NYSLRS – One Tier at a Time: ERS Tiers 3 & 4

(We know that’s two, but let us explain)

When you join the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS), you’re assigned a tier based on the date of your membership. There are six tiers in the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) and five in the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) – so there are many different ways to determine benefits for our members. Our new series, NYSLRS – One Tier at a Time, walks through each tier and gives you a quick look at the benefits the members are eligible for before and at retirement.

Today’s post looks at Tiers 3 and 4 in the Employees’ Retirement System. Now, we know these are technically two tiers, but many of the members in these tiers are eligible to retire under the same retirement plan: Article 14 (for Tier 3 members) or Article 15 (for Tier 3 and 4 members). They also represent the largest percentage – 79.2 percent – of our ERS membership. Of our current 609,565 ERS members, 482,520 are in Tiers 3 and 4.

Check out the graphic below for the basic retirement information for Tier 3 and 4 members.

If you’re an ERS Tier 3 or 4 member, find your retirement plan publication from the list below for more detailed information about your benefits:

Stay tuned for more NYSLRS – One Tier at a Time posts. Next time, we’ll take a look at one of our PFRS tiers.

168 thoughts on “NYSLRS – One Tier at a Time: ERS Tiers 3 & 4

  1. Dorah Rosenzweig

    From this chart it looks like you get penalized for working past 30 years. Am I understanding that correctly? You only get 1.5% for years 31-34 for example rather then 2% . Is that correct?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Hi Dorah –

      Thank you for your question. You are reading the chart correctly. If you retire with 20 to 30 years of service credit, your benefit will equal 2% of your Final Average Salary (FAS) multiplied by your years of service. You’ll receive an additional 1.5% of your FAS for each year of credited service beyond 30 years. The law that established this retirement plan (Article 15 of the Retirement and Social Security Law) specifies how the pension benefit is calculated.

      Sincerely,
      NYSLRS

      Reply
      1. joe

        Why does nycers penalize employees if they want to retire early ?..im 55.and have 35 years in..still have to work 7 more yrs…the state doesnt penalize..this is like a jail sentence

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          Hello, Joe –

          Thank you for reading New York Retirement News. Unfortunately, we can’t really speak for the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) and the benefits they offer to members, as we’re a separate public retirement system. However, if you have questions about your retirement eligibility, you can reach out to NYCERS via their website: http://www.nycers.org/contact/index.aspx

          We hope this helps.

          Sincerely,
          NYSLRS

          Reply
    2. Barbara A.Thompson

      I am a tier 3-4 retiree. I recently became aware that my summer employment in the 60s could have qualified as a different tier. Is there anything I can do to change this now that I am retired and receiving NYS pension?

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        Unfortunately, no. Now that you are retired, you cannot be reinstated to a different tier or earn additional service credit.

        Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We’re glad you find it helpful. Feel free to share it with other NYSLRS members you know – they’ll probably find it helpful too.

      Thanks
      NYSLRS

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Mary Ellen,

      If you’re a New York State employee, or if your employer has adopted Section 41(j) for the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) or 341(j) for the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) of the Retirement and Social Security Law, you may be eligible for this credit.

      You can check page 4 of your Member Annual Statement to see if it’s available to you or, if you don’t have your Statement, you can contact us via this email form: https://nysosc9.osc.state.ny.us/product/ccsub.nsf/fsWeb?OpenFrameset. One of our representatives will contact you within 3 to 5 business days.

      We hope this helps,

      NYSLRS

      Reply
  2. Robert Medwig

    The chart isn’t exactly correct. Many of us who were in Tier 3 paid our 3% for longer than 10 years (it was supposed to be a permanent contribution). When Tier 3 was the last tier formed, it also contained a “social security” offset which was reduce your pension by 50% of what you would collect from Social Security when eligible. In other words, when Tier 4 was formed, it was much better than Tier 3. Somewhere in the 1990s, legislation in Albany gave the same benefits to Tier 3 personnel as it was giving to Tier 4. In the end, many Tier 4 personnel paid into the system for less time than did Tier 3 people. There was never any offer to the Tier 3 people to give them back anything for the extra time that they contributed. Kind of like the senior citizens who fall into “the donut hole”.

    Reply
    1. Norma Barone

      Same as Robert, contributed much much longer than 10 yrs, there should be some sort of increase in our retirement benefits calculated on how much longer we paid in than the others and of course by earnings. I worked until age 56 with 35.4 yrs in, started in 1979, any idea what year the contribution (10%) stopped?

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS Post author

        The legislation that eliminated contributions for Tier 3 and 4 members after ten years of credited service (or ten years of membership) became effective on October 1, 2000. Unfortunately, there was no provision in that legislation to refund contributions made before that time or provide extra compensation at retirement.

        There has been legislation proposed since 2000 to either refund or provide additional benefits for those members who contributed for more than ten years. However, such legislation has not been enacted into law. The decision on whether to adopt benefit enhancements, such as this type of proposal, lies solely with the Legislature and the Governor.

        Reply
  3. Mary Donahue

    I notice the chart didn’t mention that most of Tier 3 and many Tier 4 members contribute 3% of their salary way past 10 years, some more than 20 years. Will there be compensation for the inequity?

    Reply
  4. NYSLRS Post author

    Robert & Mary,

    When the Legislature created Tier 3 in 1976 and Tier 4 in 1983, it provided that membership would be contributory. Subsequently, the Legislature approved a bill, which became Chapter 126 of the Laws of 2000, which eliminated contributions for Tier 3 and 4 members after ten years of credited service or ten years of membership on or after October 1, 2000. There was no provision in the legislation to refund contributions before that date. Here’s the specific language in Chapter 126:

    “No contribution made to a retirement system by an eligible employee prior to the eligible employee’s cessation date shall be refunded, except as otherwise allowable pursuant to article fourteen or fifteen of this chapter.”

    Since Tier 3 had been established in 1976, there are some members, such as you, who had contributed for more than the 10 years. There has been legislation proposed frequently since 2000 to either refund or provide additional benefits for those members who contributed for more than ten years. However, such legislation has not been enacted into law.

    The decision on whether to adopt benefit enhancements, such as this type of proposal, lies solely with the State Legislature and the Governor. The Comptroller’s responsibility is to administer provisions of the Retirement and Social Security Law and to analyze the fiscal implications of bills affecting the Retirement System. Given the current fiscal climate, the added cost is likely to be a major factor in future consideration of any such legislation. Nevertheless, we suggest you express your support for consideration of such a measure to your State Senate and Assembly representatives.

    We hope this information is helpful.

    NYSLRS

    Reply
    1. Robert Medwig

      The only reason that I commented on the chart was to have someone correct it. As this issue has come up in my conversations with others in the retirement system, I think that the information here ought to be correct. The chart implies that those in Tier 3 only contributed for 10 years when that is obviously incorrect.

