May 2017 Issue
April 27, 2017

TRS: When early retirement is an option

Source: NYSUT United
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Teacher-members on the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Directors.Q: 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 retire and wait to collect. However, because you'll lose a year of service credit and possibly lower your Final Average Salary, your pension will be less than if you had waited an additional year. Also, a word of caution — if you work elsewhere after your last day of district employment and your first day of retirement, you could jeopardize your beneficiaries' eligibility for your paragraph two death benefit. Since retiring before you officially turn 55 could have serious ramifications, you should schedule a New York State Teachers' Retirement System consultation before making a final decision, 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. We're 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, 800-348-7298, ext. 6010.

NYSUT TRS consultants

TRS members with questions may call your teacher-members on the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Directors:
David Keefe • 516-741-1241 (Retiree Representative)
Tim Southerton • 631-273-8822
Paul Farfaglia • 315-431-4040
Jolene DiBrango trs-q&

Did you know

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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