Skip to Content

Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Seal

NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Payment Option Descriptions

Share This Page:

At retirement, you must decide how you would like your retirement benefit paid. You can choose from several options, all of which will provide you with a monthly benefit for life. For example, you may elect the Single Life Allowance (Option 0) which provides the maximum amount payable during your lifetime, with nothing payable to a beneficiary upon your death. Or, you may elect to receive a smaller monthly benefit to provide for a possible payment to a designated beneficiary after your death. The following option choices are available:

Single Life Allowance (Option 0)
(All Tiers)
This is the basic retirement benefit. It provides the maximum benefit payment to you each month for the rest of your life. Under this selection all payments cease upon your death. When you die (even if it is only one year, or sooner, after retiring), nothing will be paid to any beneficiary.
Cash Refund — Contributions (Option ½)
(Available only to members with annuity savings contributions on deposit)
This option will provide you with a reduced monthly benefit for your lifetime. At your death, the unpaid balance of your accumulated annuity savings contributions will be paid to your beneficiary or your estate. If all of your accumulated annuity savings contributions have been expended, all payments cease upon your death.
Cash Refund – Initial Value (Option 1)
(Available to Tier 1 members only)
This option will provide you with a reduced monthly benefit for your lifetime. It guarantees that if you die before receiving retirement benefit payments that equal the initial value of your benefit, the balance of the initial value will be paid to your beneficiary or estate in a lump sum. “Initial Value” is an actuarial term for the value of your retirement benefit at the time of retirement.
If you live long enough, you will receive your initial value amount and more in your monthly retirement benefit. However, if you die after the full initial value has been paid out to you, no benefit is payable to your beneficiary.
Joint Allowance — Full*
(All Tiers)
This option will provide you with a reduced monthly benefit for your lifetime, and is based on your birth date and that of your beneficiary. After your death, your beneficiary will receive the same monthly amount you were receiving (without Cost-of-Living Adjustment [COLA]) for life. If your beneficiary dies before you, all payments will cease upon your death.
Joint Allowance — Half*
(Available to Tier 1 and 2 members only)
This option will provide you with a reduced monthly benefit for your lifetime, and is based on your birth date and that of your beneficiary. After your death, your beneficiary will receive monthly payments equal to one-half of the amount you were receiving (without COLA) for life. If your beneficiary dies before you, all payments will cease upon your death.
Joint Allowance — Partial*
(Available to Tier 3, 4, 5 and 6 members only)
This option will provide you with a reduced monthly benefit for your lifetime, and is based on your birth date and that of your beneficiary. After your death, your beneficiary will receive a specific percentage of your benefit (without COLA) which you select (75, 50, or 25 percent) for life. If your beneficiary dies before you, all payments will cease upon your death.
Pop-Up/Joint Allowance – Full or Half*
(All Tiers)
These options will provide you with a reduced monthly benefit for your lifetime. If you die before your beneficiary, we will continue paying the same amount or one-half that amount (without COLA), depending on which option you elect, to your beneficiary for life. If your beneficiary dies first, your benefit will be increased to the amount you would have received if you had selected the Single Life Allowance at retirement, and all payments will cease upon your death.
Five Year Certain and Ten Year Certain
(All Tiers)
These options will provide you with a reduced monthly benefit for your lifetime, with the additional guarantee that if you live less than five or ten years after retirement, depending upon which option you elect, payments in the same amount you were receiving (without COLA) will be made to your beneficiary for the balance of the five- or ten-year period. You may change your beneficiary within the five- or ten-year period.
Alternative Options
If the options described here do not meet your needs, we will consider written requests for other payment methods. These requests must be outlined in detail by you and then approved by us for legal and actuarial soundness.

*If you elect this option, you must submit proof of your beneficiary’s birth date. You can designate only one beneficiary and you cannot change your designation after your retirement. If your beneficiary is your spouse at the time of your death, he or she will be eligible for 50 percent of your COLA.

(Rev. 4/14)

(Return to Top)