      Reply
  5. Leo Dalpe

    I have contributed to the retirement system significantly longer than 10 years in my 35 years of state service. Why am I and others in my situation being penalized with excess contributions?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Leo,

      Thanks for your question. When the Legislature created Tier 3 in 1976 and Tier 4 in 1983, the law provided that membership would be contributory. In 2000, the Legislature created a law that eliminated contributions for Tier 3 and 4 members after ten years of credited service or ten years of membership on or after October 1, 2000. Unfortunately, there was no provision in the law to refund contributions made before that time. We’ve had other members ask us this same question – you can find a more detailed response on the comment we made in this post on March 23, 2015.

      We hope you find this helpful.

      NYSLRS

      Reply
  6. Tina

    Very Helpful chart and blog. I see you even footnoted the “10 year contribution” to address the concerns above. Many thanks for your good work on keeping this site current.
    I am so thankful and grateful everyday for being part of the greatest state-employee defined pension system in the world.

    Reply
  7. Timothy Faughnan

    Is there a percentage of FAS cap placed on retirement benefits for Tier 3 retirees? I see in some tiers the maximum benefit is 70% of FAS, but I do not see this limit on the Tier 3 chart.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Timothy,

      There is no maximum percentage of Final Average Salary (FAS) for Tier 3 members who retire under Article 15. A Tier 3 member who retires with over 30 years of service would receive a benefit of 2 percent of their FAS for the first 30 years, and 1.5 percent for every year beyond 30 with no cap.

      NYSLRS

      Reply
  8. ALBIN J. SYNOWIEZ

    I enjoyed reading these comments, because I’ve lived most of them since i started working in this system in 1984.

    Reply
  9. Therese Aquilina

    I am a Tier 3 member – age 55 with 21 years of service. Can I change from Full time to part time and still receive my highest 3 years salary for retirement at age 62?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Theresa,

      Yes, since the Final Average Salary (FAS) for Tier 3 members such as yourself is based on the highest average of wages earned during any three consecutive years, the highest three consecutive years will be used for your retirement calculation, even if you earn less due to changing to part-time employment after that period of time.

      We hope this information is useful to you,

      NYSLRS

      Reply
  10. Rob

    I was tier 4 with over ten years service and more than 180 days unused sick leave when I left state employment in 2000. I have not yet retired. The chart implies that there is a “sick leave credit” Can I apply for such credit when I retire?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Rob,

      Although Section 41(j) of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) does provide an optional sick leave benefit, the Retirement & Social Security Law does not permit eligible members to receive it if they are off the payroll for more than one year.

      We hope this answers your question,

      NYSLRS

      Reply
  11. Elaine logan

    I am a tier 3 city worker with 28 years service I am 56 yrs old can I retire before 62? And If I do what will be the penalty?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      With the exception of those retiring under special retirement plans, Tier 3 NYSLRS members can retire any time on or after their 55th birthday. If you have at least 30 years of service, you can retire without penalty even if you’re not 62 years old yet, however Tier 3 members who retire before age 62 with less than 30 years of service do have an early age reduction. Review this table about early age benefit reductions if you’re considering retiring before you have 30 years of service credit.

      Reply
  12. Susan Louie

    I am an institutional teacher at DOCCS looking at retirement. Will my FAS be calculated on top three year earnings of a fiscal year running from April 1-March 31 without regard to the school year and the ten month calendar? how exactly does that work? I asked another retiring teacher and they didn’t know either!

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We don’t use a fiscal year (or calendar year) when calculating your Final Average Salary; we use your highest three consecutive years’ worth of earnings. This is usually your last three years of employment, in which case we would use your earnings starting from your chosen date of retirement and going back three years.

      If you’re looking at retiring soon, you may wish to send us a Request for Estimate form (RS6030). After processing your form, we’ll mail you an estimate, based on a date of retirement that you choose, that will provide you with information about your retirement benefit, your estimated FAS and the approximate amount you can expect to receive under each of the standard retirement options. You can print the form from our website at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/forms/rs6030.pdf.

      Reply
  13. michelle putney

    I am tier 5 because of my membership date I have bought back over 13 years of services and heading into my 18 year . At the time of my employment the retirement system was never explained to me because we were told we didn’t work enough hours so we didn’t need it .Yes I know young and foolish is there anyway to get my membership back dated to tier 4.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Your date of membership and your tier are based on the date you joined the Retirement System. If you didn’t actually join the Retirement System when you were first employed by a public employer, the law does not allow us to backdate your membership.

      Correction (12/7/15): A member’s tier may be changed if NYSLRS membership was mandatory, but the member did not join at the time employment began.

      Reply
    2. Katherine

      I am in the same situation. I have to buy back 15 years. Did you find out any other information on going back into tier4?

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      For many Tier 1, 3, 4 and 5 members, payment for unused vacation, not to exceed 30 days, may be included in your FAS calculation. The lump sum vacation payment increases your earnings for the year in which the payment is made.

      For example, if you earn $35,000 per year for each of the three years before you retire, and you receive a lump sum vacation payment of $4,000, your last year of earnings for FAS purposes would be $39,000.

      Bear in mind though, for most members, the earnings used in the FAS calculation can be affected by earnings limitations. Please visit our Final Average Salary webpage for more details about FAS and earnings limitations by tier.

      Reply
  14. Bill Dornfeild

    Bill,

    At 50 years of age I will have 31 years in the NYS Retirement system. Can I retire and if I can, what kind of penalties are there? I know it is 30 and 55 with no penalty.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      With the exception of those who retire under special retirement plans, NYSLRS members can retire any time on or after their 55th birthday. Once you are 55 years old with at least 30 years of service credit, you can file for retirement without penalty.

      However, if you’re considering leaving public service before you reach retirement age, and then filing for your retirement benefit at 55, there are some things you should be aware of. If you’re off the payroll of your employer for more than one year, you lose the option of using your sick leave for additional service credits (if your employer offers this benefit), and you lose your post-retirement death benefit and survivor’s benefit.

      You should contact an information representative for more information if this is an option you’re considering.

      Reply
      1. Bill Dornfeild

        So in other words I cannot start collecting at 50 years of age with a penalty? I would have to wait until 55 with no penalty? Is there any talk of an early incentive?

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          Assuming you aren’t in a special retirement plan, that is correct – you can’t file for retirement at age 50 with a penalty. You can file for retirement any time on or after your 55th birthday.

          At this time, we are unaware of any discussions about retirement incentives. The New York State Legislature occasionally enacts retirement incentive programs, which must be approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. The Retirement System administers programs that are signed into law. We’ll notify your employer if the Legislature makes an incentive program available.

          Reply
        2. Kathy

          We need a Rule of 80 passed in the legislature so those who have 30 years in by the time they reach 50 y/o can retire without penalty!

