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
communit@nystrs.org

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

If you haven’t already done so, attend a NYSTRS Pension & Retirement Education Program (PREP) seminar. PREP sessions are held statewide throughout the year and are structured so you can tailor the program to fit your needs. Stay for the entire seminar (see the full agenda) or just the modules of greatest significance to you. Register online using your MyNYSTRS account or call (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6180 to save your spot.

Consultations are opportunities to meet with a NYSTRS representative, either in person or via video, to ask questions about your specific situation. You’ll leave a consultation with personalized benefit estimates. A schedule of upcoming consultations is available on the Consultations page of this website. 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.

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. We also urge you to discuss options with a NYSTRS representative, either at a consultation or by calling (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6250. If you have a MyNYSTRS account, use the Pension Estimator to get a rough idea of your pension under various scenarios.

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. 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. If the application is sent to NYSTRS by registered or certified mail, it will be considered received on the date it was postmarked. 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. All others should use certified or registered mail, as the postmarked date will be considered the date received by NYSTRS. 

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: Understanding the NYSTRS Retirement Process. To see step-by-step how your application is proceeding through the process, select the Track Progress of Retirement tab in MyNYSTRS.

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