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 payments, 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,” including the authority to designate himself/herself as your beneficiary.
If your agent is not your spouse, domestic partner, parent or child, they will have “gifting authority,” however, if you wish for this agent to have the authority to designate himself/herself as your beneficiary, you must grant this authority in the “Modifications” section of the NYSLRS form (page 4, section g).
Gifting without using the NYSLRS form
The law governing the requirements for a POA changed effective June 13, 2021. Any POA executed on or after June 13, 2021, must comply with the new requirements under New York’s General Obligations Law, Article 5, Title 15.
- All POAs executed on or after June 13, 2021, must be signed by 2 disinterested witnesses (witnesses who are not listed as an agent in the POA or named in the POA as a person who can receive gifts).
- The use of a Statutory Gift Rider (SGR – an attachment to the POA) to grant gifting authority has been eliminated. If you do not use the NYSLRS form, and instead submit a separately prepared Statutory POA form (a POA form, generally prepared by an attorney, that copies the language in State statute), gifting authority, for all agents including your close family members, must be granted in the Modifications Section of the POA. Specifically, if you intend for your agent(s) to have gifting authority, you must initial Section (g) “Certain Gift Transactions” and provide the specific gifting authority granted to your agent(s) in Section (h) “Modifications.”
If you have an approved POA on file with NYSLRS, you do not need to send a new one. POAs executed before June 13, 2021, will be reviewed in accordance with the laws in effect at the time the POA was executed. For example, for Statutory POAs executed between September 1, 2009 and June 12, 2021, an SGR needed to accompany, or be made a part of, your POA for your agent to have gifting authority. Even if the named agent was a family member, in order to perform any act that constitutes a “gift,” the SGR must: (a) have contained gift giving authority initialed by the principal (you), (b) have been created on the same day as the POA and (c) have been signed by 2 disinterested witnesses. This SGR must have been executed pursuant to the requirements of New York’s General Obligations Law §5-1514 in effect before June 13, 2021.
POAs executed on or after June 13, 2021, that use an old Statutory POA form or otherwise do not comply with the requirements of the new law, will be invalid.
If you have any questions about the execution requirements for a POA or the requirements of New York’s General Obligations Law, Article 5, Title 15, 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 provide 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.