          Reply
  15. ace

    is there a contribution refund if i retire at age over 62 tier 4 on 55/25 plan with more than 30 years of service??? thanks.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We’re not sure what you mean by a 55/25 plan for Tier 4 members. Tier 4 ERS members must contribute for 10 full years, or until their date of membership is 10 years old, whichever occurs first. There is no refund of contributions for members who retire with a certain number of years of service. For more information about retirement contributions (including requirements for other tiers and members in special 20- or 25-year plans), please visit our Member Contributions webpage. Or, if you would like one of our information representatives to contact you, please email us using the Contact Us page of our website: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/contact_us/index.php#email

      Reply
  16. Tim

    I have credited service in 1979 which would be Tier 3. I am in the system as a Tier 4 since that was what was available when I began my full time career in 1986.

    Is there any advantage to buying back (if possible) to tier 3?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      In most cases your pension amount will be greater under the Tier 4 benefit calculation, so there would be no advantage to changing your tier to Tier 3. Also, you would not be eligible to change your tier unless you joined a public retirement system in New York State prior to the beginning of Tier 4.

      Because your retirement benefit is in part based on how much total service credit you have, purchasing service credit would, in most cases, increase your retirement benefit. If you have not already received credit with NYSLRS for your 1979 service, please visit our webpage; Get Credit for All Your Public Service for more information and instructions on how to apply.

      Reply
  17. Steve S

    My wife was in tier 4 with one year of service credit, she left to have and raise our second child. She was forced after 7 years ti withdrawl from the retirement system . She recently went back to the work force and applied for reinstaement and was denied. Are there any special rules covering possible reinstatement?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      In most cases, as long as a member joined the Retirement System, they are able to reinstate their tier to their earliest date of membership. We recommend that an Information Representative review your wife’s account. Please direct her to our Contact Us page, where she can email us her account and contact information, and her questions about possible tier reinstatement.

      Reply
  18. Elaine

    My employer is trying to pull out of the Nys retirement system hoping for end of 2016, I turn 55 in September & was planning on retiring with 33 years in system, rumor has it they may offer something to the employees, I have to question, can they offer some thing on their own? Wouldn’t it have to be approved through NYS Retirement, would it be worth holding off retirement say if additional time granted to add on years service credit?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Unfortunately, we’re not sure what you mean when you say your employer is trying to pull out of NYSLRS. By law, once an employer becomes a participant in the Retirement System, that employer can’t terminate its participation.

      Statewide retirement incentives are approved by the state legislature, not by the Retirement System. Some employers do choose to offer their employees an incentive to retire, but an employer-initiated incentive cannot change your retirement calculation by offering you additional service credit. An employer-specific incentive may, for example, provide a lump sum payout, but payments made as an incentive to retire won’t be included in your NYSLRS pension. Only you can decide when it’s the right time to retire, so you might want to contact us so we can look into your account and discuss specifics with you.

      Reply
      1. Jeanmarie Bicknell

        Is there any truth to the rumor about an retirement incentive I am retiring in nov 2016 , I would hate to miss out on that

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          At this time, we’re not aware of any discussions about retirement incentives. The New York State Legislature (not NYSLRS) occasionally enacts retirement incentive programs, which are approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. The Retirement System administers programs that are signed into law. We’ll notify your employer if the Legislature makes a State incentive program available.

          Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you have a copy of your most recent Member Annual Statement, check out page 6 to see your Projected Benefits & Retirement Options. You can see examples of the monthly benefit you could expect to receive for several different age ranges. You can also use our Benefit Projector Calculator to estimate your pension based on information you enter. Have your Member Statement available as you enter information.

      But if you don’t have a copy available, you can always contact us for a benefit projection. You can email us from our Contact Us page (include your estimated retirement date and the name and birth date of your intended beneficiary). In most cases, the projection can be mailed out to your home address on the next business day.

      Reply
  19. Steven

    Is there anyway you could take a poll to see who would opt for early incentive retirement.. Most of the people I work with in tier 3 & 4 would gladly take the incentive.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Thank you for sharing that idea. At this time, we are not aware of any discussions about retirement incentives. The New York State Legislature (not NYSLRS) occasionally passes laws to offer retirement incentive programs, which must be signed into law by the Governor. NYSLRS then administers the incentive programs that are signed into law.

      Reply
  20. Valle

    Does having a deduction for a medical Flexible Spending Account affect one’s FAS calculation? My understanding is that it does not because gross pay is what is reported by the employer but I heard a comment to the contrary.

    Reply
  21. Scott

    If I was a tier 4 in 2002 and left for 11 years, now working for same employer again staring in 2014. I purchased my prior service. Does that make me eligible to retire in 2032 if I have reached 55 without penalty? Or do I have to still work 30 years from 2014?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Your purchased credit would count towards your 30 years, assuming you are in a regular plan in which all NYSLRS employment is creditable. Tier 4 members can retire as early as age 55 with no penalty as long as they have 30 total years of credited NYSLRS service. Any time when you were not paid by an NYSLRS employer would not count.

      Please view your retirement plan booklet on our Publications page for information specific to your plan and tier. Your plan and tier information can be found in your Member Annual Statement. Your Member Annual Statement will also tell you how many total years of service credit you have.

      Reply
  22. annon

    If the state comes out with a retirement incentive, is it possible the incentive would be age plus years of service equals 80 and is it possible they would calculate final average salary using on the three highest years and not the ten percent rule?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We’re sorry, but we’re unable to comment on your inquiry. We are not aware of any discussions about retirement incentives. The New York State Legislature (not NYSLRS) occasionally enacts retirement incentive programs, which are approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. NYSLRS then administers programs that are signed into law. We’ll notify your employer if the Legislature enacts any state-wide incentive programs.

      Reply
  23. Craig Heller

    I currently work for SUNY and earn 1 credit year of service per year. I also work at a P/T job that has ERS, I pay there too, Am I able to earn more that 1 year towards my 10 years if I add the credits together (not for years of service towards retirement)? My statement says that I have 7.8 YOS and entered the system in 2004 (P/T job) and my full time job I started in 2009. So do I have 11 YOS or the 7.8. Do i still need to pay in?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Even though you work one full-time position and a part-time position at the same time, you can only be credited one year of service per year, whether it’s to stop paying contributions sooner or to increase your total service credit.

      However, being reported twice does increase your total reported salary. If you are still working two positions when you near retirement, it will most likely increase your Final Average Salary.

      Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          Yes. A Tier 3 or 4 member is required to contribute 3 percent of their gross earnings toward their retirement benefits until they have either:

          • Accrued ten years of service credit; or
          • Been a member of the Retirement System for ten years after their date of membership.
          Reply
  24. City Worker

    I am a NYC employee and am a member of NYCERS in Tier 4. (I have been a NYC employee since 2002, I joined NYCERS in 2011 and bought back all of my time.) If I left NYC employment and took a job with a county elsewhere in NY that participated in NYSLRS, would I be able to transfer to Tier 4 of NYSLRS? Would this cost me anything, and would I immediately cease all contributions since I would be transferring more than 10 years of service time?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      As a new NYSLRS member, you would at first be registered as a Tier 6 member. If you then transfer your membership from NYCERS to NYSLRS, your NYSLRS Tier will be determined by your earliest date of membership.

