Divorce and Your Benefits

The Ex-spouse’s Payments

Divorce and Your Benefits

If NYSLRS receives all required documents before the member’s retirement, payments to the ex-spouse will begin as of the member’s retirement date, unless otherwise specified in the DRO. It’s important to submit the required documents well before the member’s retirement date to avoid delays in payments to the ex-spouse.

If the member is already receiving a pension benefit at the time the final DRO is submitted, the ex-spouse’s payments will begin after we calculate their distribution. Payments will not be retroactive to the date NYSLRS accepted the DRO. If an ex-spouse is entitled to a retroactive distribution, the DRO must clearly state that intent, note the specific retroactive date, and provide a payment schedule setting forth an additional deduction to be taken from the member’s pension until the retroactive payment is satisfied in full. If the DRO requires retroactive payment, but does not provide a repayment schedule, the DRO will be implemented going forward only unless the parties obtain an Amended Order with a repayment schedule.

Retirees can see a monthly and year-to-date breakdown of their pension payment amounts and adjustments by logging into Retirement Online. Deductions including the monthly payments made to ex-spouses are listed.

According to the Internal Revenue Code, equitable distribution payments to the ex-spouse are taxable. NYSLRS will mail a 1099-R form to the ex-spouse for taxable payments made during the prior calendar year.

An ex-spouse cannot collect benefits until the member retires and their pension payments have begun. There is no minimum retirement age when members in active State service must retire. If the member is not in active State service at age 70 ½, they will be subject to mandatory retirement.

Ex-spouses cannot obtain a cash payout of their portion of the pension benefit, and they are not permitted to roll over their monthly benefit into a tax-deferred retirement account (such as an IRA, 401K, 403b, etc.).


Rev. 2/23