Ready to Retire

Benefits Consultations
If you’re getting ready to retire, this is your one-stop shop for all items related to the NYSTRS retirement process.
Contact Us

(800) 348-7298, Ext. 6250

This is a big life event, so do the homework necessary to make informed decisions about your retirement.

Review these publications, web pages and videos early in the process.

Use the MyNYSTRS Pension Estimator to calculate estimates under various scenarios. The online estimator uses your most-recent earnings and service credit information to estimate your pension using various dates of retirement and earnings projections. Login to MyNYSTRS and visit the My Retirement > Pension Estimate page.

NYSTRS' Pension & Retirement Education Program (PREP) seminar is designed to help members prepare for retirement. In-person PREP seminars are on hold for now due to social distancing but you can visit the PREP page of our website to watch videos of each seminar module. The videos are accompanied by our PREP workbook to ensure you receive all the information you would have if you attended in-person.

A Benefits Consultation is an opportunity to meet with a NYSTRS representative, over the phone or via video, to discuss your benefits and other important considerations, and review personalized benefit estimates. You can book a consultation via MyNYSTRS or call (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6100.

Selecting the benefit payment best for you is the most important decision you will make during the retirement process. By law, you have only 30 days from your date of retirement to change the payment type you selected – even if your circumstances change. After the 30-day deadline, your benefit payment selection is irrevocable.

Review our brochure Maximum or an Option: Choosing a Benefit Payment Right for You and watch our two-part video “Your NYSTRS Benefit Payment – Making the Choice That’s Right for You” for details on the choices available. Use the MyNYSTRS Pension Estimator to get a rough idea of your pension with the Maximum benefit payment or an option that would provide beneficiary protection. 

We also urge you to discuss this with a NYSTRS representative either at a consultation or by calling (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6250.

Your retirement benefit is subject to federal income tax (except for previously taxed contributions) but is exempt from New York State income tax. Your retirement application includes a W-4P form, which you use to elect your federal withholding amount.

Read more about tax rules for your retirement benefit on our Taxes & Estate Planning page, which includes federal tax tables to help you determine how much NYSTRS would withhold from your benefit under different scenarios. We explain how to change your withholdings in the future should you choose to do so. You’ll also learn how to keep your beneficiaries informed and we provide a helpful estate planning list.

Resigning from your employer and filing for a NYSTRS retirement are two separate processes. Your retirement benefits will not automatically begin by resigning from your employer. You must also file for retirement from NYSTRS and the effective date of retirement you enter on your application must be at least one day beyond the last date you earned salary under contract.

The easiest way to file your application, provided you are at least age 55, is online through your MyNYSTRS account. Log in to your account and navigate to My Retirement > Application for Retirement. You can save and store data as you go, so you don’t need to complete the application in one sitting. When you return you’ll see which sections are complete and which you still need to finish. You’ll also have the ability to modify previously completed sections. The online application has built-in logic that ensures you don’t inadvertently miss a step or make a mistake that would cause the application to be rejected.

Or you can complete an Application for Retirement (RET-54), available on the Retirement-Related Forms page of this website. Applications mailed to NYSTRS will be considered filed on the day they are mailed if they are mailed by registered or certified mail via the U.S. Postal Service, or by an equivalent delivery service that provides mail tracking and is approved for use by the System. Please see the list of delivery services currently approved by the System. Please call us at (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6250 if you need help completing your retirement application.

You can file your retirement application as late as your date of retirement, but no sooner than 90 days before your retirement date. If you file for service retirement, you may withdraw your retirement application – or change your retirement date – by notifying NYSTRS with a signed request within 14 days from your date of retirement. If you have a MyNYSTRS account, you may use the Secure Messaging feature to notify us you wish to withdraw your application or change your date of retirement. If you don’t have a MyNYSTRS account, send a letter to NYSTRS and it will be considered received on the day it is mailed if it is mailed by registered or certified mail via the U.S. Postal Service, or by an equivalent delivery service that provides mail tracking and is approved for use by the System. Please see the list of delivery services currently approved by the System.

KEY CONSIDERATION: If you are retiring close to a key service milestone, such as 30 years of service for a Tier 4 member, working beyond the date you believe you will reach that milestone is advised. If you miscalculated or included in your calculations work that was not actually creditable, your benefit could be negatively impacted – for life. Always discuss your unique situation with a NYSTRS representative before filing for retirement.

In most cases, you will receive your first benefit payment by direct deposit on the last business day of the month of your official retirement date or the next month, depending on when we received your retirement application. Your initial monthly payments will be based on information on file with NYSTRS at the time of retirement. Generally, the payment amount will remain unchanged until your application is fully processed, which typically takes 9-12 months, but can take longer in more complicated cases.

You will be notified in writing when we complete the processing of your application. If your final benefit is higher than our initial estimate, you will receive a lump sum retroactive payment with your first new monthly benefit payment.

For more information about the retirement process and the calculation of your benefit, see the publication The Path to Retirement: What Happens After You File Your Retirement Application. To see step-by-step how your application is proceeding through the process, select the Track Progress of Retirement tab in MyNYSTRS.

Watch our PREP module video Living The Retirement Dream, which covers post-retirement topics, including planning ahead; staying active and healthy; relationships; and relocating. (Download presentation slides and the corresponding PREP Workbook chapter).

Back to top