      Based on the information you provided, this would most likely be Tier 5, which covers Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members who joined from January 1, 2010 through March 31, 2012. ERS Tier 5 members are required to contribute 3 percent of their gross earnings toward their retirement benefits for all their years of public service, though there are some exceptions.

      We recommend you email one of our representative via our secure form if you would like to further discuss NYSLRS Tier 5 benefits before leaving employment with NYCERS. You may also find our NYSLRS Tier 5 plan booklet helpful.

      Reply
      1. City Worker

        Thank you for the response. Due to different date ranges, it looks like 2011 is tier 4 for nycers but tier 5 for nyslrs. Since I am in tier 4 now, would I retain that status if I transferred my membership, or would I get moved to tier 5? And is it merely a transfer of service time, or would I potentially have to pay money into nyslrs since nycers tier 4 contributions are less than nyslrs tier 5 contributions?
        Thank you.

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          If you do transfer your membership from NYCERS to NYSLRS, your date of membership will be changed to the date of membership you had in NYCERS. If applicable, your membership tier will also change. As we mentioned previously, your new NYSLRS tier would most likely be ERS Tier 5.

          Transferring your membership from NYCERS would bring your previous service credit over to NYSLRS. If you need more specific information about transferring your NYCERS membership into NYSLRS, please email us via our secure form so that a customer service representative can help you.

          Reply
  25. Kathleen

    Why is the ‘Reported Salary’ on the OSC retirement page so much lower than the actual salary? Is the FAS based on this (lower) reported salary or the (higher) contractual amount, pre-deductions?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Could you please let us know what webpage you were looking at? If you copy and paste that link into a reply to us, it would help us answer your question.

      Reply
      1. Kathleen

        I called and spoke to someone at the retirement system; she confirmed that my agency made an error. My employer *should have* submitted gross wage information, and instead it submitted federal taxable wage information. That’s a mistake worth catching! Thanks for your help, though.

        Reply
  26. Chris

    If anyone could help me I would greatly appreciate it. I was hired under nyc tier 3 January of 2010 and in September of 2014 I transferred to state police and fire tier 6 (Which I’m being told I will be switched to tier 5). However, my question relates to years of service. I’m being told as of right now my 5 years and 9 months of city time will not count whatsoever, as if I didn’t work a single second? So my time WILL count to change my tier, however I lose all that time when it comes to years of service? I understand I’m moving into a 20 year pension, which is slightly different, but nobody can figure out how to pro-rate the time already served? Any solid information would be greatly appreciated by not only myself, but my family. Thank you for your time.
    -Chris

    Reply
  27. Linda

    Hello,
    Do you know if there might be any consideration for a retirement incentive (ie 55/25) within the next few years say in 2019? And if not, what can a member do to lobby for such?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      At this time, we’re not aware of any discussions about retirement incentives. The New York State Legislature (not NYSLRS) occasionally enacts retirement incentive programs, which are approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. The Retirement System administers programs that are signed into law. We’ll notify your employer if the Legislature makes any State incentive program available.

      Reply
  28. Kris

    how is part time employment calculated towards years of service for Tier 6.. Working 67% of a full time schedule? Working a 5 day work week?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Service credit is prorated for actual time worked if the service is less than full-time. Your employer calculates the number of days you work and reports that information to us. If you are working 67% of a full-time schedule, you would be credited with 0.67 of a year each year. For most Employees’ Retirement System members, your member annual statement, which goes out every spring, provides the amount of service credit you earned over the last fiscal year, as well as your total service credit with NYSLRS.

      Reply
  29. David

    Is there a cap on my final average percentage I’m currently tr4 with 32 years at age 58 will my percentage go up 1.5% each year until I retire?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Tier 4 members with 30 or more years of service can retire without a reduction starting at age 55. As a Tier 4 member, your benefit will equal 2 percent of your final average salary (FAS) for the first 30 years, and then 1.5 percent of your FAS for each year beyond 30, until you retire, with no maximum percentage of your FAS.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You could be referring to a severance package that an employer might offer. Requirements and the calculation would be up to the employer. Payments made in anticipation of retirement (such as a “buyout”, or a lump sum incentive to retire) would not be considered regular compensation and would not be included in your average salary for retirement calculation purposes.

      Reply
  30. Mary

    I am a Tier 6 employee who bought back 6 months of credit from many years ago. Can that 6 months of credit be applied at the start of my time so I’m bumped back into Tier 5?
    Also, as a 57-year-old with just 4 years of state service, I only expect to work a total of 10-15 years in the state system. I realize my pension will be small compared to the folks with 30-years in, but when will the Tier 6 calculator be posted so that i can have inkling of what my pension would be? Is there any way for me to figure that now – even using my current salary?
    (Sorry for posting on a Tier 3-4 entry, but I’m pleased to see that someone is responding to all inquiries.)

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      For service earned before you joined a public retirement system, the additional credit may increase your retirement benefit, but it would not change your tier or date of membership.

      Though our web calculator cannot currently project benefits for Tier 6 members, you can calculate your benefit based on your current salary. If you plan to be over age 63 when you retire, you would have no early age reduction, and your benefit would simply be 1.66% of your average salary for each year of service. With 10 years of service, for example, your benefit would be 16.6% of your salary. There are limitations on your average salary calculation that you should be aware of, and you can read about those and read more about your benefit calculation in your Tier 6 plan booklet.

      Reply
  31. hazel a Milne

    Hello I will be 55 with 25 years service I two years can I retire then? I always thought it was 25 yrs service now I see posts about 55 and 30 yrs and am very distresses. I am tier 4 niagara county

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      In order for a Tier 3 or 4 ERS member to retire before age 62 with no reduction, they must have 30 years of service. For more information about how this retirement plan works, you can read the ERS Tier 3 and 4 Plan Booklet on our website.

      Your Member Annual Statement, which you should receive in the spring, should give you a few retirement benefit projections based on your retirement plan, your salary, and your service credit. Often the projections will be based on milestones that are important to you, for example, your statement might have a projection for when you reach age 55 and one for when you reach 30 years of service so that you can see the difference in the benefit amount.

      If you would like information specific to your account, you can email us using our secure email form, and a customer service representative can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely provide you with the member-specific information you need. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
  32. james

    i am presently 52 and have 17 years in the system (teir 4)I have some health issues and hope to make it to 55 years of age giving me 20 years. Will there still be a reduction in my retirement

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      In order for a Tier 4 ERS member to retire before age 62 with no reduction, they must have 30 years of service. For reduction amounts and more information about how this retirement plan works, you can read the ERS Tier 3 and 4 Plan Booklet on our website.

      For most ERS members, your Member Annual Statement, which goes out in the spring, should give you a few different retirement benefit projections based on your retirement plan and your current salary. You can also use our online benefit projector calculator, which will estimate how much your retirement benefit might be based on information you enter.

