Tier 6 Benefits – A Closer Look

Tier 6 members (those who joined NYSLRS since April 1, 2012) are eligible for a lifetime pension benefit once they’ve earned 10 years of credited service. And that pension can replace a portion of your salary throughout your retirement.

Your NYSLRS pension will be based on your Final Average Earnings (FAE) and the number of years you work in public service. FAE is the average of the five highest-paid consecutive years. For most members, those higher-paid years come at the end of their careers. Since retirement is still some years in the future for most of you, we won’t focus on the dollar amount of your FAE today. But we can look at what percentage of that salary would be replaced by your pension if you continue in the system until retirement age.

For Tier 6 members of the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS), the benefit is 1.66 percent of your FAE for each year you work, up to 20 years. (Benefit calculations for members of the Police and Fire Retirement System vary based on plan.) At 20 years, the benefit equals 1.75 percent per year (for a total of 35 percent). After 20 years, the benefit grows to 2 percent per year.

Financial advisers say you will need to replace between 70 to 80 percent of your salary to maintain your lifestyle during retirement. Let’s see how we can get there.
Tier 6 Salary Replacement
NYSLRS Pension: Say you begin your career at age 30 and work until your full retirement age of 63. That’s 33 years of Service Credit. You’ll get 35 percent of your FAE for the first 20 years, plus 26 percent for the last 13 years, for a total benefit that would replace 61 percent of your salary. If you started at age 25, and continue till 63, you’d get 71 percent of your FAE. If you didn’t start till age 35, you’d still get 51 percent at 63.

Social Security: You also should factor in Social Security. According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security now replaces about 36 percent of the wages of a typical worker who retires at full retirement age. In the future, it’s estimated that Social Security might still replace between 25 and 30 percent of a typical worker’s pay.

Savings: Retirement savings can also replace a portion of your income. How much, of course, depends on how much you save. The key is to start saving early so your money has time to grow. New York State employees and some municipal employees can participate in the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan. If you haven’t already looked into Deferred Compensation, you might consider doing so now.

51 thoughts on “Tier 6 Benefits – A Closer Look

  1. Bryant B.

    Do years working as a provisional employee count towards your 10 years of service for a tier 6 employee? When I am 63, will only have 14 years of service, but it will be 7 as a permanent employee and 7 as a provisional employee

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      You only receive credit for the years when you were an active NYSLRS member, but you may be able to purchase credit for public employment before you joined NYSLRS.

      To request credit for previous service, sign in to your Retirement Online account. Go to the My Account Summary section of your Retirement Online Account Homepage, click the “Manage My Service Credit” button and follow the directions. If you don’t already have an account, go to the Sign In page and click the “Sign Up” link under the “Customer Sign In” button.

      You can also complete and submit a Request for Previous Service form.

      If you have questions, or need 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 and follow the prompts. You can also email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  2. John L

    Does the vesting begin day 1 of 10 year anniversary of after the last day of the 10th year has been completed. Start day March 3, 2011. Am I vested March 3, 2021. Tier 5. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      For questions about your specific vesting date, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (see link below). Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      http://www.emailnyslrs.com

      Reply
  3. M_close_future_employee_maybe

    If I don’t start in nys retirement system until I’m 51 years old, and work for 10 years, tier 6, how much can I expect at retirement from the pension? How do I calculate an amount based on salary? Can you give an example or calculator link, without having a login? I don’t have the job yet…

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Your pension would be based on your years of credited service, your age at retirement and your final average earnings (FAE). For a Tier 6 member, FAE is the average of the highest five consecutive years of earnings.

      Most Tier 6 members are in the Article 15 retirement plan (you can check with your prospective employer to find out what plan you would be in). In this plan, with less than 20 years of service, you would receive a pension equal to 1.66 percent of your FAE for each year of credited service. You can find more information, including examples of pension calculations, in the Tier 6 Article 15 retirement plan booklet.

