May 2011 Issue
May 01, 2011

TRS: Any talk about a retirement incentive?

Source: NYSUT United

Q: With the large number of school districts planning layoffs, is there any talk about a retirement incentive like last year?

A: So far, there is no early retirement incentive included in state budget proposals.

NYSUT is urging the state Legislature to carefully consider implementing a 55/25 early retirement incentive. (See letter at Last year’s incentive saved a large number of jobs by allowing longtime public servants at the top of the salary scale an opportunity to retire without incurring a retirement penalty. These incentives come at very little costs to the retirement system or employers and provide districts with a tool to reduce or avoid layoffs and keep important educational programs in place.

Q: I have been an adjunct professor at a community college for the past four years and in December 2009 enrolled in the pension plan under Tier 4. I have been informed I may purchase my prior years of service after being in the pension plan for two years. Upon purchasing my prior service, I will have six years in the plan. It is my understanding in order to purchase my three years of military service I need to be in the plan for five years. Will I meet this requirement after I purchase my prior service? Will I need to wait an additional three years to purchase my military service?

A: Good news: Once your prior service request is verified (after you file a claim), and you pay for that service, you will be eligible to claim your military service as well.

Q: I was a leave replacement for three months at a Long Island school. After that assignment was over, I started to raise my family and returned to teaching many years later. I have been unsuccessful in retrieving any documentation related to the leave replacement service that I believe would change my tier level. I was told there was a fire and all records were destroyed.

A: If you were a member of the TRS, there would be a record of that at the system. If you were not a member, even if you were able to verify the service, you would only receive the time for service credit. There is no tier change involved in prior service credit.