      Reply
  33. Gary wemette

    Is there a social security offset for tier 3 or 4 members in the A15 plan? I know in the A14CO plan there is not. But I belong to both plans and am going to work until I am 55 to benefit from the A15 plan since it will pay me more. I hate to think the extra years I work will only reduce my benefits at when I reach social security age.

    Reply
  34. Ian

    According to the NYSLRS web site,
    “Public Employees Federation (PEF) and Managerial/Confidential (M/C) Members
    Although reduced earnings will be reported to us for fiscal years 2011–2012 and 2012–2013, the salary will be repaid. If the reduction or repayment period falls within your FAS calculation, the repaid salary will be included and there will be no impact on your FAS.”

    I retired in 2015, and my FAS was calculated using the REDUCED salary I received during the reduction period. I have been trying unsuccessfully for 9 months (3 letters by US Mail, and one email) to get an answer to the question as to exactly how my FAS was calculated, since it is LESS than the salary I received BEFORE the reduction plan, and I was employed fulltime from 2011 – 2013. It would be helpful to post an explanation. I suspect many of us who retired near 2014 had the same problem.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you retired in 2015, your FAS should have been calculated using an unreduced salary. When you retired we would have sent a letter to your employer asking them to explain any lump sum payments you received, including your retroactive check for the Deficit Reduction Plan. Keep in mind that unless you retired at the end of a calendar year, your FAS years will not match your W-2.

      Since the salary reduction for fiscal years 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 were repaid beginning in 2015, we should have applied the repaid salary to the appropriate time period, and there should have been no impact on your FAS.

      In order to get you the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using this secure email form (see link below), and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Enter your question in the Comment field of the form. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      https://nysosc9.osc.state.ny.us/product/ccsub.nsf/fsWeb?OpenFrameset

      Reply
        1. Ian

          Unfortunately, I am back to square zero. I sent an email with my registration information and wad told that my final salary has not yet been calculated! It was calculated in 2016, and I would like it to be reviewed. I assumed that whoever looked at my details on the computer would realize that I am already retired. Perhaps my request was not clear. PLEASE HELP.
          Thank you.

          Reply
          1. NYSLRS Post author

            Unfortunately, the NYSLRS Social Media Team does not have access to your retirement account information, but we can give you some general information.

            Because of the many variables that are often involved in verifying service and salary details with your former employer, finalizing a retirement benefit amount can take some time.

            When our NYSLRS members retire, we send partial payments during the time it takes to finalize their calculation. If you were told that your final average salary (FAS) has not yet been calculated, you are probably still receiving partial payments, even though your retirement date has passed. Once we’ve finalized your benefit amount, you will receive a retroactive payment of the difference between the partial payment and the final payment, back to your date of retirement, and a letter telling you what your final FAS amount is.

            For more details about what happens after your date of retirement, please read the Retirement Process – Step by Step section of our booklet, How Do I Prepare to Retire (VO1709, http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/vo1709.php#process).

            If you have specific questions about your NYSLRS account, please email our customer service representatives using this secure email form (https://nysosc9.osc.state.ny.us/product/ccsub.nsf/fsWeb?OpenFrameset
            ), and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions.

  35. Paul Wesolowski

    Upon becoming disabled, I attempted to apply for disability retirement . I was sent on a ” wild goose chase ” until I was eventually , apparently TIME BLOCKED!
    Anyone else get screwed like this?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you currently have an open disability case with NYSLRS, we suggest you contact one of our customer service representatives to find out the status of your case. Write your question in the Comment field of our secure email form (link below) and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      https://nysosc9.osc.state.ny.us/product/ccsub.nsf/fsWeb?OpenFrameset

      Reply
  36. Jean Quaranto

    I have also paid into Tier 3 many years more than 10 years …started in 1979 and i get nothing more for it…that’s simply extremely unfair! If we cannot get our money back we should at least get more in our monthly pension checks! I have lobbied in Albany a few times for this and all i get is they agree it’s unfair but nothing can be done…very frustrating that some of us paid over double than others and we get ignored and forgotten. I’m thinking class action lawsuit…who’s in???

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      When the Legislature created Tier 3 in 1976 and Tier 4 in 1983, the law provided that membership would be contributory. In 2000, the Legislature created a law that eliminated contributions for Tier 3 and 4 members after ten years of credited service or ten years of membership on or after October 1, 2000. Unfortunately, there was no provision in the law to refund contributions made before that time or provide extra compensation at retirement.

      The decision on whether to adopt benefit enhancements, such as this type of proposal, lies solely with the State Legislature and the Governor. The Comptroller’s responsibility is to administer provisions of the Retirement and Social Security Law and to analyze the fiscal implications of bills affecting the Retirement System. The cost is likely to be a major factor in future consideration of any such legislation; nevertheless, we suggest you continue to express your support for consideration of such a measure to your State Senate and Assembly representatives.

      Reply
      1. Anne Polanowski

        It would be great if those of us who contributed all those extra years could be compensated with time toward retirement OR an elimination or reduction of early retirement penalties.

        Reply
  37. John R.

    A new law was enacted about military peace time vets. buying back service credits towards there retirement benefits. How come this does not apply to retired peace time vets. We earned that right, also we pay for the increased benefit, its not given to us for free.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      When the recent military service credit law was passed, unfortunately, it did not include provisions for NYSLRS retirees.

      The decision on whether to adopt benefit enhancements or pass legislation lies solely with the State Legislature and the Governor. NYSLRS administers legislation and programs after they are signed into law.

      Reply
  38. Michael

    I recently received my annual retirement statement. It credits me with 12 years of service credit. I was employed by Warren county sheriffs office as a patrol officer for 9 years and switched to NYS police 3.5 years ago. My date of entry with the Warren county was 4/5/04 which is on my statement in which I am tier 2. The tier 4 plan I was in with ERS was 20 year plan w/ 1/60th. Does this time count towards my state police retirement ?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      In order to get you the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form, and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Write your question in the Comment field of the form. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
  39. Edwin Martinez

    Is there any way I can keep my pension and move to another state with the 55/25 year program or does it only apply to New York residents?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      That depends on how many years of service you have and what NYSLRS retirement plan you are in. But in order to get you the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form, and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
  40. Dawn M

    Unfortunately my mom passed away recently and she was tier 4 a15. Retired because of a disability after 10 or 11 years working. I tried to read the publication on the death benefits and still confused about it. Can you explain in a different way where I can understand it better as far as benifits for beneficiaries. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      There are a few different possible benefits that could be payable depending on what payment option your mom chose, who she worked for and if she retired directly from payroll.

      If you haven’t already, you should contact NYSLRS to report the death. We will ask for a death certificate to be mailed to us. Once we receive it, we will notify the beneficiaries in writing of any death benefits due, and send them forms to complete to claim the benefit.

