By now, most of you should have received your Member Annual Statement, which contains important information about all aspects of your Employees' Retirement System membership, including your reported salary, service credit and beneficiaries. Depending upon your own unique circumstances, your statement may also contain information about loan and contribution account balances and your projected annual benefits, among other things.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive about Member Annual Statements has to do with projected benefits. We get a variety of questions, but members almost always ask us why the projected benefit on their statement is different from the estimate they received at one of our consultation sites or a formal estimate they got in the mail.
It's a valid concern. The statement projection is an automated calculation that only uses information we have on file for you as of March 31, which is the end of our fiscal year. Representatives at our consultation sites may add information supplied by you to the calculation of the projection, such as sick leave accruals and lump sum payments. Since that information has not yet been verified with your employer, it is not included in your statement. They may also exclude some reported salary, pending employer verification, to avoid overstating a benefit.
In addition, the estimate you may have received in the mail after completing a Request for Estimate Form (www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/forms/rs6030.pdf) will not include lump sum payments, unused vacation or sick leave credit, but will project service credit and salary to your estimated date of retirement.
Here are a couple of questions we frequently receive about the statement:
Q: Can I see my Member Annual Statement online?
A: Much of the information you see on your printed statement is also available on our website with our Retirement Online service (www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/portal.php). However, at this time, an exact copy of your printed statement is not available on our site.
Q: How can I get answers to any other questions I have about my statement?
A: We created a special interactive, online presentation about the Member Annual Statement. It offers a page-by-page explanation of your statement, and also contains answers to additional frequently asked questions. You can view the entire presentation, or go directly to the information you need. To access the presentation, visit our website at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/members/mas_tutorial/index.htm.
Your statement is a valuable tool that can help you plan for your future, so you should verify that the information in it is accurate. You can contact us to correct most errors; however, if you have a question about your reported salary, you should contact your employer.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For immediate assistance, contact the ERS Call Center toll-free at 866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 in the Capital District area.