Top 10 Retirement Misconceptions

#1 "TRS can change our benefits to make them better."

Answer: Benefits can only be changed by law, as we have seen during this past legislative session.


#2 "The MAXIMUM benefit must be the best choice because so many people take it."

Answer: That doesn't mean it's the best for you. Based on your unique circumstances, the best choice for you is the type of payment that meets your individual needs and those of your beneficiaries.


#3 "It's better to go to Albany for a consultation to get specific information when the time comes to retire."

Answer: It certainly is not better. We have an expanded consultation schedule at sites throughout the state. You can talk to TRS representatives who have access to your files and will give you the same information you would get in Albany. Call for an appointment at Arlington High School (914) 486-4860


#4 "Once you retire you're closing the door on teaching in New York State public schools forever."

Answer: You can go back to work and earn a limited amount from NYS public employement without affecting your benefit. The limit is established by law each year.


#5 ""Tiers 2, 3 and 4 can't retire until age 62."

Answer: These members can retire before age 62 with at least five years of credit, but there will be a reduction with less than 30 years of service.


#6 "I told my district I was retiring. Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for the money."

Answer: You'll wait a long time if you don't tell TRS. You must file a retirement application with the System to begin receiving payments. The application must be filed at least 30 days prior to your date of retirement.


#7 "They use the last salaries to calculate your pension."

Answer: Your final average salary (FAS) is the average of the three (or, or Tier 1 members, five, if better) highest consecutive salaries in your earnings history. It doesn't have to be the last salaries.


#8 "You can't retire until the end of the school year when you first become eligible."

Answer: You can retire anytime you meet the age and service credit requirements for your tier and have stopped teaching.


#9 "You can receive a lump sum payment rather than a monthly pension when you retire."

Answer: By law only those who have a yearly benefit of less than $1,000 may elect a lump sum. Everyone else must receive monthly payments.


#10 "Extra salary for coaching and teaching-related responsibilities will give you extra credit."

Answer: If you are working full-time, you can only get a maximum of one year of service credit for working in a school year July1-June 30. Beyond that, extra salary will not give you more credit, but may increase your FAS.


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