March 2013 Issue
February 28, 2013

Retiring? Check with ERS first

Source: NYSUT United

Choosing to retire is a big decision, but once it is made, the New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System makes the process easy.

It begins when you send us a completed, signed and notarized Application for Service Retirement, available on our website at

Then we'll notify your employer and send you a confirmation letter. We'll also include a W-4P form, so you can choose the amount you want withheld from your benefit each month for federal taxes.

If you had us estimate your retirement benefit within the last 18 months, we'll enclose a Retirement Option Election Form, so you can select how you want your monthly benefit to be paid; if not, we'll enclose the Retirement Option Election Form when we send you your estimate.

Requesting and reviewing an estimate helps you determine whether you're financially able to retire. In 2012, we received 19,508 service retirement applications from members, yet only 11,860 of them had requested estimates. That means 39.2 percent of our members filing for retirement failed to take advantage of this tool.

Getting an estimate is easy. Simply send us a completed Request for Estimate Form, available at We'll also send you a direct deposit enrollment form, so you can have your payment automatically deposited into your checking or savings account as soon as we finalize your benefit payment.

Q: Why should I use direct deposit to receive my pension payments?

A: Direct deposit is faster than the mail, helps prevent identity theft and limits any delay in receiving your payment in the event of a natural disaster.

Q: Is there a certain time of year that you recommend retiring?

A: Only you can decide when the time is right for you to retire. However, retiring near the end of a month will reduce the waiting period between your date of retirement and the date you receive your first pension benefit payment from us. It typically takes some time for us to complete the final calculation of your retirement benefit, but most members are eligible to receive advance checks — partial payments that are approximately 95 percent of what your monthly pension will be once your benefit is finalized.

Advance checks are mailed on the first business day of each month, beginning approximately 30-60 days after your date of retirement. The month you retire determines when advance payments will start. If a member retires in March and is eligible to receive advance payments, the first advance would be mailed on the first business day of May, regardless of whether the date of retirement is March 1 or March 31.

Q: How can I get more information?

A: Refer to our booklet, How Do I Prepare To Retire?, available on our website at