When you joined the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS), you were 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). Each tier has a different benefit structure established by State Law. Our series, NYSLRS – One Tier at a Time, walks through each tier to give you a quick look at the benefits in both ERS and PFRS.
Today’s post looks at ERS Tier 5, which covers ERS members who joined from January 1, 2010 through March 31, 2012. There were 37,114 ERS Tier 5 members — 5.8 percent of all ERS members — as of March 31, 2021.
ERS Tier 5 Membership Milestones
ERS Tier 5 members need ten years of service credit to become vested, which means they’ll be eligible for a lifetime pension when they retire.
When a Tier 5 member can retire is based on whether they are in the regular retirement plan (Article 15) or a special plan. Most Tier 5 members are in the regular plan, which means they can retire as early as age 55, but if they retire before age 62, their benefit will be reduced.
Tier 5 members in special plans, such as sheriffs and correction officers, can retire with 20 or 25 years of service (depending on their retirement plan), regardless of age, without penalty.
See your plan booklet (listed below) for details.
The Final Average Earnings (FAE)
An ERS Tier 5 member’s final average earnings is the average of their earnings in the three highest-paid consecutive years of employment. Earnings in any year included in the period cannot exceed the average earnings of the previous two years by more than 10 percent.
Tier 5 Service Retirement Benefit
If an ERS Tier 5 member retires with less than 20 years, the benefit is 1.66 percent of their FAE for each year of service.
If a Tier 5 member in a regular plan retires with 20 to 30 years of service, the benefit is 2 percent of their FAE for each year of service. For each year of service beyond 30 years, they will receive 1.5 percent of their FAE. For example, a Tier 5 member with 35 years of service can retire at 62 with 67.5 percent of their FAE.
For Tier 5 members in special plans, the benefit is generally 50 percent of their FAE with 20 or 25 years of service, depending on their retirement plan.
Where to Find More Information
ERS Tier 5 members can find more details about their benefits in the publications listed below:
- Retirement Plan for ERS Tier 5 Members (Article 15) (VO1523)
- State Correction Officers and Security Hospital Treatment Assistants Plan (Article 14-CO) (VO1526)
- Sheriffs, Undersheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Special Plan (Article 14B: Sections 551, 552 and 553) (VO1841)