April Issue
April 02, 2014

ERS: Preparing for retirement

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

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoliThere are many things to consider when you're getting ready to retire. Between learning about your benefits and doing financial planning, you'll definitely need to spend some time preparing before ultimately submitting your retirement application.

One way to help make the retirement process as smooth as possible is to make sure your records are in order. Does the Employees' Retirement System have proof of your birth date? You'll need to submit proof of your birth date before you retire, because we cannot pay any pension benefits without it. Commonly, we will accept a New York state driver's license, non-driver ID or learner permit issued after 2004 as proof. If you cannot provide a copy of this document, we also accept the following:

  • Birth certificate
  • Baptismal certificate
  • Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214)
  • Passport
  • Enhanced driver's license
  • Naturalization papers

You are not required to send original documents; photocopies are acceptable. However, if you do send original documents, they will be mailed back to you. Please include your registration number with your document. (ERS members are assigned a unique registration number. That number, rather than a Social Security number, should be used when contacting the system.)

If you are divorced, we need a copy of your Domestic Relations Order (DRO). Divorce can affect your retirement benefits, because benefits are considered marital property and can be divided between you and your ex-spouse. A DRO is a legal document that gives us instruction on how your benefits should be divided. Once the court has approved a DRO, or an amendment to a DRO, please send us a certified copy as soon as possible.

Once your records are up to date, and you meet eligibility requirements, you can file your Application for Service Retirement (RS6037). The form is available on our website at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/forms/rs6037.pdf, but you can also get an application from your employer, one of our consultation sites or our Call Center.

Q: Where do I send my proof of birth date?

A: Send your document proving your date of birth to: New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System, 110 State St., Albany, NY, 12244-0001.

Q: How can I learn more about DROs?

A: Please read our Guide to Domestic Relations Orders, available online at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/members/divorce/dro_guide/index.php. The guide provides basic information about how the retirement system administers a DRO and more.

Q: Where can I find information about preparing for retirement?

A: Our "Pre-Retirement Checklist," available online at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/planning/pre-retirement_checklist.php, offers a useful timeline of what to plan for and what you need to submit before sending in your retirement application.

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.