May - June Issue
May 09, 2014

ERS: When is the time right to retire?

Source: NYSUT United

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoliChoosing to retire is a big decision — and only you can decide when the time is right. Though your choice is a personal one, many important factors should be considered. Two of them are your age at retirement and the date you choose to retire.

Q: How does my age impact the calculation of my retirement benefit?

A: If you retire before you reach the full retirement age specified by your plan, you will receive a reduced benefit. To retire without a reduction:

  • Tier 2, 3 and 4 members must be age 62 or older, or retire between ages 55 and 62 with 30 years of service credit.
  • Tier 5 members must be age 62 or older.
  • Tier 6 members must be age 63 or older.
  • Tier 1 members must be age 55 or older to retire. There is no reduction for retiring at 55.

Benefit reductions are prorated by month. The closer you are to your full retirement age at retirement, the less the reduction will be. Please note, once you retire with a reduced benefit, the reduction is permanent.

Benefit reduction percentages for each tier of membership are provided on our website, at

Q: How does my retirement date affect the payment of my benefits?

A: Generally, 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.

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. For example, 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: Where can I get more information about my benefits before making this decision?

A: Carefully read your retirement plan booklet. Plan booklets, along with forms and a wide range of information about retirement benefits for all tiers, are available on our website at You may also write to us at NYSLRS, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12244-0001, or email us at Feel free to contact our Call Center toll free at 866-805-0990 or 518-474-7736 in the Albany 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

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