September/October 2013
September 16, 2013

ERS: Thinking about retiring? It's time to request a general estimate

Author: State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
Source: NYSUT United

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoliA general estimate provides the most accurate preview of your pension under the state Employees' Retirement System's various payment options. That could help determine whether you're financially ready to retire.

Some members don't request an estimate because they don't know their exact retirement date. Don't let that stop you. You're not obligated to retire on the date you choose for your estimate. In fact, you can request a new estimate if your situation changes.

If you're eligible to retire but not ready to do so, it's still a good idea to get an estimate. In preparing your estimate, we will examine your service credit, which can help identify service that hasn't been credited, and other related issues well before you retire. We will then have more time to update our records and, if necessary, for you to pay any required contributions. Also, the more we can get done in advance, the sooner we can finalize your pension and provide you with your full monthly benefit when you do retire.

Q: How do I request a general estimate?

A: Just send us a completed Request for Estimate form (RS6030), which is available on our website at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/forms/rs6030.pdf.

Q: When is the first time I may request a general estimate using your online request form?

A: The first time you can ask for an estimate is at 53½ years-old, i.e., when you are within 18 months of age 55 — your earliest possible date of retirement. Tier 6 members can ask for an estimate at 61½ years old — when they are within 18 months of their earliest possible date of retirement, i.e., age 63.

Q: How can I get information about my benefit if I'm not eligible for a general estimate?

A: Most Tier 2, 3 and 4 members with five or more years of service credit can contact our Call Center to receive a projection of their benefit. You can request a benefit projection at any age.

You can also use the benefit calculator on our website, at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/members/projecting-your-pension.php, to project what your approximate pension could be based on the retirement date you choose and the service and salary information you provide. The calculator — which is currently not available to Tier 5 or 6 members — also projects benefit amounts under the various payment options available to you at retirement.

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

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

Every month state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, sole trustee of the New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System, provides information on the system, which delivers retirement benefits to many NYSUT School-Related Professionals and other support staff. If you are an ERS member with a question of general interest, email united@nysutmail.org.

For immediate assistance, contact the ERS Call Center toll-free at 866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 in the Capital District area.