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Member E-News Archives — 2011

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December 2011

Hot Topics

New Law to Help Protect Pension Fund from Abuse The recently enacted Public Integrity Reform Act (Chapter 399, Laws of 2011) includes provisions for holding government officials who violate the public trust accountable for their actions. The new law affects public officials who join the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) on or after November 13, 2011. Under certain circumstances, public officials convicted of a felony related to their public office will either receive a reduced pension, or forfeit their pension. Read more about the Public Integrity Reform Act.

The Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds May Be Holding Money For You New York State is holding $11 billion in lost money. Could some of it be yours? This lost money, or unclaimed funds, comes from inactive accounts with banks, insurance companies, utility companies and other businesses. The Office of Unclaimed Funds (OUF) would like to help the rightful owners get this money back. Check out OUF’s online claiming database to see if money is being held for you.

What If You Leave Public Employment? If you change jobs to work for a private employer or are no longer in public employment, you should decide what to do about your membership with the Retirement System. You can receive a vested retirement benefit if you have enough years of service, or you can withdraw all your contributions. Read our publication, “What If I Leave Public Employment?” (VO1800), to learn more.

Close to Retirement?

What It Means to Be Vested To be “vested” means you have earned enough service credit to qualify for a pension. Tier 2, 3 or 4 members need at least five years of service credit to be vested; Tier 5 members must have ten years. If you are vested and leave public employment before age 55, you could be eligible for a vested retirement benefit. Learn more about what it means to be vested.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

Sign up to receive emails on other topics of interest from the Comptroller’s Office.

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November 2011

Hot Topics

Is Your Retirement Loan Taxable? You should be aware of the federal tax laws that apply to Retirement System loans. If you took out a deferred compensation (457) or tax-sheltered annuity (403-b) loan through your employer, we need to consider that loan balance when calculating the taxability of your Retirement System loan. Retirement loans can also become taxable if they go into default. Learn more about how your Retirement System loans could be taxed.

Close to Retirement?

Working After Retirement If you work for a public employer after retiring, your pension benefit could be reduced or suspended. Read our publication, “Life Changes: What If I Work After Retirement?” (VO1648), before returning to work in public service.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

Sign up to receive emails on other topics of interest from the Comptroller’s Office.

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October 2011

Hot Topics

Latest Newsletters on the Web The Fall 2011 editions of The Update Adobe pdf and The Sentinel Adobe pdf are available to view online. Read about the latest retirement information you need to know, before the hardcopy newsletters hit the streets.

Close to Retirement?

Requesting an Estimate If you’re eligible to retire within 18 months, consider requesting an estimate of your retirement benefit. The estimate will include your approximate final average salary, total years of credited service, any contributions made and other information that we have on file for you. Send us a completed Request for Estimate form (RS6030) Adobe pdf to receive an estimate.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

Sign up to receive emails on other topics of interest from the Comptroller’s Office.

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September 2011

Hot Topics

New to the Retirement System? If you’ve joined the Retirement System in the past year, you should be aware of some important features on our website. You’ll find the current version of all our retirement plans on our publications page, so you can check your plan and learn about your retirement benefits. You can also find out what it means to be a member by reading our publication, “Membership in a Nutshell” (VO1878).

Close to Retirement?

Check Your Beneficiaries Be sure to check your beneficiary information before you retire. We are required by law to issue your death benefits to the last beneficiaries you designated, even if they are not the beneficiaries you would designate today. Some designations can be revoked in the event of a divorce. You can change your beneficiaries by submitting the Designation of Beneficiary form (RS5127) Adobe pdf to us.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

Sign up to receive emails on other topics of interest from the Comptroller’s Office.

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August 2011

Hot Topics

Filing Date Change for Retirement Applications A new law has decreased the number of days your service retirement application must be on file prior to your retirement date. Now, you can request that your retirement take effect 15 days (but not more than 90 days) after you file an application with us. In the past, your application had to be on file within a 30-to-90-day window.

Close to Retirement?

Project Your Pension Start planning for retirement by using our online Benefit Projector Calculator to estimate your pension benefit. Be sure to have your Member Annual Statement handy so you can enter your retirement plan information accurately. Remember, this is only an estimate based on the information you provide.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

Sign up to receive emails on other topics of interest from the Comptroller’s Office.

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July 2011

News from the Comptroller

This Public Pension System Works Comptroller DiNapoli sets the record straight about New York’s pension system, making it clear that all public pension systems are not equal.

Play the Comptroller's Video News.

