January 2017 Issue
February 01, 2017

TRS: Winterize your retirement

Source: NYSUT United

Teacher-members on the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of DirectorsQ: The end of the 2016–17 school year marks the start of my retirement. What should I be doing now to prepare?

A: Congratulations on your impending retirement. To ensure soon-to-be retirees have the information they need, the New York State Teachers' Retirement System publishes a useful chart outlining quarterly steps for your final year. Here's what you should do now:

  • If you're eligible to receive Social Security benefits at the end of the school year, contact the Social Security Administration for information.
  • Monitor pending New York State legislation — new laws, such as statewide retirement incentives, could affect your NYSTRS benefits.
  • If you can't attend a benefits consultation, use the online MyNYSTRS pension estimator to project your benefit, www.nystrs.org.
  • Explore the retirees' page at www.nystrs.org/retirees.
  • Watch "Retirement Countdown" and "Your NYSTRS Benefit Payment: Making the Choice That's Right for You," www.nystrs.org/Library/Videos/Member-Information.

Q: I'm a public school special education teacher. I've been told there's no way for me to buy back retirement credit for the years I worked at a private school in New York State. I can't believe there isn't some way I can get credit for those years. Many of my colleagues have been able to buy back time for military service and from non-teaching county and state jobs. Please consider allowing those of us who worked in private schools to buy back our time.

A: While it may seem unfair, currently there is no way to buy back credit for private school teaching. And while NYSUT has lobbied hard for a bill that would allow pension credit for private school service, the state Legislature has yet to take action. Unfortunately, neither NYSUT nor the New York State Teachers' Retirement System has control over this, only state lawmakers do. We encourage you to call, email or write your state representatives and urge them to pass this important legislation.

Did you know

A constitutional convention vote takes place Nov. 7 in New York State. Vote "no" to protect your retirement security!