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Thinking About Retirement

Thinking About Retirement: A Checklist

  1. One to two years before your expected retirement date, meet with a counselor from the retirement system to which you belong. The Retirement Benefits Counselor at the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund can provide basic retirement benefit eligibility and contact information (and will counsel TRS participants). TIAA representatives provide counseling for participants in TIAA or other defined contribution plans. CUNY’s University Benefits Office also provides Pre-Retirement Planning and Post-Retirement Information.
  2. A year before your expected retirement date, consider when you want to take your Travia Leave and contact the Benefits Coordinator in your college HR Office to inform them of your intention to retire and to ask for a Travia Leave form and other forms that need to be filled out (for the pension plan, retiree health insurance, Medicare Part B, etc.). If you are considering phased retirement, ask for an application form for that.
  3. While on Travia Leave, be sure all the necessary forms are filled out for HR and for your pension plan. Keep copies of all documents you submit and request receipts! The HR Office may also have a “clearance checklist” for signoff that books, equipment and keys have been returned.
  4. Become familiar with the Social Security website (, at what age you become eligible for full or partial benefits and your options for when to start receiving benefits.
  5. Learn about Retiree Health Benefits. At age 65, you should sign/have signed up for Medicare Part A (hospitalization–free) on the Medicare website (, even if you are still employed. If you are married, your spouse should also apply at 65. Apply for Medicare Part B (outpatient medical coverage) three months before retirement/before your Travia Leave ends, and for your spouse if s/he will be covered by your retiree health benefits. Medicare will become your primary health insurance once you retire, and your NYC retiree health insurance will be secondary. (You will need documentation of enrollment in Medicare Part B to enroll in NYC retiree health insurance and in your retiree PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund coverage. ) Medicare Part B requires a monthly premium which will be deducted from your social security check and which will be partly reimbursed by the NYC Employee Benefits Program about 2 years later. Do NOT enroll in Medicare Part D drug coverage, or you will become ineligible for PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund drug coverage.
  6. If you are paying for optional benefits through payroll deduction, contact the insurers (NYSUT, John Hancock, Mercer Catastrophic and any others) to be billed directly at home when you go off payroll so coverage will not lapse. For some coverages, deduction from your pension benefit can be worked out later. To remain eligible for NYSUT benefit programs, you must continue to be a NYSUT member by joining the PSC Retirees Chapter.
  7. Before you retire, request and obtain a college retiree ID card to use the library and other facilities.
  8. Full-time teaching faculty, library faculty and faculty counselors may retain their current CUNY email address upon retirement. You should receive a form from HR to request to retain it. HEOs, CLTs, Research Associates and Assistants may request a “retiree” email address but must do so as part of filing paperwork to retire (one-time).
  9. Faculty members who wish to request “emeritus” status should contact their department chair and copy the college HR Office. Procedures for approval vary by college; for tenured full Professors who have worked at CUNY for more than ten years, it should be automatic, but you must request it.

Retirement from CUNY requires thought, planning and a lot of paperwork, so start now!

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