      If you need to report your mom’s passing, if you have your mother’s retirement, registration or Social Security number, you can email us using our secure email form. In your email, please be sure to provide your address and phone number(s). You could also complete and mail in a Notification of Death form (RS6082) rather than emailing or calling us.

      In the meantime, please check out the death benefits section of the Tier 4 booklet. Hopefully this will help answer some of the questions you have.

      Reply
      1. Dawn M

        She has been on a disability retirement since 2011 or 2012. I believe her last day at work was April 1st 2011 and she was officially considered retired. She did all her paperwork 3 months before leaving her government job for the disability retirement at age 54. She had to wait until she turned 55 in a few months to start receiving her benefits. Death certificate has already been turned in and uploaded since July 19, 2016. I’ve called them and they will not give me any detailed information. Me and my brother are the only beneficiaries on her application. I hope I didn’t confuse you.

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          Unfortunately, it is true that NYSLRS cannot release detailed death benefit information by phone or by email. If we have your mom’s death certificate already, the named beneficiaries will receive a letter in the mail with specific death benefit details. It often takes at least a few weeks though before those letters go out, especially if there was a disability claim in process.

          Reply
  41. Joy

    Is sick time only used to give you credit to your insurance at retirement time or can it also be used as credit to your retirement date.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      While it may be possible to receive health insurance credit at retirement (you would check with New York State Civil Service for health insurance questions), you may also receive service credit for your unused, unpaid sick leave days at retirement, if your employer has chosen to offer this benefit.

      To be eligible, you must retire directly from public service or within a year of separating from service. Credit for your unused sick leave at retirement cannot be used to increase your retirement benefit beyond the maximum amount payable under your retirement plan. It also can’t be used to reach a pension milestone, such as to become vested, to reach a special retirement plan milestone or a better retirement benefit calculation. In other words, if you need to reach 30 years of service in order to retire without an early age reduction, you would need to reach the 30 years first, and then the sick leave credit would be added.

      You can check your Member Annual Statement to see if your employer offers this benefit. For more information, please read the Sick Leave Benefit section of our publication How Do I Prepare to Retire?

      Reply
  42. Rylanda Bruno

    I am n tier 4 and have 30 years of service but am not yet 55 but I want to freeze my time … My questions is will I be able to collect my retirement at age 55 with out being penalized if I leave now ?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you have at least 30 years of service, you will receive the full retirement benefit, even if you go off the payroll and wait until you are 55 to retire. Also, there is nothing you need to do now to “freeze” your time. It will be waiting for you when you are ready to apply for retirement.

      Certain benefits, however, may be affected, depending on how long you are off the payroll. If you are off the payroll for more than one year prior to your date of retirement, you will not be eligible for the post-retirement death benefit, or for sick leave credits (if your employer offers this benefit).

      For retirement account-specific information about what would happen if you left public employment before age 55, please email us using our secure email form and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      If you’re nearing retirement, you may also want to meet with one of our information representatives. They will be able to answer any of the questions you have about your retirement. To make an appointment for a consultation, please email us using the link above. Please be sure to provide a daytime phone number where a representative can reach you.

      In the meantime you can also check out your retirement plan book, available on our Publications page.

      Reply
  43. Daniel Lynch

    I am former NYS Court Officer. I now work for the NYC department of Sanitation. I was hired as a court officer under the tier 4 pension system. In September 2012 I became a NYC Sanitation Worker and was told I would be under tier 4. I’m now being told I am in tier 6. Is this correct?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) and the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) are separate retirement systems. However, it may be possible for you to transfer your membership from NYSLRS, where you were a Tier 4 member, to NYCERS, where you are currently a Tier 6 member, and have your date of membership in NYCERS changed.

      In order to transfer your membership from NYSLRS to NYCERS, you must be off the payroll in NYSLRS. Then, you can send us a request to transfer your membership to NYCERS. When the transfer is completed, your date of membership in NYCERS will be changed to the date of membership you had when you were with NYSLRS, if it’s earlier than your current date of membership. If applicable, your membership tier will also change.

      Before you consider transferring your membership, please read the following about transferring your membership.

      If you have questions about how this could affect your NYSLRS membership, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response. You may want to contact NYCERS to speak to them as well.

      If you do choose to transfer your NYSLRS membership over to NYCERS, please fill out and submit the Application for Transfer of Membership (RS5233) form to NYSLRS.

      Reply
  44. Sandra

    I was wondering, if I bought my tier back from a 6 to a 4. And my ten years of service is September of 2017. As far as retirement goes, do those 10 years count (as in I’m 31 now but ten years prior would make me 21) so I can retire without penalty at 51 with 30 years or is it actually 30 years worked? So I would have to retire without penalty at 61?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you first joined NYSLRS during Tier 4, you may be able to change your tier from Tier 6 to Tier 4.

      You may be able to buy back time if you worked for a public employer, but you cannot buy back time that you didn’t work for a public employer. In other words, if you only worked for a short period of time when you were a Tier 4 member, you can receive credit for that short time period and use it towards your 30 years, but you do need to actually work 30 years with NYSLRS employers in order to retire without penalty.

      Tier 4 members also need to be at least age 55 before they can retire.

      If you will reach 10 years of membership in September 2017 (10 years since you first joined, assuming you go back to Tier 4), you would no longer be required to pay in retirement contributions, even though you would not have 10 full-time years of service credit yet.

      The NYSLRS Social Media Team does not have access to your personal account information, but we suggest that you email our customer service representatives using our secure email form to ask about changing from Tier 6 to Tier 4, and to ask any questions you may have about paying membership contributions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
      1. Sandra

        Thanks so much for your reply– I understand it perfectly now. I already applied to reinstate my tier and received notification that I could buy back my time. I just sent in my payment coupon for payroll deductions. Thanks again for your quick response– trying to call the 1-866 number can be frustrating because you are on hold for a while

        Reply
  45. Lisa W.

    Question
    If someone left NYC city service (with only 2 more years left to retire at age 62) to go to the NYS pension system, how long would they have to work for the state until they were eligible to retire?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      In some cases, there may be a minimum number of years that a person has to work in their new retirement system before they can retire, but unfortunately, the NYSLRS Social Media team does not have access to your retirement account information.

      Please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form, and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Please provide your job titles and who your employers were for both the New York City retirement system and the New York State retirement system. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
  46. Tim

    I am 54 now and part of the NYSLRS. I am Tier 4 and presently have 15 years of service credit. If I quit now can I have all of my 900 hours of sick leave apply to my monthly health insurance premium when I formally file for retirement at 55 next May 15th 2017? I work at a Section (41j) designated facility. I will pay the COBRA premium for the next 8 months if I leave now.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      While it may be possible to use your sick leave credits for additional NYSLRS service credit at retirement (under Section 41-j), we unfortunately can’t speak to how your sick leave might affect your health insurance premiums. NYSLRS does not administer health insurance programs.

