2009 Legislation

2009 Legislation

The following is a summary of 2009 NYSTRS-related legislation that has been signed into law.

Chapter 4 of the Laws of 2009, signed into law Feb. 25, 2009, delayed the effective date of Chapter 644 of the Laws of 2008 until Sept. 1, 2009. Chapter 644 of the Laws of 2008 amended various provisions of Title 15 of Article 5 of the General Obligations Law relating to both the content and execution of the statutory short form power of attorney.

Under Chapter 644, a "short form" power of attorney executed on or after Sept. 1, 2009 must also be accompanied by a Statutory Major Gifts Rider for an agent to have the power to make gifts and other transfers, including the authority to change or designate beneficiaries on retirement benefit plans.

Please Note: A properly executed statutory short form power of attorney, executed in accordance with the law in effect at the time of its execution prior to Sept. 1, 2009, remains valid and will be honored by the System.

Chapter 41 of the Laws of 2009, signed into law May 26, 2009, re-establishes the transfer of reserves from NYCTRS to NYSTRS for NYSTRS members who:

  • Were formerly members of NYCTRS with a date of membership prior to July 27, 1976, and;
  • Had at least 20 years of service credited in NYCTRS prior to transfer.

Eligible members may receive a benefit if their transferred-in reserve from NYCTRS, including ITHP (Increased-Take-Home-Pay account), exceeds the actuarial accrued liability of the transferred service under the NYSTRS benefit structure.

Chapter 220 of the Laws of 2009, signed into law July 14, 2009, primarily impacts former members and authorizes NYSTRS to distribute unclaimed funds totaling $1,000 or less without the member or their estate having to initiate the disbursement. As a result of this change, about 5,000 former members qualify for this refund.

Chapter 504 of the Laws of 2009, signed into law Dec. 10, 2009, creates a new membership tier (Tier 5) for NYS public employees, effective Jan. 1, 2010. Following are key points for NYSTRS Tier 5 members:

  • 3.5% member contributions are required throughout active membership.
  • Prior service costs are 3.5% per year, plus 5% interest compounded annually from the date of service.
  • 10 years of credited service is required to vest.
  • Pension factors:
    • 1 2/3% per year if credited service is less than 25 years at retirement.
    • 2% per year for 25 or more years of credited service at retirement.
    • 1 1/2% for each additional year over 30 years.
  • No benefit reduction if retirement occurs on or after age 57 with 30 or more years of service.
  • Benefit reductions are based on age for those who retire before age 62 with fewer than 30 years of service.
  • Overtime payments are capped at $15,000 annually for the purposes of computing contributions and benefits.
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