Will Your Retirement Age Affect Your Benefit?

Only you can decide when it’s time to retire, but you should know that your age at retirement can affect your pension benefit. Some New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) members are in special plans that allow for retirement after a certain number of years, regardless of age (for example, police officers, firefighters, correction officers or sheriffs). But for most members, you can retire with full benefits at the age specified by your plan. Most members can choose to retire as early as age 55, but if you do, you may receive a permanently reduced pension benefit.

Full Retirement Ages

Most retirement plans have an age requirement to retire with full benefits. For Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members in Tiers 2, 3, 4 and 5 and Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) members in Tiers 2, 3, 5 and 6, the full retirement age is 62. For ERS Tier 6 members, it’s 63. PFRS Tier 6 members who have left their PFRS employer are eligible for their benefits at age 63.

Service Credit Exceptions

In some retirement plans, members with a certain amount of service credit can retire at age 55 without being subject to benefit reductions. Benefit reductions don’t apply to ERS Tier 2, 3 or 4 members who have 30 or more years of service credit and Tier 2, 3, 4 and 5 Uniformed Court Officers and Peace Officers employed by the Unified Court System who have 30 or more years of service.

Benefit Reductions

Retirement benefits for all other ERS Tier 5 and Tier 6 members, and PFRS Tier 2, 3, 5 and 6 members not in a special 20- or 25-year plan, will be reduced for early retirement — even if they have 30 years of service credit.

These benefit reductions are prorated by month, so the closer you are to your full retirement age, the less the reduction will be. Once you retire with a reduced benefit, that reduction is permanent.

Here’s a look at how reductions break down by membership tier:

Contact us if you have any questions about benefit reductions or any other retirement-related topics. Please review your retirement plan booklet for a full description of the benefits you’re entitled to as well as any reductions and restrictions.

22 thoughts on “Will Your Retirement Age Affect Your Benefit?

  1. Esther G. Spielman-Pollak

    Hi, as a Senior court Reporter, if I have 32 years and I’m approximately 58, do I get a reduction under tier 3 or 4? I never heard that we do.
    Esther G. Spielman-Pollak

    1. NYSLRS

      The full benefit age for ERS members in Tiers 2, 3, and 4 is 62. However, benefit reductions do not apply to ERS Tier 2, 3 or 4 members who retire between 55 and 62 with 30 or more years of service credit.

      We hope this information proves helpful to you.


  2. Sterling Orr

    Need to discuss my wife’s Medicare options. She 62+ now. When and what does retirement system do for her. Please.

    1. NYSLRS

      NYSLRS does not administer health insurance programs for its members and retirees. If you or your wife are still employed, your employer’s health benefits administrator will be able to provide information regarding Medicare options.

      You may also call the Employee Benefits Division of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations at 518-457-5754 (Albany area), or at 1-800-833-4344.

      We hope this information proves useful to you.


      1. Sterling K Orr

        My wife is now 62+.When can she get Medicare and does she need to go thru my retirement system as I did ? Preparing for her retirement also. RSVP. S.K.Orr

        1. NYSLRS


          We’re glad to hear that your wife is preparing for retirement. You both may find our Life Changes: How Do I Prepare to Retire? publication helpful. It helps outline what steps to take when preparing to retire. Here’s a link to our web version: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/vo1709.php

          However, NYSLRS doesn’t administer health insurance programs for its members and retirees. If your wife is still employed, her employer’s health benefits administrator will be able to provide information regarding Medicare options. She can also contact the New York State Department of Civil Service at 1-800-833-4344 or 518-457-5754 (Albany area).

          We hope this helps,


  3. M. A. Pelletier

    How do my part-time years factor in to total years of service? About 1/3 of my 25+ years were part time.

    1. NYSLRS

      The rules for crediting service vary by tier. Service credit can be prorated if the service is less than full-time. In most cases, we credit part-time employment as the lesser of:

      • number of days worked ÷ 260 days, or
      • annual earnings reported ÷ (State’s hourly minimum wage X 2,000)

      You can find your latest service credit total on your Member Annual Statement. It includes all unaudited service credit (part-time included) that is currently on file with NYSLRS as of March 31, 2015.

  4. Karen Bernstein's

    I’m s nyc correction officer due to retire in July 2017. I need information to begin the process. Please contact me at 917-592-4306

  5. Carlos m paniagua

    Am a retired NYC correction officer for 10 years
    I will be 61 years old next May 2017, am I entitle to my age (SSI )retirement yet ?

    1. NYSLRS

      Unfortunately the NYSLRS social media team cannot access your account information.

      The fastest way to generate an income verification letter is through Retirement Online. Register and sign in, then click the Generate Income Verification Letter link on the right.

      You can also email your request using our secure email form. Be sure to provide your daytime phone number and all of your personal verification information when you submit your email. In most cases, we’ll mail your letter in five to seven business days.

      Or, you can fax your request to 518-473-5590. Include your retirement or registration number, current address, signature and phone number in case we have questions. Let us know if you would like the verification letter mailed to you, or, if you would like us to fax it, please provide your fax number.

  6. Donna Finnegan

    I’m curious if probation officers are included when they say corrections and police…if not..they should be…life on line everyday…thanku

    1. NYSLRS

      The specific benefits of NYSLRS retirement plans—and who is eligible for each plan—are determined by New York State Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL).

      You can find details about our plans on our Publications page.

      For example, our VO1526 publication covers ERS Tier 3, 5 and 6 members who are full-time, uniformed employees of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and security hospital treatment assistants for the Office of Mental Health who elected the plan.

      Or, our VO1517 publication covers Tier 2, 3, 5 and 6 police officers and firefighters who are in the plans provided by Sections 384, 384-d and 384-e of RSSL.

      Check with your employer if you’re not sure what plan you’re in.

  7. Eliza S

    If you are over the retirement age at Pier 6 and have less than 10 years of service, Does that affect in any way when you can retire?

  8. Kim Carlin

    Hi – I am a New York State school nurse who is maybe considering retiring from my job next year @ 53 years of age. Will I need to put in my paperwork for the state (and not just my school district) as well – and how long before I plan to retire? Where do you find all that paperwork?

    1. NYSLRS

      Most NYSLRS members must be at least 55 to retire and receive a pension benefit. Benefits such as death benefits and health insurance may be affected if you leave public employment before you are eligible to collect your NYSLRS pension. If you are considering leaving public employment before age 55, we suggest you speak to one of our customer service representatives (call 1-866-805-0990) about pension implications, and to your employer about any possible health benefit implications, before you leave employment.

      You would submit your retirement application to NYSLRS at least 15, but no more than 90 days before your intended retirement date. Your Retirement Benefits book (see link below) is a good place to start reading about the forms you will need and the retirement process.



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