Hot Topics

Leaving Public Employment Our publication, Life Changes: What If I Leave Public Employment?” (VO1800), explains what you need to know if you leave public employment or go on an extended leave of absence. This publication will help you to understand your rights and obligations as a Retirement System member.

Close to Retirement?

Your Social Security Statement Due to budgetary constraints, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will no longer be mailing annual statements. You can estimate your Social Security benefit by using SSA’s Retirement Estimator. Please keep in mind that you will no longer receive a Social Security statement as you are preparing to retire.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

Sign up to receive emails on other topics of interest from the Comptroller’s Office.

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June 2011

Hot Topics

Death Benefits Your beneficiary may be entitled to a death benefit if you die before you retire and you are in active service. Your contributions may also be payable to your beneficiary. Be sure your beneficiary information is up-to-date, and your family or beneficiary knows to contact the Retirement System.

Close to Retirement?

Giving Us Your Birth Date You’ll need to provide us with proof of your birth date to receive your retirement benefits; we cannot pay you any benefits without it. Our Pre-Retirement Checklist has a list of the most common documents we accept as proof. You can mail them to our main office at any time. Any original documents you submit will be returned to you by certified mail.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

Sign up to receive emails on other topics of interest from the Comptroller’s Office.

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May 2011

Hot Topics

Getting Ready for the Member Annual Statements We started mailing Member Annual Statements (MAS) to your employers. Most of you can expect to receive your Statement in June or July. Our MAS online tutorial and MAS frequently asked questions can help you better understand this important document.

Latest Newsletter on the Web The Summer 2011 editions of The Update Adobe pdf and The Sentinel Adobe pdf are available to view online. Now you’ll be able to read about the latest retirement information you need to know.

Close to Retirement?

Find the Forms You Need Online We keep an updated listing of all our service and disability retirement application forms online. When you’ve retired, you can also download forms for your retiree needs. Check out our forms page for more information.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

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April 2011

Hot Topics

Earning Service Credit Once you become a Retirement System member, you earn service credit for your paid public employment with a participating employer. However, you may also have other public employment or military service for which you may receive credit. Read our publication, Service Credit for Tier 2, 3, 4 & 5 Members (VO1854), to learn more.

Close to Retirement?

Preparing for Retirement Our Pre-Retirement Checklist is an excellent resource to help you remember what steps to take as you near retirement. The checklist follows a timeline of up to 18 months before retirement.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

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March 2011

Hot Topics

Interest Rate Change for Loans Are you considering taking a loan against your retirement contributions? Beginning April 1, 2011, the interest rate on new ERS Tier 3, 4 or 5 loans will be 6.5 percent. (The interest rate for loans granted before April 1, 2011 is 7 percent.) Before taking a loan, please consider all the implications by reading “Loans: Getting One and Paying It Back.”

Close to Retirement?

Choosing a Pension Payment Option At retirement, you must decide how you want your monthly pension benefit to be paid. You have several options to choose from. Some options offer you a reduced monthly payment, but will provide your beneficiary with a benefit after your death. Read our Payment Options Descriptions page to learn more.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

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February 2011

Hot Topics

Update Your Mailing Address Please keep us informed of your current mailing address so we can continue to provide you with information about your benefits. Contact us to update your mailing address.

Close to Retirement?

Financial Planning for Retirement It’s never too early to start planning for retirement. Developing a financial strategy can help you make sure you’re financially secure. Read our publication, Straight Talk About Financial Planning for Your Retirement (VO1845), for more information.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

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January 2011

Hot Topics

What If You Leave Public Employment? Our publication, “Life Changes: What If I Leave Public Employment?” (VO1800), explains what you need to know if you leave public employment or go on an extended leave of absence. This publication will help you to understand your rights and obligations as a Retirement System member.

Repaying Your Retirement Loan You can repay your Retirement System loan through payroll deductions as long as you are on the payroll of a participating employer. If you go off the payroll, you still must make the required minimum payments. You’ll have to make a payment at least every three months and payments must be sufficient to repay the loan within five years. Read “Loans: Getting One and Paying It Back” to learn more.

Close to Retirement?

Review Your Health Coverage Before Retirement The Retirement System does not manage any post-retirement health benefits. If you are employed by a non-State employer, contact your health benefit administrator to determine your and your family’s eligibility for post-retirement benefits. If you are employed by the State, visit the Civil Service website for more information.

By the Way: Retirement Online is a helpful tool that allows you to view your benefit information — such as your contribution balance and beneficiary designations — securely on our website. If you haven’t already enrolled in this service, take a few minutes to sign up for Retirement Online now.

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