      If you are a State employee, any questions you have concerning health insurance coverage in retirement should be directed to the New York State Department of Civil Service. You may also be able to find helpful information in the New York State Civil Service publication, Health Insurance Coverage and Related Benefits (PDF).

      If you are a non-State employee, please contact your employer health insurance benefits administrator.

      Reply
  47. Lori ford

    I’m looking for the forms I need to fill out to remove the existing beneficiary a from my retirement I have three listed I would like to have them removed the forms that were sent to me are RS5127 they are not correct my user ID is R1070 thank you

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      There are different beneficiary forms for members and retirees, and specific rules about when you can change your beneficiaries. Unfortunately, the NYSLRS Social Media team does not have access to your retirement account information.

      In order to get you the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form, and one of our representatives can review your account, address your questions, and provide you with the correct beneficiary form you need. Filling out the secure email form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      At this time, we’re not aware of any discussions about statewide retirement incentives. The New York State Legislature (not NYSLRS) occasionally enacts these retirement incentive programs, which are approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. The Retirement System administers programs that are signed into law. We’ll notify your employer if the Legislature makes a State incentive program available.

      However, individual employers may choose to offer incentives to their employees, but it’s important to note that these individual employer incentives will not affect a member’s NYSLRS pension benefits.

      Reply
  48. Frank Lazqua

    Hi, I am considering retiring in 2017. Concerning the pension calculations for retirement, do they use the “best” 3 out of 5 yrs? If my best 3 years were 2006 to 09, will those years be considered for FAS calculations?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Assuming you are an ERS Tier 3 or 4 member, your Final Average Salary (FAS) will be calculated based on wages earned during your highest three consecutive years. If your highest three years were 2006 to 2009, those are the years we’ll use.

      Visit our Final Average Salary for more information, including FAS limitations and calculation examples.

      Reply
  49. Unsure

    I am currently a NYC employee and member of NYCERS. I have over 10 years in NYCERS but joined NYCERS in March 2012.

    If I became a NYS employee and transferred my time in NYCERS to NYSLRS, would I be able to transfer my time in NYSLRS (including NYCERS transferred time) back to NYCERS if I ever rejoined the City?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      In certain circumstances, it may not be beneficial to transfer your membership to another system. In order to get you the account-specific information you need regarding your transfer between retirement systems, you should contact NYCERS, and also email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
  50. Jacob Willis

    Does a reinstated tier 4 employee with ten years of service get paid at the top of the pay scale upon returning to state service? I’m much more concerned with being paid at the top of the pay scale/job rate then getting my seniority back ???
    When I left state service in the past the state was in a hiring freeze/pay rate freeze.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You would need to contact your prospective employer or the New York State Department of Civil Service with questions about how much your salary would be. You can contact Civil Service by email at pio@cs.ny.gov or by phone at 1-877-NYS-JOBS (1-877-697-5627).

      Reply
  51. Tanya Davis

    Hello- I am going to be re-joining the NYSLRS. I was a member at a previous job from 6/94-10/94. I called to inquire about reinstatement at tier 4; however, your office did not have record of my past membership. Unfortunately, I do not have my own records of a membership number. Will I be able to be reinstated somehow?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Unfortunately, the NYSLRS social media team does not have access to your account information. If you joined NYSLRS in 1994, our office should have a record of it. If you didn’t join NYSLRS in 1994, you won’t be able to be reinstated to a Tier 4, but you may still be able to receive retirement credit for that service.

      In order to get you the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (see link below), and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Let them know who you worked for and whether you were part-time or full-time. Sometimes NYSLRS membership is mandatory, and sometimes it is not.

      Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      http://www.emailNYSLRS.com

      Reply
  52. David

    Thank You for your great work here. Both the chart and the Q&A are very helpful. Regarding those of us Tier 3 and 4 folks who paid our 3% for longer than ten years with no extra reward for this; PEF annually submits legislation to grant us extra months of service upon retirement for this inequity. Their proposed legislation in 2017 would give us two additional months of Service Credit for each year over ten that we continued to contribute our 3% retirement contribution. In my case, this would add about 6 months( 3 years x two months). Until there is a class action lawsuit, the best thing we can do is to advocate for this legislation! Call your elected representatives and ask them to support or sponsor this legislation! CSEA and Management Confidential should also sponsor similar legislation!

    It would be nice if someday the Governor unilaterally offered a one-time retirement incentive based on this concept. it would be an incentive for Tier 3 and 4 folks to retire early, and would “get rid” of us old time and expensive staff!!

    Reply
  53. Colleen Romano

    I started work in 1974 as a county health care worker for 3 month’s. The employer has since closed it’s doors and no one can find my records. Is there any way to change my Tier or get my time returned to me?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      NYSLRS members can generally get credit for time that they worked for a pubic employer. If you were not a member of NYSLRS at the time, you wouldn’t be able to change your tier, but you may still be able to add the time to your membership.

      To get account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of our representatives will review your account and address your question. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Please provide as much detail as you can about when and where you worked and who you have asked for payroll records. In some cases, NYSLRS can use W-2’s or Social Security information to credit you with service. For more information, you can read the “Verifying Your Service” section of our publication, Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6 (http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/vo1854.php).

      Reply
  54. Robert J. Zysk

    I plan on retiring with 1600 hours of sick time and I am a Tier 4, I understand it will help pay for my insurance, how much of it? What happens to the hours that are not used to pay for my insurance?

    Reply
      1. Dave Hudon

        I retired from the NYSP w 18 years of service due to a disability & receive 50% of my FAS, I was told that I should be receiving 75%.. I am suffering with MS which I know isn’t ” work related” however I was told to get a lawyer and fight for the 75% … Thoughts ?

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          NYSLRS Social Media Team cannot access members’ records or offer advice on retaining a lawyer, but we can give you general information that may be helpful. Your pension benefits and eligibility for disability benefits are determined by New York State Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL). For State Police officers, there are two types of disability benefits. The accidental disability benefit pays 75 percent, and the State Police disability benefit that is not work-related pays 50 percent. You can read about the eligibility requirements for both in your plan booklet at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/vo1518/index.php. For information specific to your situation, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

          Reply
  55. Anthony

    Hi, I am in tier 6 and was wondering if community service counts as employment? I did community service from my High Shool back in 2007 and 2008 for a job that is under the New York State retirement system. I would really like to be in tier 4.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You won’t be able to join Tier 4 unless you joined a New York State public retirement system between September 1, 1983, and December 31, 2009. However, you may be able to receive credit if you were paid by one of our participating public employers. Please send us a Request for Previous Service (RS5042) available on our website at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/forms/rs5042.pdf. Provide as much information about your employment as you can. We will review your request and let you know if you can receive credit for this service,

      Our website has more information about receiving credit for all your public service. You can visit our Get Credit for All Your Public Service page at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/members/getting_credit_for_service.php. You also can refer to your plan booklet or our Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6 (VO1854) booklet on our Publications page at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/index.php.

