The NYSLRS Special Durable Power of Attorney (POA) document allows someone else, referred to as the “agent,” (for example, a trusted friend or family member) to act on your behalf regarding retirement benefit transactions. You may choose to designate a power of attorney in case of emergency, hospitalization or unexpected illness, but keep in mind that it is not necessary to wait until an emergency occurs to file your NYSLRS POA form.
Under normal circumstances, NYSLRS won’t release benefit information without your permission — even to close family members. However, if we have an approved copy of your POA form on record, we can discuss your information with the agent you name in your POA. For example, your agent could ask for details about your pension payment deductions, get help completing a loan application or call us for clarification if you don’t understand a letter you received.
A Power of Attorney is a powerful document. Once you appoint someone, that person may act on your behalf with or without your consent. We strongly urge you to consult an attorney before you execute this document.
The NYSLRS special durable power of attorney form meets all of New York State’s legal requirements.
The form is limited to NYSLRS pension benefit transactions. For example, it won’t allow the agent to make changes to a New York State Deferred Compensation retirement account.
A Power of Attorney form is not effective until it has been reviewed by NYSLRS for legal soundness. Our review process is simplified for submissions using the NYSLRS form, so we can complete our review faster if you use it.
Standard authorities your agent will have
Your agent can access account-specific information about your NYSLRS retirement benefits (by phone, email or mail) and update your contact information, including your address and phone number. In addition, your agent will be able to:
- Find out your account balances;
- Take a loan;
- Obtain copies of documents in your retirement file;
- Apply to receive retirement benefits; or
- Change your tax withholding (for retirees).
Special authority that you may grant to your agent
You may also intend for your agent to have “gifting authority,” which means they will be able to:
- Direct deposit money into a joint bank account;
- Elect a pension payment option that provides for a beneficiary; and
- Designate or change your death benefit beneficiaries, including naming him or herself as your beneficiary.
Gifting using the NYSLRS form
If you use the NYSLRS form, and your agent is your spouse, domestic partner, parent or child, then your agent will have “gifting authority.”
If you wish to assign gifting authority to an agent who is not your spouse, domestic partner, parent or child, you must indicate, in the “Modifications” section of the NYSLRS form (page 3, section g), that you want your agent to have the ability to designate himself/herself even though they are not an immediate family member.
Gifting without using the NYSLRS form
If you do not use the NYSLRS form, and instead submit a separately prepared POA, a Statutory Gift Rider (SGR - an attachment to the POA) will need to accompany or be made a part of your POA if you intend for your agent to have gifting authority. Even if the named agent is a family member, in order to perform any act that constitutes a “gift,” the SGR must be included.
In order for a POA with SGR to be valid, the POA must contain the gift giving authority initialed by the principal (you), and a valid SGR must have been created on the same day as the POA. This SGR must be executed pursuant to the requirements of New York’s General Obligations Law §5-1514.
If you have any questions about the execution requirements for an SGR, or the requirements of New York’s General Obligations Law §5-1514, we suggest you consult an attorney.
If you decide to appoint someone to act on your behalf regarding your NYSLRS retirement benefits, it is important that you get your POA to NYSLRS so it can be reviewed and noted in your account. You can submit a POA document whether you are retired or still working, and we will accept a photocopy. You can mail it to:
110 State Street
Albany, NY 12244-0001.
You can revoke or terminate your POA at any time for any reason by mailing a signed letter to the address above. If you have questions about submitting your POA, or about what your agent will be able to do, please contact us.