Q: Does the New York State Teachers' Retirement System have unclaimed member funds?
A: Yes. Funds typically become unclaimed or abandoned when memberships expire due to insufficient service — remember, most members must have a minimum of five service years to vest with a New York state public retirement system. And to keep memberships active, members with fewer than five service years must work the equivalent of 20 or more full-time, system-reportable days in a school year at least once every seven years.
When memberships cease, NYSTRS makes every effort to contact former members and let them know their contributions are refundable. However, in many cases, TRS doesn't have a current address on file and can't get a new one. In those instances, funds are transferred to unclaimed accounts and held there, earning no interest, for 18 months. After 18 months, they are transferred to abandoned accounts. Whether unclaimed or abandoned, funds are claimable at any time by the former member, or his or her beneficiary or estate.
Q: How do I find out if I have unclaimed NYSTRS funds? How do I claim them?
A: Visit the NYSTRS website at www.nystrs.org and select the unclaimed funds tab at the bottom of the home page. The tab will direct you to two lists: unclaimed accounts and abandoned accounts. Both lists are alphabetical by last name and display the listed member's last known teaching location or place of death. The abandoned accounts list, which contains significantly more entries, is also searchable by last name or last known teaching location or place of death.
If you have unclaimed funds, first call NYSTRS at 800-348-7298, ext. 6250, to discuss disbursement options; and then complete and submit a withdrawal application (REF-7A).
DID YOU KNOW
The New York State Teachers' Retirement System's unclaimed funds account lists nearly 1,500 names. Its abandoned account includes more than 7,400!