Whether you’re a new member or have been part of the Retirement System for years, you’re sure to have questions about your NYSLRS membership. What is vesting? Final average earnings? Maybe you’re wondering what tier you’re in or why that even matters. While NYSLRS administers many different retirement plans, the core concepts of a NYSLRS membership remain the same. Here are the basics.
Four Things to Understand About Your NYSLRS Membership
When learning about your NYSLRS benefits, you should become familiar with these four basic concepts:
- Tier. Your tier is based on the date you joined NYSLRS and helps determine the benefits available to you. If you’re a new NYSLRS member, you’re likely in Tier 6. Tier 6 members joined NYSLRS on or after April 1, 2012.
- Service Credit. You earn a year of service credit for each year you work for a participating NYSLRS employer. Part-time work is prorated. Your total service credit at retirement is a major factor in determining the amount of your pension.
- Vesting. You become vested after you earn five years of service credit. It’s a significant milestone to reach because once you become vested, you’ll be eligible for a NYSLRS pension when you reach retirement age, even if you leave public service.
- Final Average Earnings. Final average earnings is the average of your earnings during a period when your pay is highest. It’s another major factor in determining the amount of your pension.
Once you understand these basics, it can make learning more about your NYSLRS membership and benefits easier and help you get ahead on your retirement planning.
Your NYSLRS Pension and Other Benefits
Being a NYSLRS member means you are part of a defined benefit retirement plan. This means your NYSLRS pension will be a lifetime benefit, and it will be based on your final average earnings and service credit, not the contributions you make toward your retirement.
NYSLRS also provides other important benefits for its members, including:
Where to Get More Information
We want to provide you with the information you’ll need to plan for your retirement and make critical decisions about your future. Here are the resources available to you:
Retirement Online is the quickest way to access account information such as your tier, retirement plan and estimated total service credit. Sign up for a Retirement Online account if you don’t already have one.
If you have questions about your NYSLRS membership or benefits, you can find answers on our NYSLRS website. You can find different webpages, such as our Understanding Your NYSLRS Benefits page, that explain what benefits and services are available to you. Reading your retirement plan publication is a great way to get a comprehensive understanding of your benefits. Go to our Publications page to find your retirement plan and other helpful information.
If you have questions about your account or your NYSLRS benefits, please email us using our secure contact form.