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Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Seal

NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Tax Information about Your Pension

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is my pension taxable?

    While your New York State service retirement benefit is federally taxable, your pension is not taxed by New York State. However, your benefit may be taxed if you leave New York State. Please visit the Retired Public Employees Association website to see which states do tax pensions.

  2. Why is my withholding tax status married with three exemptions?

    This is the starting point for all of our pensioners. When you retire, we send you a W-4P form Adobe pdf (Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments) so you may choose the withholding tax status that is right for you. You can change your withholding at any time.

    See an interactive W-4P form.

  3. How do I get a copy of a 1099-R form?

  4. When are 1099-R forms mailed?

    1099-R forms are mailed out by January 31. Reprint requests can generally be accepted beginning the second week in February.

  5. What are the monies reported in Box Five on my 1099-R form?

    These monies represent the portion of your pension not subject to federal income tax. Generally, if you have made after-tax contributions while employed, a small percentage of your pension will be excluded from taxation each year until all of the after-tax contributions are fully recovered.

    See an interactive 1099-R tutorial form.

  6. How can I have a fixed amount of federal withholding deducted each month from my pension check?

    Indicate the amount you want withheld in Section 3 on our W-4P form Adobe pdf. Please note: We must receive changes prior to each month’s pension close-out date in order to affect your next check.

  7. How do I change my mailing address with the Retirement System?

    • Call us toll-free at 1-866-805-0990 or 518-474-7736 within the Albany, New York area; or
    • Send a letter with your name, old and new address, effective date of change, registration number and your signature to:

    NYSLRS

    110 State Street

    Albany, NY 12244-0001.

    Please note: If your new address includes a PO Box or a location outside of the United States, you must send us a signed letter.

    We cannot accept an email to change your address.

  8. I need a letter for housing, Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), or a mortgage company.

    Most retirees can request a pension verification letter by email through our Contact Us page. Be sure to fill out all of your personal verification information when you submit your email. In most cases, a letter will be mailed out the next business day.

  9. Where do I get answers to my health insurance questions?

    The Retirement System does not administer health insurance. While it is sometimes possible for your health insurance premiums to be deducted from your pension payments, we can only do so at the instruction of your former employer, or New York State (NYS) Civil Service.

    If you have questions about your coverage or premiums and you retired from a New York State agency, either:

    NYS Department of Civil Service

    Employee Benefits Division

    Albany, NY 12239.

    If you retired from a public employer other than New York State (a town, county, village, city, or school district), please contact your former employer.

  10. How do I enroll in direct deposit or change my banking information?

    Over 90 percent of our retirees take advantage of direct deposit — the safest and most convenient way to receive retirement benefits. It's also the quickest way to receive your benefit. When you enroll, your retirement payments will be deposited directly into your checking or savings account on the last business day of each month.

    Your form or letter can be faxed to 518-473-5323, or mailed to:

    NYSLRS

    Attn: Direct Deposit

    110 State Street

    Albany, NY 12244-0001.

    NOTE: It is important to contact us before you make any changes to your bank account. We cannot accept an email.

  11. What days are pension checks mailed out for retirees not enrolled in the Direct Deposit program? What do I do if I did not receive my pension check?

    If you have recently retired and your retirement calculation is still in process (and you are receiving partial pension checks), your check is mailed out on the first business day of each month. We must allow the United States Postal Service until the tenth of the month to deliver partial pension checks.

    If you do not receive your partial pension check by the tenth of the month, you may request that the Retirement System place a stop payment on that check and issue you a replacement check. Once the stop payment is requested, the original check (if received) will no longer be valid.

    If you are a retiree receiving regular monthly pension checks, these checks are always mailed out on the second to last business day of each month. We must allow the United States Postal Service until the eighth of the month to deliver all regular monthly pension checks.

    If you do not receive your regular pension check by the eighth of the month, you may request that the Retirement System place a stop payment on that check and issue you a replacement check. Once the stop payment is requested, the original check (if received) will no longer be valid.

    If you choose to enroll in our Direct Deposit program, your retirement payments will be deposited directly into your checking or savings account on the last business day of each month.

(Rev. 12/15)

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