Dec - Jan Issue
November 25, 2014

ERS: Choosing the right retirement option

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

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoliWhen you retire, one very important decision you'll need to make is to determine how you want your retirement benefit paid. To do so, you must submit a completed Option Election Form to the retirement system.

If you received an estimate or a benefit projection of your retirement benefits under each of the available options within 18 months of your retirement date, we'll include the form with our letter acknowledging receipt of your retirement application. If you haven't received an estimate or a benefit projection recently, after you submit your retirement application, we'll mail one to you and we'll include an Option Election Form.

A number of options are available to you. For example, you may elect the Single Life Allowance, which provides the maximum monthly amount payable to you, but pays nothing to a beneficiary upon your death. Or, you may choose from a variety of other available options and receive a smaller monthly benefit in order to provide for a possible payment to a designated beneficiary after your death. Certain options allow you to designate multiple individuals and/or organizations. Regardless of which option you select, your benefit will be paid to you for your lifetime.

Before making your decision, however, review your estimate carefully. Compare the estimate figures against your financial requirements in retirement (and that of your beneficiary in the event of your death). Be sure to consider other income from savings, investments, Social Security, etc., as well as your anticipated monthly expenses. Consider consulting your financial adviser if you need help with your decision. Reviewing your financial situation first will help you select the option that is best for you.

Once you've made your decision, file your Option Election Form with the retirement system by the last day of the month in which you retire, unless you are otherwise notified, as in the case of disability retirement. You have up to 30 days after your retirement benefit is payable (the first of the month following your retirement date) to change your option election.

More information about your retirement plan, available options and the retirement process is available on our website. Please be aware that we can't advise you on which option to choose; however, we will respond to your questions. Taking time to choose the best option for you can help you enjoy your retirement to the fullest.

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

For immediate assistance, contact the ERS Call Center toll-free at 866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 in the Capital District area.