A Look Inside NYSLRS

The New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) administers two distinct systems. They are:

  • The Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) with 659,750 members; and
  • The Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) with 35,754 members.

During the State fiscal year that ended on March 31, NYSLRS provided pension benefits to nearly 515,000 retirees and beneficiaries. Altogether, that’s more than 1.2 million participants, making NYSLRS one of the largest public retirement systems in the nation.

A Look Inside NYSLRS

New York State Common Retirement Fund

NYSLRS benefits are provided by the New York State Common Retirement Fund. State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is administrative head of NYSLRS and trustee of the Fund, which is widely recognized as one of the best-managed and best-funded public retirement funds in the nation. It’s also exceptionally enduring; 2021 marked the 100-year anniversary of the Retirement System.

NYSLRS Members                                                          

But NYSLRS is more than just the pension fund. Here are some facts about NYSLRS members as of March 31:

  • 514,150 active members (that is, members still on the public payroll) work for 2,979 public employers statewide.
  • About one-third of those active members work for New York State. The rest work for counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts and public authorities.
  • Nearly 94 percent of total active members are in ERS. PFRS accounts for 6 percent of total active membership.
  • Almost 60 percent of all members are in Tier 6.
  • In ERS, 58.8 percent of members are in Tier 6, while 36.7 percent are in Tiers 3 and 4.
  • In PFRS, 51.1 percent of members are in Tier 6, while 43.4 percent are in Tier 2.

NYSLRS Retirees and Beneficiaries

The average pension for an ERS retiree was $27,227 as of March 31, 2023; the average for a PFRS retiree was $60,592. But these pension payments don’t just benefit retirees and beneficiaries. About 78 percent of retirees and beneficiaries stay in New York State and generate billions of dollars in economic activity. Their spending supports local businesses, contributes to local taxes and creates jobs in our communities.

Learn More About NYSLRS

Detailed information about our members and retirees, the Fund and Fund investments can be found in the 2023 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report.

8 thoughts on “A Look Inside NYSLRS

  1. Robert King

    I have been retired now since sept 2010 (160 months) and when I retired I had an outstanding loan through the retirement system which reduced my monthly payment. I have an issue with the reduction lasting your lifetime. I mean after 160 months of being retired I have satisfied whatever my outstanding balance was. In my opinion when your loan has been paid off your monthly payout should reflect an increase of the initial reduction. NYS Retirement is the only institution I know of that continues forcing their members to pay for a loan that’s been paid off. This is one reason the system is worth $285 billion and growing.

    1. NYSLRS

      If you retired with an outstanding loan, your monthly pension payment was reduced. However, this reduction does not go toward repaying your outstanding loan balance. It is a permanent reduction. Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) retirees who retire with an outstanding loan are allowed to repay the loan amount due at the time of retirement in a one-time, lump sum payment. This would increase their pension payment going forward after the loan is paid in full. For more information, please visit our Repaying Your NYSLRS Loan After Retirement page.

  2. Theodore J Ricciardelli Sr.

    Lets get with the program folks . Increases based on 18 k is pathetic . My cost of the Empire plan took that and more away from my benefit .. not good ! Not to mention the ridiculous family charge for a spouse in retirement . There is no family coverage at retirement age . Children would not be allowed by age . What gives with that rip off ?

  3. Bob J

    It would be somewhat proper, to make the COLA percentage of pension raises high enough to offset the raises in medical benefits. As well as recognizing the increase in the general cost of living. It’s not like we can do a shift of overtime anymore to make up the difference. While retired, we still have expenses that need to be met and any adjustment to our retirement benefit to a lower amount can affect this.

  4. Jim Hennessey

    If we have 248.5 Billion Dollars in our pension system, why not give us higher COLAs instead of half the cost of living based on only the first $18,000?

    1. Joe C

      I agree, this way of calculating COLA results in our pensions buying power to decrease rapidly over time and should have been updated to cover realistic pension amount. It is antiquated and should be based on full amount of all our pensions. Also I have been retired for three years and am still waiting for my final pension amount as I am still receiving an estimate and am owed a lot of back money. What an outrage. They should be embarrassed at the way they treat employees who worked their hard out for 30 years to get a pension. Embarrassing!

    2. Terry

      When COLA’s were first introduced years ago, there had to be legislation passed each and every time there was to be a COLA resulting in one done every few years ir not at all. Then legislation was passed that provided a COLA every year. That was over 20 years ago and it needs to be updated. That requires legislation. You may want to start with your senator or assembly member.


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