is designed specifically with your needs in mind. Every edition contains two or three brief articles highlighting important topics. If you want more in-depth information on a particular topic, each article contains links to our website. Just go to www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/members and click on "Sign up for E-News emails." Once you sign up, we'll begin sending E-News directly to the email address you provide.

Q: What is Retirement Online?

A: Retirement Online is a secure area on our website where you can access your own personal retirement information. If you want to check your contribution balance, beneficiary designations, estimated service credit or other important retirement membership information, Retirement Online allows you to do just that.

Q: How do I enroll in Retirement Online?

A: To enroll, just go to our website at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire, click on Retirement Online and then click on "Enroll/Login." You will be asked to enter your email address, Social Security number and birth date, which we'll verify against our records, and then you'll be able to create your own user ID. Afterward, we'll mail a password to your home that you will use with the user ID the first time you log in.

Whether you just started your public service career or have been working for a number of years, our website is the perfect place to learn more about your benefits. You can:

  • Download forms and brochures and get information on topics that could affect your benefits.
  • Read about your retirement plan to gain a better understanding of the benefits available to you.
  • Read our newsletter, The Update. It contains current information about your plan and its benefits, as well as general information about retirement and retirement law.

In addition, if you are within five years of retirement eligibility, consider attending a pre-retirement presentation. At your employer's request, we'll come to your workplace and guide you through the retirement process, explaining the benefits you can expect and discussing post-retirement issues.

Q: How can I get help if I need it?

A: Please email us from our website (www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/contact_us) or contact our Call Center toll-free at 1-866-805-0990 or 518-474-7736 in the Capital District.