Employee Benefits Questions

If I am vested in one of the retirement systems (ERS, TRS or the Optional Retirement Program), what will I need to do?
If you are eligible to retire from the New York State Employees Retirement System (ERS), you will need to complete a service retirement application. This application must be filed with ERS at least 30 days, but not more than 90 days, prior to your retirement date. Call (866) 805-0990 for more detailed information regarding the application process and/or your actual benefits.
If you are eligible to retire from the New York State Teachers Retirement System (TRS), you will need to complete a service retirement application. This application must be filed with TRS at least 30 days, but not more than 90 days, prior to your retirement date, you should contact them directly at (800) 356-3128.
If you are a vested member of the Optional Retirement Program (TIAA-CREF or one of the alternate funding vehicles: ING, MetLife, or Valic), you should contact them directly.
  • TIAA-CREF: call (800) 842-2776 to request a retirement packet
  • ING: call (800) 677-4636 or contact your individual agent directly
  • VALIC: (800) 448-2542 or contact your individual agent directly
  • MetLife: (866) 294-0807 or contact your individual agent directly

If you are a vested member of the RF Retirement Plan (TIAA/CREFF), you should contact them directly at (800)-842-2776.
What will happen with my medical insurance if I elect to participate in the Voluntary Separation Program?
  1. 1) If you are resigning please speak to a Benefits Specialist about your health insurance options.
  2. 2) If you are a State employee, age 55 or more, with at least 10 years of benefits eligibility, and you are currently enrolled in NYSHIP (The New York State Health Insurance Program), you would be eligible for the lifetime retiree insurance benefit. This benefit provides you with the same medical and prescription drug coverage you have as an active employee either with the Empire Plan or an HMO. For more details on retiree health insurance benefits, refer to the Planning for Retirement booklet at http://www.cs.state.ny.us/ebdonline/ebdonlinecenter/reports/preret/preret09.pdf(in Adobe PDF format)
  3. 3) If you are a State employee under age 55, with at least 10 years of benefits eligibility, and you are currently enrolled in NYSHIP, you would be eligible to vest your health insurance benefits. (Please note however, sick Leave will be lost and hence cannot be used to offset future health insurance premium costs.) In order to vest for medical purposes, you would need to pay the full-share cost of the insurance from the time you separated employment until you reach age 55. At age 55, you would convert to the retiree benefit at the reduced premium. If at any time before you reach age 55 you did not maintain the premium, or you cancelled voluntarily, you would lose the retiree benefit forever. The advantage of vesting is to be able to retain the lifetime retiree health benefit once you reach age 55.
  4. 4) If you are a Research Foundation employee, age 55 or more, with at least 10 years of benefits eligibility, and you are currently enrolled in one of the RF Health Insurance Plans, you will be eligible for the lifetime retiree benefit. If you were hired on or before January 1, 1986, your retiree health insurance premium will be at no cost to you. If you are hired after January 1, 1986 you will pay the active employee share.
What will happen with my dental and vision benefits?
For State employees, dental and vision benefits, whether they are provided through a union or through New York State, do not continue as a retiree or separation benefit. These benefits would end after a 28-day run-out. COBRA and GHI dental benefits would be available for a limited period of time.
For Research Foundation employees, dental and vision benefits will end after a 28-day run-out, and can be continued for an additional 18-months by enrolling in COBRA.

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