Retirees often come to us with questions regarding eligibility, payments, benefits and more. Learn the answers to our most frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions for Retirees
ERSRI pays benefits in arrears on the last business day of each month. For example, the October 31st payment covers the period from October 1st through October 31st. For members who have direct deposit, when the last day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, your monthly benefit will be deposited the previous business day. Click the link below for a payment schedule for the current year.
You will receive your first pension payment within two to three months from your date of retirement. Your first payment will be retroactive to your date of retirement and will be paid to you by direct deposit.
ERSRI members can log into their online accounts using the link below. First time users can self-register online as long as you have an email address on file with ERSRI.
If you don’t have an email address on file or if you need assistance registering or logging in please contact us using our Contact Us page or by calling (401) 462-7600. The Member Service Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Once you’ve logged in you can make updates to your personal information, your tax withholding elections, and view your pension payment statements, and 1099-R. To learn more about how to use your online account please download the PDF below.
How to login and use your online retirement account.
If you would like to make changes to your direct deposit information or set up a new direct deposit, please complete and return ERSRI’s Direct Deposit form along with a voided check. Please note that changes typically take one full month from the date we receive your signed form to take effect.
A COLA is a Cost of Living Adjustment. Not all employers offer a COLA.
On Nov. 18, 2011, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted into law the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011 (RIRSA). RIRSA suspends a COLA for all State Employees, Teachers, Judges, State Police BHDDH Nurses, and Correctional Officers until the plans’ funding level for all groups, calculated in the aggregate, exceeds 80 percent.
For MERS, COLAs are suspended until the funding level of the individual plan exceeds 80 percent—MERS plans are not aggregated. Depending on economic factors, for members with a suspended COLA, an interim COLA may be calculated and awarded every four years during the suspension period.
Under Rhode Island law, the COLA is calculated based on equal parts of 50% of investment performance minus 5.00%, and 50% of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.
Your benefit amount may be different if you have received a COLA, had a change in your tax withholding election, healthcare, or other deductions, or if the federal or state tax withholding tables have changed. You may adjust your tax withholding elections at any time by logging into your personal retirement account on the ERSRI Member Portal or by completing the Certificate of Withholding Tax Change form linked below. Completed forms may be submitted to ERSRI by mail or by fax to (401) 462-7691.
ERSRI staff is not able to provide any tax advice to retirees. If you have questions about the amount of tax that should be withheld from your check, please consult your tax preparer or financial advisor.
Change the amount you would like deducted from your benefits for taxes.
Yes, but post-retirement employment with the state of Rhode Island, Rhode Island public schools or any Rhode Island municipality participating in MERS is subject to restrictions in accordance with Rhode Island General Laws. You can read about the requirements for post-retirement employment using
If you do not adhere to the post-retirement employment requirements, your pension benefit may be suspended and you will be required to repay any benefits you received, but were not entitled to receive, during your post-retirement employment.
If you selected Option 1 or Option 2, you may change your retirement option one time, as long as you and your beneficiary have not divorced. However, you may not change to SRA Plus. If you selected the Service Retirement Allowance (SRA) or SRA Plus payment options at retirement, you may not change your retirement option after you receive your first pension payment.
You may change your beneficiary for the death benefit payment at any time by completing the Beneficiary Designation Form below, and mailing or faxing it to ERSRI at (401) 462-7691.
Complete and sign the form, then return it to ERSRI.
If you selected a joint and survivor pension payment option (Option 1 or Option 2) at time of retirement, you may not change the beneficiary you selected to receive your on-going pension payment after your death.
Retirees and payees can update their address, telephone number, and email address on the ERSRI Member Portal or by completing the Change of Information form below, and submitting it ERSRI by mail or by fax to (401) 462-7691. Active members can click the link below for more information about how to update their address information.
Complete this form to update your name, address and marital status.
ERSRI does not administer healthcare coverage for retirees. State retirees should contact the Office of Employee Benefits using the link below for information about eligibility for healthcare coverage. MERS retirees should contact their former employer for information.
ERSRI issues 1099-R forms for retirees by January 31st of each year. You should receive your form by mail in the following weeks. Additionally, your 1099-R is available to view or print by logging into your online retirement account on the ERSRI Member Portal. If do not receive your form by February 15th, please call ERSRI at (401) 462-7600 to request a replacement 1099-R.
Your designated beneficiary is eligible to receive a one-time death benefit payment regardless of the pension payment option you selected. The Benefit is $800 per year of completed service, up to a maximum benefit of $16,000 with 20 years of service. The death benefit reduces 25% each year of retirement to a minimum death benefit of $4,000.
The Teachers Survivors’ Benefit (TSB) Plan is for Teachers in participating school districts who contribute to the fund, in lieu of Social Security, to provide benefits for their survivors in the event of their death.
To learn more about how the TSB Plan works, please refer to the PDF resources below.
A guide to understanding and collecting your benefits (Presentation).
A guide to understanding and collecting your benefits (Brochure).
Do you have a question that wasn’t answered here? Send us a message on our Contact Us page or call our Member Service Center at (401) 462-7600.