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Retirement Planning Tip

September 2016 - After I retire, may I cancel my New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) coverage and re-enroll later?

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Work-Life Services Brochure

Work–Life Services (WLS) are five negotiated benefits programs for Executive Branch employees resulting from a collaboration between NYS and the public employee unions. These programs are designed to increase employee productivity and morale by improving the quality of work and life for employees and include: Employee Assistance Program, Worksite Child Care Centers, Flex Spending Account, NYS–Ride, and Pre–Retirement Planning.

To view or print the Work-Life Services Brochure click here.

EAP: Opioid Addiction and Family Support

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use are on the rise at alarming rates. Being the family member of someone who is addicted to heroin or prescription medication can be very stressful. The nature of their addiction is such that they often engage in lying, stealing, and becoming almost unrecognizable from the person you once knew. Here are some tips on what you can do as a family member.

  • Educate yourself on addiction and the recovery process for opioid addiction.
  • Do your best to keep open lines of communication with your loved one by listening, being non-judgmental and setting clear boundaries.
  • Seek professional help from a specialist in the area of addiction.
  • Attend support groups to remind you that you are not alone. Nar-Anon and Al-Anon
  • Take care of yourself by receiving emotional support from family and friends, getting proper sleep, nutrition and exercise.
  • Search for a treatment provider in your area NYS Treatment Directory

    For additional information or assessment and referral services for addiction services, contact your NYS agency EAP coordinator Coordinator List.

Where My Assets Are

One big problem for survivors when death has occurred, is simply finding all the property and valuable papers of the deceased. You can do your heirs and executor a real favor by filling out the Where My Assets Are form and giving copies to your loved ones, executor, lawyer, and anyone else who will need this information. You should review and update this information periodically. The form can be found on the Work-Life Services website in the Self Help Guide for Pre-Retirement Planning, chapter 7, Legal Affairs, on page 13.

Employee Contribution for PEF Represented Employees

As a result of the ratification of the one year contract, PEF represented employees who are currently enrolled in the Dependent Care Advantage Account will have the Employer Contribution automatically applied to their account for the 2016 plan year.

PEF represented employees who enroll in the Dependent Care Advantage Account with an eligible Change In Status (CIS) event will now be eligible for the Employer Contribution for the remainder of the 2016 plan year.

Click here to read the letter to PEF enrollees

New York's 529 College Savings Program

Whether you're a parent, grandparent, or someone with a special child in your life, New York's 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan can make saving for your child's future easier.

Flexible use of savings

  • Save for a child, grandchild, friend, or even yourself
  • Use at an eligible 2 or 4-year college, vocational/technical school, or graduate school anywhere in the U.S. or abroad
  • Use for tuition, certain room-and-board expenses, books, supplies, etc. Tax benefits
  • Earnings grow federally tax deferred
  • Qualified withdrawals are federally tax-free
  • You can contribute up to $70,000 in a single year ($140,000 for a married couple filing jointly) for each beneficiary without incurring federal gift tax as long as you don't make any other gifts to that child for five years.

Additional tax benefits for New York taxpayers

  • New York taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 ($10,000 for a married couple filing jointly) in contributions to the Direct Plan on their state income tax return each year.

Easy to get started

  • Open an account with just $25 ($15 if contributing through payroll deduction)

For more information


NYS-Ride allows eligible state employees to pay up to $255 per month for certain work-related transportation expenses on a pre-tax basis. More than 8,000 participants who use public transportation to get to work currently enjoy the saving this program provides, while contributing to a greener environment by reducing carbon emissions, greenhouse gasses, and dependence on foreign oil.

The NYS-Ride website provides employees with quick and easy access to all the information they would need to learn about the program, calculate their savings and impact on the environment, enroll in NYS-Ride, make changes to their elections, or view their accounts. Please visit the website at

Retirement Planning Videos

Monitor displaying YouTube video

A series of short videos — the Planning Your Successful Retirement Video Guide — highlighting key information from the popular DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars is now available. Designed for executive branch employees, the 23 videos were created in partnership with the Office of the State Comptroller, the Department of Civil Service, the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan, and the Social Security Administration. Employees can view the videos along with other pre-retirement planning information on this Work-Life Services website and also on YouTube at

2016 Flex Spending Account Changes in Status and New Employees

The FSA 2016 open enrollment period ended on November 24, 2015. Employees who experience a valid change in status on or after November 25, 2015 or during the 2016 plan year, may be eligible to enroll by submitting a Change in Status application. Visit to review the 2016 Change in Status information to determine if your situation qualifies you to enroll during the plan year.

Retirement Planning Resources Workshops

The Retirement Planning Resources Workshop is a free, one-hour training, available to state agencies for their employees, regardless of years of state service. The training will not cover specific retirement information, and is not a substitute for the full-day DIRECTIONS seminars. Instead, the goal of this training program is to educate executive branch employees about the resources available so they can begin planning their retirement.

If you would like to schedule this one-hour training, you may contact Beth Brumaghim, Seminar Program Manager, at or 518.473.4018.

Welcome to the Family Packet

Work-Life Services introduces the "Welcome to the Family Packet". Parenting is an exciting and challenging experience. Today's parents often face unique circumstances balancing their work and family responsibilities. As a New York State Executive Branch employee parent, you are entitled to several negotiated benefits designed to assist you with balancing work and life. The "Welcome to the Family Packet" will outline these benefits programs as well as provide educational child care and parenting brochures. We invite you to request a "Welcome to the Family Packet" if you are expecting or recently added to your family through the birth or adoption of a child. Email your request along with your name and home address to:

"Parenthood, it's not a job. It's an adventure" – author unknown

WellNYS Everyday

The NYS Work-Life Services Employee Assistance Program recently launched a wellness initiative called WellNYS Everyday. The initiative is dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering New York State employees and their families by encouraging participation in healthy behaviors, particularly the Monthly Challenges.

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