      Reply
  56. Ken

    My wife plans to retire at age 55 with 33 years of service (NYSTRS Tier 4) and her birthday is in July, so it would be about 1 month after the school year ends. Would there be any timing issues due to her 55th birthday taking place in the middle of the summer? For example, wouldn’t the district need to know that she intends to retire prior to the end of the school year so that they could find a replacement for her position?

    Also, what if she wanted to retire at age 52 with 30 years of service, but delayed taking retirement checks until age 55 (living off of savings and investments, etc)? Is this advisable? I understand that early retirees using this method would be considered “vestees” and would have to pay the full share of the health insurance costs until actual retirement at age 55, but are there other things to consider besides the obvious (smaller pension due to fewer years of service, loss of in-service death benefits, etc.)?

    It would seem that a teacher who has put in 30 years of service should be able to retire any time they want, but for some reason “55” is a magic number for Tier 4 members.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If your wife is a member of NYSTRS, she would need to contact that retirement system for her pension questions. The link to their website is below.

      Her questions about how much notice she needs to give her employer before she leaves or retires, and questions about health care coverage and costs in retirement, may need to be directed to her employer rather than her retirement system.

      https://www.nystrs.org/main/contact.html

      Reply
  57. Randy Olthof

    I was employed by a county planning department between 1975 and 1977 under the CETA Title VI program. In 1985 I joined NYSRS as a Tier 4 employee, and I was informed that my prior CETA employment did not (at that time) qualify as creditable service under NYSRS. My question is whether, under current law, my CETA employment is ineligible for inclusion in my creditable service record. I am planning to retire in August of 2017 with 32.4 years of service and I need to determine whether it would be advisable for me to request the addition of this service time to my NYSRS employment record,

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You may be able to received credit for your CETA employment. To get the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com), provide them with the details of your CETA employment and let them know you are considering retiring in August.

      One of our representatives will review your account and address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      At this time, we’re not aware of any discussions about retirement incentives. The New York State Legislature (not NYSLRS) occasionally enacts retirement incentive programs, which are approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. NYSLRS administers programs that are signed into law. We’ll notify your employer if the Legislature makes a state incentive program available.

      Reply
  58. rose macdonald

    how does the early incentive work? if there was one for 2018, does that mean that if you reached 20 years of service in 2018, that you would get the full retirement benefit?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      At this time, we’re not aware of any discussions about retirement incentives. The New York State Legislature (not NYSLRS) occasionally enacts retirement incentive programs, which are approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. NYSLRS administers programs that are signed into law. We’ll notify your employer if the Legislature makes a state incentive program available.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      No. If the U.S. Congress and the president are unable to reach agreement on legislation funding the federal government by this Friday, any resulting shutdown of the federal government will not affect your NYSLRS pension payments, which are New York State benefits.

      In fact, the vast majority — 75 percent — of pension benefits come from the investment earnings of the Common Retirement Fund (CRF), not from taxpayers. Most of the rest comes from a combination of employer and employee contributions.

      Reply
  59. Steven

    Is this True?

    There is a push by some political factions in New York State to hold a new Constitutional Convention. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expressed his belief in the past that a state constitutional convention is the best route to achieve comprehensive reform in New York. You can bet he will be pushing for it to happen.
    Not only would a Constitutional Convention needlessly cost the New York State taxpayers an estimated $100-million, but it could jeopardize the current level of pension benefits already received by retirees and promised to active members.
    Public sector pensions are guaranteed against diminution thanks to powerful language present in the New York State Constitution. In the event of a Constitutional Convention, the language could be tampered with, thus eliminating that guarantee and paving the way for a reduced pension benefit.
    It won’t matter if you have been retired 1 year or 20 years. YOUR BENEFITS WILL BE REDUCED, YOUR PENSIONS WILL BE REDUCED. THE MONEY THAT YOU HAVE SPENT YEARS WORKING FOR, PAYING TAXES ON AND SPENDING COUNTLESS HOURS OF OVERTIME BUILDING UP FOR RETIREMENT, WILL BE DIMINISHED.
    A Convention may open up New York’s Constitution to hastily thought out changes and reversal of laws and protections that in some cases took more than 200 years to put into effect; and for police, firefighters, paramedics, Corrections, sanitation workers, teachers, MTA, hospitals, etc, benefits that took decades to achieve. THIS WILL AFFECT ALL NEW YORK STATE PUBLIC RETIREES.
    A referendum whether or not to engage in a Constitutional Convention will be on the ballot for voters in the next election, November 7, 2017.
    VOTE “NO” when and if the CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION is placed on the ballot in November of 2017. There are much better ways in which $100-million or so of our tax dollars may be spent

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Currently, the New York State Constitution protects your NYSLRS pension benefit from being diminished or impaired. Your pension can only be reduced if the Constitution is amended, and one way to do that is through a constitutional convention.

      Every 20 years, a question appears on the ballot asking voters if there should be a convention to revise and amend the constitution. This question will be on the November 7, 2017, general election ballot. If voters approve the convention, delegates would be elected the following November and the convention would begin in April 2019. Any constitutional changes proposed by the delegates must be approved by the voters in the following general election.

      Although there’s no guarantee that a convention would result in changes to public pension benefits, your pension, along with other protections provided by the constitution, could possibly be affected. That is one of several reasons why Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is opposed to the constitutional convention.

      Reply
  60. mack

    Can i rollover my tier 4 pension to my financial advisor/institution? Also is there anyway I can leave earlier than 55, say 54 yrs of age? Not with built up am]nnual or sick leave.. 30 yrs in.. thank u

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      ERS Tier 4 members with less than 10 years of service credit can withdraw their contributions and roll over their funds to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other qualified plan. Once you have ten or more years of service credit, you cannot withdraw from the Retirement System. You would have to apply for retirement in order to receive your NYSLRS pension, which would provide you with a monthly benefit for life.

      Although you can stop working whenever you like, ERS Tier 4 members are not eligible to apply for retirement until they are 55. If you choose to leave public employment at age 54, you would have to wait until age 55 to apply for retirement. But please keep in mind that if you don’t retire directly from public service, you may not be eligible for certain benefits. Review your plan book on our Publications page to learn more.

      If you wait and retire at age 55 with 30 or more years of service, your benefit will not be reduced as a result of retiring before age 62. With less than 30 years of service, you benefit will be reduced by a percentage based on your age. Visit our website to learn more about benefit reductions.

      If you have questions specific to your account, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form, and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Possibly. NYSLRS members can receive credit for past service, including working for a participating employer before joining NYSLRS and working for a New York State public employer that later participated in NYSLRS.

      To find out whether your service qualifies:

      • Complete and submit a Request for Previous Service form (RS5042), or
      • Send a written request that includes specific details about the period of employment for which you are seeking credit.
        • NYSLRS
          Member and Employer Services Bureau
          110 State Street
          Albany, NY 12244-0001

      Check out our Get Credit for All Your Public Service page for more information.

      You can also email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply

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