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Secure Your Future

Your retirement timeline

New York Teacher

Your defined-benefit pension and the Tax-Deferred Annuity program for voluntary savings are two of your most valuable financial assets as a UFT member employed by the Department of Education. Whether you are a new member, in mid-career or close to retirement, there are steps you can take to learn about your pension benefits and stay on track as you progress down the road to a financially secure retirement.

Early to Mid-Career
  • Check if proof of your date of birth is on file with the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS)
  • If you are not in a TRS-eligible position, you may enroll in the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS)
  • Participate in the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) program
  • Designate beneficiaries for both your Qualified Pension Plan (QPP) and TDA account
  • Apply for eligible pension credit if you have any prior service with a NYC or state agency
  • Transfer any eligible service you may have rendered as a member of a different NYC or New York State retirement system
  • Attend a pension workshop/webinar for new members
  • Stay updated on pension issues by reading the Secure Your Future column and visiting the UFT website
5–10 Years Prior to Retirement
  • Attend the UFT’s pension clinic series to prepare for retirement
  • Attend other UFT pension webinars to learn more about your pension, TDA, health benefits and other retirement matters
3-5 Years Prior to Retirement
  • Arrange for a preliminary pension consultation by calling 212-331-6311 and requesting an estimate of your retirement allowance
  • Review your Annual Benefits Statement (ABS) from your pension system to be sure your service reflects the years you have worked
1-3 Months Prior to Retirement
  • If you are 65 or older, you must enroll in both Medicare Parts A and B (contact the Social Security office for more information)
  • Call the UFT to arrange a final pension consultation
  • File your retirement application at least one business day, but not more than 90 days, before your retirement date
  • File appropriate forms to elect an option for your TDA funds at retirement
  • File form OP 44 with the payroll secretary for termination pay
  • File form OP 40 for terminal leave at least 30 days prior to the onset of your leave, or by June 1 if your leave begins in September
  • File a Health Benefits Application (form ERB) to waive or continue health insurance and check YES for the optional benefits rider to receive prescription drugs
  • Enroll in the Retired Teachers Chapter and file for your COPE card and SHIP card
After Retirement
  • Receive advance payment checks from TRS or BERS until your pension is finalized
  • Receive a Statement of Benefits along with your full pension allowance
  • File form W-4P for tax withholdings
  • Review rules for working retirees
  • Participate in RTC activities at any UFT borough office or at the union’s Florida office

This column is compiled by Tom Brown, David Kazansky and Debra Penny, teacher-members of the NYC Teachers’ Retirement Board.

Related Topics: Pension