February 2016 Issue
January 27, 2016

TRS: It's a new year — review your retirement options

Source: NYSUT United

New York State TRS teamQ: Since it's the start of a new year, I'm reviewing my retirement portfolio. What information should I check?

A: To start, make sure your beneficiary information is correct. Check names for misspellings or changes, update any new addresses and ensure your beneficiaries are listed in the proper order. And check your own name and address as well. Incorrect listings can cause unnecessary benefit delays.

If you haven't already, the new year is also a good time to set up a MyNYSTRS account by visiting www.nystrs.org. You'll then be able to quickly and easily access your retirement information.

Lastly, if you have any prior service credit, the start of the new year is a good time to claim it. Call 800-348- 7298, ext. 6030 for information.

Q: Speaking of beneficiaries, is it possible to name one person as your pension benefit recipient, and a second as your in-service death beneficiary?

A: Yes, it is. Your in-service death benefit is separate from your pension benefit. If you die before retiring, the New York State Teachers' Retirement System pays both an in-service death benefit, and the balance of your retirement contributions, to beneficiaries. Since the payments are separate, you can select different beneficiaries for each. When you retire, the in-service death benefit transitions to a post-retirement death benefit for Tiers 2 and above.

If you haven't already named a contingent beneficiary for your account, the new year is a good time to do so.

Having a contingent beneficiary adds an extra level of protection if your primary beneficiary dies. Without one, NYSTRS will pay any benefits directly to your estate.

Did you know

Your service credits accumulate as you work. As you hit certain milestones, you’ll be eligible for additional benefits.