      Vested Tier 6 members in this plan are eligible for a pension at age 55, but face pension reductions if they retire before age 63. (Tier 6 members become vested after 10 years of service.)

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      NYSLRS does not provide health insurance for its retirees.

      The New York State Department of Civil Service administers the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) for New York State retirees and some municipal retirees. If you are not yet retired, your employer’s benefits administrator should be able to provide health insurance information or tell you whether you would be eligible for NYSHIP or another post-retirement health care plan.

      Reply
  4. Andrew

    Hello,

    I am 27 years old and currently separated from state service after two years and am contemplating withdrawing my contributions and rolling them into an IRA.

    If I choose to leave the money I have contributed in my pension, will it continue to grow, or will its value remain the same?

    If I call the pension system, will they be able to tell me the current value I have contributed in the pension?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you do not withdraw your contributions, they will continue to earn 5 percent interest. If you are off the public payroll for seven years, your membership will automatically end and your contributions will be deposited in a non-interest account. Your contributions will not be automatically refunded.

      You can get your current contribution balance and apply to withdraw your contributions in Retirement Online. If you don’t already have an account, go to the Sign In page and click the “Sign Up” link under the “Customer Sign In” button.

      You can also withdraw your contributions by filing a Withdrawal Application (RS5014).

      To get your contribution balance by phone, or if you need 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.

      Reply
  5. Janice

    Hi can 10 years of credited service be with 2 different employers, example 2 different school districts. Are you still able to get retirement/pension benefits.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Yes, you can receive service credit, including credit needed to become vested, for employment with more than one participating NYSLRS employer. However, if you work for more than one employer at a time, please be aware that you can’t earn more than one full year of service per year.

      You can check your current service credit total in Retirement Online.

      If you have questions about your service credit, or for other account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our account representatives will be able to answer your questions. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  6. G

    Do you continue to receive service credits for work after age 63? Example: Started work at age 22 and by age 63 would have 41 years of service credits amounting to 77% of FAE. Am I capped at 77% or would it continue to increase by 2% every year thereafter ?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      After the first 20 years of service, most Tier 6 members in regular retirement plans continue to earn 2 percent of their FAE for each year of service, regardless of their age.

      For more information about your benefits, please check your retirement plan booklet, which you can find on our Publications page.

      For account-specific information about how this may apply in your particular situation, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our account representatives will be able to answer your questions. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  7. LA

    Hello, I was a Tier 4 employee and served 13 years as a state employee (vested). If I rejoin the state, would I be subject to following Tier 6 benefits or can I be re-instated in Tier 4? Would I still have to contribute 6% of my current income to the retirement pool? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, if you have more than 10 years of service, your NYSLRS membership would still be active and you would retain your original tier if you rejoin public employment.

      For account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our account representatives will be able to review your account information and answer your questions. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  8. Mar

    Do you have to work ten consecutive years to get pension? Can I work 7 years in public sector leave public sector and come back years later to finish 3 years to make it ten years.?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The years of service you need to become vested do not need to be consecutive, however, if you leave public employment without being vested your membership would automatically terminate after seven years.

      You can find more information about your NYSLRS benefits in your retirement plan booklet, which you can find on our Publications page. For account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of them will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  9. Marc Hedquist

    What if you start Tier 6 at age 23 and you retire at 55. How much of a percent of the 32 years would you retire with under FAE?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Most Tier 6 members with more than 20 years of service credit receive 35 percent of FAE for the first 20 years and 2 percent of FAE for each subsequent year. (You can find out what earnings are used in calculating your FAE on our Final Average Earnings page.)

      However, if you retire before full retirement age (63 for most Tier 6 members), your pension may be reduced.

      For information specific to your situation, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information. One of our account representatives will be able to answer your questions.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The graphic shows examples of possible scenarios at different ages – there is no age-30 rule.

