May 2015 Issue
April 29, 2015

TRS: When "retiring early" is an option

Source: NYSUT United
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Teacher-members on the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of DirectorsQ: I have a September birthday. Do I have to work until I'm 55, or can I simply leave at the end of the previous school year and begin collecting my pension after my birthday arrives in September?

A: Yes, you can resign from your employer and wait until you are eligible to retire to collect. However, keep in mind that working another year would provide you with one more year of service credit and a higher Final Average Salary. Also, a word of caution — if you work elsewhere after your last day of district employment and before your first day of retirement, you could jeopardize your beneficiaries' eligibility for your paragraph two death benefit. Since resigning from employment before you officially turn 55 could have serious ramifications, you should schedule a consulation with the New York State Teachers' Retirement System before making a final decision. Call 800-348-7298, ext. 6100.

Q: I've met with my NYSTRS representative, filled out my retirement application and I'm about to submit it to NYSTRS. Should I send it by certified mail or by regular post?

A: Congratulations on your upcoming, and well deserved, retirement. I'm glad you raised this question because it's an important one. Retirement applications should always be sent by certified or registered mail, and you should request a return receipt. Since retirement applications must be received by NYSTRS one to 90 days before your effective retirement date, having proof of the date it's received is important. And remember, if you are seriously ill or injured, you should file a disability retirement application as soon as possible. Contact your NYSTRS representative for information about filing for disability retirement at 800-348-7298, ext. 6010.


The New York State Teachers' Retirement System has thousands in unclaimed funds and abandoned accounts. To see if you're owed a refund, visit

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