As many as 60,000 state retirement checks have been lost in the mail in recent days, the state Comptroller’s Office confirmed this morning.
The Comptroller’s Office said the checks have yet to be found and particularly impacted the western New York and the Southern Tier regions, as well as scattered cases around the state. The state handed over the monthly checks for retirees to the post office on Dec. 30.
“Somewhere in that process some of the checks have been unaccounted for,” said Emily DeSantis, spokeswoman for the Comptroller’s Office, which oversees the retirement system for public employees.
“So the post office, in effect, lost some of the checks. They can’t locate some of the checks. It’s an issue at the post office.”
DeSantis said that if the checks don’t arrive in the mail after tomorrow’s mail delivery, retirees can call the Comptroller’s Office to have another one issued.
The telephone number is 1-866-805-0990. They can also call 518-474-7736.
The post office confirmed reports of the missing checks and said it is are investigating.
“We are working to try to determine where they are and to get them to the recipients as soon as possible,” said Karen Mazurkiewicz, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in western New York.
In the Syracuse area, the checks were located Monday and were being sent out. In the Albany area, the checks should have arrived Monday or today, DeSantis said.
Retirees were expected to get their checks as soon as last Saturday, but many are still waiting.
The system has more than 350,000 retirees.
Valerie Brownstein, a retired Monroe County systems analyst, said she wondered why her check didn’t arrive on Saturday, and she went to the post office to find out why. She was surprised to hear that they were missing.
“A pile of 60,000 checks is large enough that someone should notice it,” she said.
She said her check is small, but “for a lot of people that check is their grocery money, their rent payment, their mortgage payment.”
DeSantis encouraged retirees to file for direct deposit of their monthly checks. She said 84 percent of retirees have enrolled in direct deposit.