November 2013
October 25, 2013

TRS: When should I retire?

Source: NYSUT United

Check the numbers before setting date

Paul Farfaglia, Tim Southerton, Karen Magee and David Keefe.Q: I am a Tier 4 member and won't reach 30 years of service before age 62. I will turn 62 on Aug. 15 of the following year. I would like to retire as soon as I can. Should I wait and make my effective retirement date Aug. 15 or July 1?

A: We strongly encourage you to contact the retirement system and ask for retirement estimates for both July 1 and Aug. 15. You need to look at the numbers before making a final decision. There would still be a reduction for retiring before age 62, but the impact might not be significant. By waiting until age 62, you would avoid a reduction, but miss pension benefits for July and part of August. Looking at the numbers is the only way to make the best decision.

Q: I have been the retirement delegate for my district for the last several years and have regularly attended the annual Delegates Meeting of the state Teachers' Retirement System. I recently found out that my district was supposed to hold an election this year and failed to do so. How can I fix this so I am able to attend the meeting of the delegates?

A: Unfortunately, the regular elections of a delegate/alternate must be held between March 1 and June 1 of odd-numbered years. The results must be submitted to NYSTRS by July 1. For the 2013 annual Delegates Meeting Nov. 3-4, you will not be able to attend as a delegate. You can, however, attend all of the meetings as a guest. The only restriction would be that you would not be able to vote if an election was required at the Monday business meeting of the delegates.

To allow your district to have delegate representation in 2014, and put you back on the odd-year election cycle, your district could hold a special election in the upcoming even-numbered year — but only if there is an opening for both a delegate and an alternate position on a ticket. Special elections must be held between March 1 and Oct. 1, and results must be submitted by Oct. 6; this would also allow you to hold a special election in spring 2015. For more information, check the retirement system website at www.nystrs.org and click on the "delegates" tab.

DID YOU KNOW

Retiring from your employer and filing for a New York State Teachers' Retirement System retirement benefit are two separate and distinct actions. You will not receive a retirement benefit until you file an Application for Retirement (RET-54) with NYSTRS.