June 2013 Issue
May 23, 2013

Your ERS Pension How much is my pension benefit

Source: NYSUT United & NYS Office of the Comptroller

Every year at this time, the New York State & Local Employees' Retirement System (ERS) sends you a valuable retirement planning document - your Member Annual Statement. Your statement contains important information about your ERS membership, such as your projected benefit, your reported salary, service credit and beneficiaries. We mail statements to employers starting in mid-May; school districts receive theirs first, so they may be distributed to members before summer break.

Q: How can my Member Annual Statement help me plan for retirement?

A: You can make sure your beneficiaries are current and verify that the important membership information used in your benefit calculation, such as date of membership, date of first credited service and salary, is correct. You can also learn about your specific retirement plan's important milestones. For instance, once you retire and begin to collect monthly benefits, you become eligible for annual Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) increases, which begin no earlier than five years after your retirement.

In most cases, your statement also includes projected retirement benefits. Since ERS staff can't review all statement projections for accuracy, they are not a guarantee. However, they are a useful retirement planning tool, helping you estimate what your pension income will be.

Q: Why is the projected benefit on my Member Annual Statement different from the projection I received at a consultation site?

A: The statement projection is an automated calculation that uses only information we have on file as of March 31 - the end of our fiscal year. Information representatives at our consultation sites will project service credit to your anticipated date of retirement. They might also add data that has not yet been verified with your employer, such as sick leave accruals and lump sum payments, to the calculation of your projection.

Q: Is my statement available online?

A: At this time an exact copy of your printed statement is not available on our website; however, much of the information you see on your printed statement is available on our website through our Retirement Online service. Retirement Online provides the most recent membership information we have for you, unlike your statement, which provides information as of the end of the fiscal year. You can learn more about Retirement Online at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/portal.htm.

Q: What if I have other questions about my statement?

A: We've created a special interactive, online presentation about the Member Annual Statement. It offers a page-by-page explanation of your statement, and contains answers to frequently asked questions. You can view the entire presentation, or go directly to the information you need. Find it on our website at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/members/mas_tutorial.

You can also 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.