Retirement Planning: Know Your Membership Milestones

Even if your retirement is years in the future, you should be aware of certain membership milestones that may help you narrow down when to retire.

There are two types of membership milestones: ones pertaining to age and ones pertaining to service credit. Since most NYSLRS members reach service credit milestones first, we’ll start with them.

Service Credit Milestones

Vesting is a key retirement milestone. Once you become vested, you will be eligible for a NYSLRS pension even if you leave public employment before retirement. Members in Tiers 1-4 with at least five years of credited service are vested. (Most members in these tiers have already reached this milestone.) Tier 5 and 6 members must have ten years of credited service to be vested.

membership milestones - service credit

After reaching 20 years of service, most members will be eligible to have a higher percentage of their final average earnings included in their pension benefit. How that benefit is calculated depends on your retirement plan and tier. You can find more information in your retirement plan booklet.

Members in some special plans can retire with 20 years of service, regardless of their age. Other special plans allow for retirement after 25 years, regardless of age.

At 30 years of service, Tier 2-4 members who are at least 55 years old can retire without a pension reduction.

Age Milestones

Once you reach your full retirement age, you can retire without a pension reduction. For Tiers 2-5, the full retirement age is 62. The full retirement age for Tier 6 members is 63.

membership milestones - age

Members in regular retirement plans can retire as early as age 55, but they may face a pension reduction if they retire before their full retirement age. The closer you are to your full retirement age at retirement, the less the reduction will be.

If you would like to see what your pension would be at different ages, use Retirement Online’s pension benefit estimator.

More About NYSLRS Membership Milestones

For more information about NYSLRS milestones, please see:

5 thoughts on “Retirement Planning: Know Your Membership Milestones

  1. Nanette Geary

    if the early retirement bill is passed, and you only have 22 years of service, but are 64 years old, there is no incentive, correct?

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If a State retirement incentive program is approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor, NYSLRS will notify your employer and provide the kind of details you are looking for on our website and on social media.

  2. Larry Braun

    I would urge future retirees that are focused on taking single payer and dismiss other options to think again. If I were smart, taking one of the pop up options could have been a manageable/affordable choice for me.

  3. Joy Dagonese

    I would like to use retirement online but for some reason the system does not recognize me, please advise

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We apologize for the trouble you are having.

      For help with Retirement Online, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts.


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