If you feel you were incorrectly denied a benefit, such as a disability retirement benefit or retirement service credit, you are entitled to an administrative hearing.
If you are denied a benefit, you will receive a letter notifying you that your application or request has been denied. If you wish to request a hearing, the NYSLRS Hearing Administration Bureau must receive your written request for a hearing within four months of the date of this letter.
You will receive a Notice of Hearing at least three weeks prior to your scheduled hearing date. The notice provides the date, time and location of the hearing and a brief description of the issues to be decided.
Due to the global pandemic, all hearings are currently being conducted virtually using Webex, an online tool that allows users to host or participate in video conferencing, online meetings, and screen sharing remotely in a virtual meeting room. The Hearing Administration staff will send each applicant an email invitation. On the day of the scheduled hearing, you will “join” the meeting by running the temporary Webex application on your desktop. If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney will receive their own invitation to join the virtual hearing. If you do not have access to a computer, you may join the Webex hearing using the telephone number provided on your Notice of Hearing.
An administrative hearing is a formal legal proceeding with a hearing officer presiding. You may represent yourself, or be represented by an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of New York. You must prove you are entitled to the benefit you seek by presenting evidence in support of your claim.
A hearing record is made and will be provided to you after your hearing at no cost. It is your responsibility to provide any documentation you wish to present in support of your claim to the Retirement System prior to your hearing. You should contact the Hearing Administration staff to submit your proposed exhibits using NYSLRS’ secure email.
The hearing process is explained below.
Requesting a Hearing
When requesting a hearing, include your name, NYSLRS ID number, your return email and mailing address, and a phone number where you can be reached during the day.
Anyone who has had a retirement benefit denied can request a hearing in one of several ways:
Sign in to your Retirement Online account, click on “Make a Request” on the top right of your page, then follow the prompts.
Email the Hearing Administration Bureau.
Hearing requests sent by regular mail will be considered filed on the date they are received by NYSLRS. Hearing requests sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, are considered filed on the date mailed.
Attn: Hearing Administration
110 State Street
Albany, NY 12244-0001
(See a sample Hearing Request Letter)
Scheduling a Hearing
You’ll receive an Acknowledgement Letter and Scheduling Information Form within 30 days after NYSLRS receives your hearing request. The scheduling information form must be returned to the Hearing Administration staff by the due date on the form — which is 45 days from the date of the acknowledgement letter.
Failure to return the completed scheduling information form on or before the due date may result in a dismissal of your case.
(See a sample Scheduling Information Form)
You will receive a Notice of Hearing at least three weeks before your scheduled hearing date. The notice provides the date, time and location of the hearing (if an in-person hearing will be held) or instructions for participating in your hearing using Webex, and a brief description of the issues to be decided.
NYSLRS will provide the medical records underlying the Retirement System’s determination, and any other proposed Retirement System exhibits using secure encrypted email.
- You must provide NYSLRS with copies of any additional reports and documents to be offered into evidence, including the reports and records of any medical witnesses testifying on your behalf and the names of all witnesses (2 New York Codes, Rules and Regulations [NYCRR], Part 317.9 (b)).
- You must submit additional records no later than 45 days from the date of the hearing request acknowledgement letter. You may ask for an extension by sending Hearing Administration a written explanation of why you are unable to provide the records by the due date.
- NYSLRS may send any additional medical records to NYSLRS' examining doctor(s) for a supplemental review, if the additional records are received within 45 days of the date of the hearing request acknowledgement letter and are not duplicates of previously submitted documents.
- If you have one or more pending disability applications, NYSLRS may request to schedule the hearing case after determinations have been made on all applications.
During Your Hearing
- The NYSLRS attorney, the hearing officer, and you (applicant) outline the issues to be decided;
- Documents are admitted into evidence;
- The NYSLRS attorney and you can offer documents into evidence and object to material you believe should not be made a part of the hearing record;
- The Hearing Officer rules on whether a document will be a part of the hearing record;
- You and your witnesses may testify;
- You (or your attorney, if you choose to obtain one) may question all witnesses;
- The hearing officer may question all witnesses;
- NYSLRS’ attorney may present witnesses at the same hearing, or at a continued hearing. You may question those witnesses.