      Tier 6 members earn 35 percent of their Final Average Earnings (FAE) for the first 20 years, plus 2 percent of their FAE for each additional year. If you work for 35 years and retire at 63, you would receive 35 percent for the first 20 years plus 30 percent (15 years times 2 percent) for a total of 65 percent of your FAE.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Tier 3-6 members who leave public employment with less than ten years of service may withdraw their mandatory contributions, plus interest, 15 or more days after leaving service. However, this terminates their membership and they will be ineligible for any Retirement System benefits. Members with more than ten years of service cannot withdraw their contributions, but they will be eligible to apply for and receive a retirement benefit when they reach retirement age.

      You may find our booklet What if I Leave Public Employment? helpful.

      For account-specific questions, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. Barbara Herbert

      Can I get Credit for employment in St Agnes Rvc ny Grammar School from 1988 to 1994 and have it Credited to my employment in the rvc Public School Ny. Thank you

      Reply
    2. Ray collado

      I also came too late just started at NYCHA 55 yrs old gota do at 10 years dies anyone have an estimate of what that pension would look like average probably 50k by then

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        Most members can use the benefit calculator in Retirement Online to get estimates of their pension at different retirement dates. Sign in to your Retirement Online account, go to the My Account Summary area of your Account Homepage and click the Estimate my Pension Benefit button. If you don’t already have an account, go to the Sign In page and click the Sign Up link under the Customer Sign In button.

        Reply
  10. eric

    I’m starting late…i’m 57 now…if i cant work the full 10 years….for example due to illness…or cant pass a mandatory physical exam for my job and only work 9 years…what happens to all the money i put into this tier 6?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you leave public employment with less than ten years of service, you can withdraw your accumulated contributions, plus interest.

      Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          Most NYSLRS pensions are subject to federal income tax (although some disability benefits are not taxable), but are not subject to New York State and local income taxes. However, Tier 6 members who retire before full retirement age of 63 are subject to a permanent reduction in their pension.

          Members who leave public employment and withdraw their NYSLRS membership and contributions (instead of collecting a pension) would be subject to an early distribution penalty if they are under age 59½.

          Reply
  11. Wesley r Osborne jr

    Hi i joined the nys retirement system more than a year ago. im 47 and have been working in maintenance at a local ny school for over 3 years. I know i may need to buy back some time due to joining late. Im just curious if i put 20 years in ..lets say at 65 i get my 20 years after buying back time.. With thr1.75percent kicking in ….what would be my retirement at that time if i average 60,000 those last set of years..? Could you estimate atleast? Thanks for your time

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Tier 6 members with 20 years of service, who retire after the full retirement age of 63, would receive 35 percent of their final average salary. For more information about the Tier 6 plan, you can refer to the Tier 6 retirement plan booklet, which includes examples of how to use the retirement calculation.

      For account-specific information, or to request to purchase service before you joined NYSLRS, you can email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com), and one of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  12. Ashly

    I am in tier 6 state employee. So am I going to get pension. Everyone in my work says we tier 6 don’t have pension. Whatever we putting we get it. If we don’t put money to retirement after 10 yrs we not going to get anything. What’s reality.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      NYSLRS Tier 6 members do have a pension, which is a defined-benefit retirement plan. Unlike with a 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan, your NYSLRS pension is a guaranteed, lifetime retirement benefit based on your final average salary and years of service — not how much you’ve contributed. Most Tier 6 members are required to contribute a specific percentage of your reportable earnings for all your years of public service.

      Most Tier 6 members are covered under what’s called the Article 15 retirement plan. They qualify for a pension benefit when they reach age 55 and have ten or more years of credited service. Generally, for the full retirement benefit, you must be 63 years old at retirement.

