What Is Creditable Service for Police & Fire Retirement System Members?

The answer has a few twists and turns.

When you retire, the pension benefit you receive will be directly related to your retirement service credit.

As a member of the New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), you earn service credit for your paid public employment with a participating PFRS employer. With more than 34,000 members in it, PFRS provides service and disability retirement benefits, as well as death benefits to police officers and firefighters who work for participating public employers, exclusive of New York City.

What Credit Counts Towards Retirement?

One question The New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) is often asked is, how much of my public service ‘counts’ towards retirement?

It can sometimes be a complicated question to answer. Most PFRS members are in retirement plans that allow for retirement after 20 or 25 years, regardless of age, without penalty. The public service that can be used toward your 20 or 25 years is determined by legislation and differs among plans offered to PFRS members.

For example, in the largest PFRS plan – which has 14,840 members in it and which was established by Section 384-e of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) — you can accrue creditable service:

  • As a firefighter or police officer under the 384-e plan;
  • As a member or officer of the New York State Police;
  • In the military, as specified by law.

Service as a sheriff, corrections officer, or volunteer firefighter would also not be creditable in Section 384-e of the RSSL.

Contact Us Before Transferring Membership or Purchasing Service Credit

If you have worked for multiple New York State public employers and are unsure if all of your service is creditable towards your 20 or 25 year plan, contact us before transferring membership or purchasing service credit. You should also be sure to request an estimate from us well before your planned date of retirement if there is any question about your creditable service.

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