You must be prepared to present all evidence and witnesses in support of your claim at the initial hearing (2 New York Codes, Rules and Regulations [NYCRR], Part 317.4 (b)). You can ask the hearing officer for a continuance to present additional evidence if your case cannot be completed in the time allotted for the initial hearing.
Memorandum and Closing Statement
At the close of the hearing, the hearing officer will afford the parties an opportunity to submit written arguments summarizing their case (memorandum of law).The written arguments must be sent to the Retirement System’s attorney, the Hearing Officer and the Hearing Administration Bureau on or before the due date. Written arguments are typically due 45 days after the parties receive the hearing record. Written arguments submitted late will not be considered.
You may request one adjournment without providing a reason for the request (by right) and one for cause (2 New York Codes, Rules and Regulations [NYCRR], Part 317.5). The request must be received at least three business days prior to the hearing (see Requesting an Adjournment or Waiver of Appearance below).
Additional information about adjournments for cause:
- The first timely request for an adjournment will be granted by right.
- If a second adjournment is requested, the NYSLRS Director of Hearing Administration will determine if the reason for the second adjournment request qualifies as “cause,” which is defined by the regulation as “unusual, unexpected, or unavoidable circumstances beyond the control of the applicant or the other party, such as: a death in the immediate family, serious illness, unavoidable temporary inability to obtain counsel, or inclement weather that prevents all reasonable travel. It does not include any event that can be prevented or mitigated by the timely taking of reasonable action.” (2 NYCRR, Part 317.5 (e) (1)).The following instances would not qualify as cause:
- Your attorney is out of town;
- Your attorney has a conflicting court appearance; or
- You or your attorney requests more time to obtain additional documents, or review the file.
- A hearing officer may grant an adjournment at a hearing only if all the following conditions are met:
- The adjournment is for cause as defined in the regulation,
- You have not already used two adjournments, and
- You were unable to make a timely request.
- NYSLRS will not grant a third adjournment.
- The Hearing Administration Bureau may adjourn or cancel a hearing when it is not possible for the hearing to proceed as scheduled (2 NYCRR, Part 317.5 (a)).
Failure to Appear and Waiver of Appearance
Failure to appear without an adjournment or waiver of appearance will result in the applicant’s case being closed (2 New York Codes, Rules and Regulations [NYCRR] 317.7 (b)).
- We must receive requests to waive appearances three business days prior to a scheduled hearing, unless your attorney waives appearance at the hearing.
- Failure to appear at the initial hearing without an approved adjournment or a waiver of appearance will result in dismissal of the case.
- Failure to appear at any hearing other than the initial hearing without a waiver of appearance or adjournment will result in your case being closed or dismissed.
Requesting an Adjournment or Waiver of Appearance
Send requests to the Hearing Administration Bureau by:
Email the Hearing Administration Bureau
Attn: Hearing Administration
110 State Street
Albany, NY 12244-0001
For purposes of calculating a timely request for an adjournment of a hearing or waiver of appearance, three business days (per 2 NYCRR 317.6) is defined as:
- Monday for a hearing on Thursday,
- Tuesday for a hearing on Friday,
- Wednesday for a hearing on Monday,
- Thursday for a hearing on Tuesday, and
- Friday for a hearing on Wednesday.
After Your Hearing
You will receive a Final Determination signed by NYSLRS’s Executive Deputy Comptroller on behalf of the Comptroller. It will include the hearing officer decision and may also include additional or different findings of facts and conclusions of law.
You should receive the Final Determination approximately four months from the date you receive the transcript of the last hearing. Please email the Hearing Administration Bureau if you do not receive your Final Determination within this time frame.
If you do not meet all of the eligibility requirements established by Retirement and Social Security Law, you will be denied benefits.
You have four months to appeal a Final Determination by bringing an Article 78 proceeding in State supreme court. You should contact an attorney if you have questions regarding Article 78 proceedings.