      For information about your specific situation, you can email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  13. Wilbur Mills

    I’m late to the game starting at 54. I may do 10-15 years depending on the work/stress. I am wondering if it’s possible to purchase Federal service credit (non-military)? Or credit for work with another state government?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, service with the federal government or with other state governments is not creditable. A NYSLRS member may request additional credit for past service if they:
      Worked for a participating employer before joining NYSLRS;
      Worked for a public employer that later participated in NYSLRS;
      Received an honorable discharge from active military duty; or
      Had a previous membership in NYSLRS or another New York State public retirement system.

      For information about your particular situation, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your questions and respond. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  14. Matthew Hawkes

    I was a member of NYSLRS previously (still an active tier 6 member as it has not been over 7 years since I have stopped working for the participating employer). I currently work in a job in NYC which is part of the NYCERS system. If I go back to work for an employer participating in NYSLRS can I transfer this service to NYSLRS without cost? Or is there a cost to transfer that service credit?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, there isn’t a cost when you transfer a membership between New York State public retirement systems.

      However, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form (see link below) and let them know what position you are considering. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      http://www.emailnyslrs.com/

      Reply
  15. Janice Waeghe

    Ok so i started later at age 47 i plan on working til 67. What percentage would i receive at retirement on tier 6. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Unfortunately, the NYSLRS social media team does not have access to your account information, but we can provide some general information.

      Tier 6 members in the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) who retire with less than 20 years of service credit receive 1.66 percent of their Final Average Salary (FAS) for each year of service. With 20 years of service credit, the benefit would equal 1.75 percent of their FAS for each year (35 percent of FAS). Members who retire with more than 20 years receive an additional 2 percent of their FAS for each year of service credit beyond 20.

      In other words, it would be 31.54 percent for 19 years, 35 percent for 20 years and 37 percent for 21 years.

      You can find more information in your retirement plan booklet, which is online at https://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/index.php.

      To get the account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com), and one of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  16. Chris

    I’m paying in 6% to gain a credit of 1.6%. What’s the roi on this, seems I’d do better investing a similar amount on growth funds

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Under your NYSLRS defined-benefit plan, you’ll receive a retirement benefit for life.

      For most Employees Retirement System members, your benefit is determined by how much service credit you’ve earned at retirement. For example, with 20 years of service credit, your benefit would equal 1.75 percent of your final average salary (FAS) for each year of service credit (for a total of 35 percent of your FAS). With more than 20 years, you would receive 2 percent of your FAS for each year beyond 20.

      It’s important to note that the annual retirement benefit you will receive is guaranteed for life.

      For more information about how your NYSLRS defined-benefit plan works, check out your retirerment plan booklet, which is available on our Publications page.

      If you’d like more information about your particular situation, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  17. Lysa J Petrsoric

    Hello. I started with NYC at 24, have almost 4 years of credited service and am planning on buying back ~2.5 years of time. If I work until 64, I’d have about 40 years of service, which according to my understanding of Tier 6 should be 75% of my FAS. However, some of my coworkers were saying that there is a cap on years of service for the benefit calculation. I cannot find that anywhere in the NYCERS literature or through this website- and I assume that would be a big disclaimer. Am I correct or are there?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We are the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS), the retirement system for New York State employees and employees of municipalities outside of New York City. You should contact the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) at http://www.nycers.org.

      Reply
  18. Zach Marlow

    I know if you retire before 63, you get penalized so many percent per year. I was wondering if you could “retire” or stop working say at 60, live off of deferred comp, or another small job. Then start drawing at 63 from NYS to avoid getting penalized. If I work until I’m 60, I’ll have 32 years with the state.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Yes, you can leave public employment before age 63 and wait until age 63 to retire and begin collecting your NYSLRS pension in order to avoid a reduction.

      However, your eligibility for health and death benefits may be affected if you leave public employment before you begin collecting your pension.

      We recommend that you speak to your health benefits administrator to find out how your health benefits would be affected. We also recommend that you speak to a NYSLRS customer service representative to find out how your death benefits would be affected.

      To get the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com), and one of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply

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