Getting Credit for Your Military Service

If you served in the U.S. Armed Forces, you may be eligible to buy back up to three years of active service credit. Because service credit is a factor in calculating a NYSLRS pension, in most cases buying military service credit will increase your pension.

Military Service Credit

To be eligible, veterans must:

  • Have been honorably discharged;
  • Have at least five years of credited service in the Retirement System;
  • Have not received credit for this service in any other public retirement system in New York State; and
  • Apply for and purchase military service credit before they retire.

How to Apply for Military Service Credit

To apply and request a cost for military service credit:

1. Fax your name, contact information and a copy of your DD-214 to 518-486-6405 or 518-402-7799;

or

2. Mail a letter with your name and contact information, and a photocopy of your DD-214, to:
    Military Service Unit
    110 State Street
    Albany, NY 12244-0001

If after reviewing your application we determine you are eligible, we will send you a letter that will tell you how much credit you are eligible to purchase and the cost. Most members in Tier 1, 2, 3 or 4 can use our online benefit projection calculator to see how the credit would impact your pension. Tier 5 and 6 members can get that information by calling 1-866-805-0990, or using our secure email form (www.emailNYSLRS.com).

For more information, visit the Military Service Credit page on our website.

34 thoughts on “Getting Credit for Your Military Service

    1. NYSLRS

      Reserve and National Guard service may be allowable if you have active duty service (for example, during boot camp), have a DD-214 and meet eligibility requirements.

      Reply
  1. Rodney George

    The 6% that I pay for servive credit. Is is based on amount of mony made the years I am appling for or current salary? I made $4500/yr in 1974 and 1975 while in service. That’s $264/yr @6%. If it is current salary $40000/yr thats $2400.. Seems to me it is taking advantage of the veteran. Charging twice as much for service to his/her country.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      It’s based on your current salary.

      The laws that allow NYSLRS members to receive credit for their military service are enacted by the New York State Legislature, approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. NYSLRS then administers the programs that are signed into law.

      For Tier 6 members, the legislation says that the cost to purchase military service is 6 percent of the compensation you earned during the year of credited service immediately prior to our receipt of your request to receive credit for military service, times the number of years of military service being claimed.

      Reply
  2. Tim Field

    Can the purchased service credit be used to “accelerate” the date of retirement? In other words, if I have 18 years of service now and then purchase 3 years of Military Service Credit, will this allow me to retire now with 21 years of service?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Military service credit can be used to reach retirement milestones, such as qualifying for a better retirement benefit calculation.

      If you have 18 years of service credit, and then purchase three years of military service credit, as long as you meet the age and service requirements of your retirement plan, you can retire with 21 years of service.

      Before making a decision, we recommend that you consult with one of our customer service representatives. Please use our secure email form (link below) to contact one of our representatives. Explain your question and circumstances in the Comment field of the form, and someone will respond to you in 5-7 business days.
      https://nysosc9.osc.state.ny.us/product/ccsub.nsf/fsWeb?OpenFrameset

      Reply
      1. Timothy Stewart

        I had 17 plus years with the state. And also 17 plus years of military service. I had to retire due to a back injury on the job that required surgery on 5 May 2016. My retirement date was 7 May 2016. I had inquired twice in 2003 and 2012 about military credit. Am I still able to receive this benefit? And also what about the veterans who retired prior to the passage of this law?

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          Unfortunately, only members whose date of retirement is on or after June 1, 2016 are eligible to apply. If your date of retirement was before June 1, 2016, you were not eligible to apply for military service credit under the new law.

          The new law, Chapter 41 of the Laws of 2016, was approved by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. The Retirement System administers programs that are signed into law. The new law enables eligible NYSLRS members to buy back up to three years of active military service toward their retirement, regardless of when or where they served, however, it does not provide the opportunity for members who are already retired to apply to receive military service credit.

          Reply
  3. Anthony Ploufe

    My DD214 for active duty has under under honorable conditions also served in the army national guard for 17 years with a honorable discharge. Also have 20 year letter. Would I be eligible for the buy back.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You may be eligible to receive up to three years of military service credit as long as you were honorably discharged, have at least five years of credited service in the Retirement System, have not received credit for this service in any other public retirement system in New York State, and apply for and purchase military service credit before you retire.

      Please visit our Military Service Credit page for information about the cost and how to apply.

      Reply
  4. Peter K.

    I put about 7 months in boot camp Army National Guard. How about my 1 weekend(2days) a month and 2 weeks during camp for my 6 years of service. Would I get credit for that?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Reserve and National Guard service may be allowable if you have active duty service (for example, if you were on active duty during your seven months in boot camp), have a DD-214 for the service, and meet eligibility requirements.

      If you were not activated for your one weekend a month and two weeks annually, and do not have a DD-214 for those times, it likely will not be creditable.

      Please visit our Military Service Credit page for more information about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

      Reply
  5. Albert Breud Jr

    I retired in 2004 with military credits totaling 30 months, which I purchased, even though I served 36 months from Sept 60 to Sept 63. My question, am I eligible to purchase the additional 6 months? If yes, please send the necessary paper work. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Unfortunately, you are not eligible to purchase service credit if you are already retired.

      If you would like to find out why you did not receive credit for the full 36 months, you can email our customer service representatives using our secure email form, and one of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
  6. Lenny Purcell

    I read that the new law indicates that the service member must have been honorably discharged. It does not indicate that the service member must have received an honorable discharge. I received a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions. That is being discharged Honorably. There is a disposition of General Discharge with other than Honorable Conditions, that is not being discharged Honorably.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Please send your question to our customer service representatives using our secure contact form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). You can attach a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214) to your email, and our staff can review your account and your DD214 to let you know if you might be eligible. Please allow 5 to 7 days for a response.

      Reply
    2. Paul Kolacki

      I am questioning the same thing. I also received A General under Honorable Conditions Discharge, and had several service awards. General under Honorable is the same thing as an Honorable Discharge. NYS Retirement should treat it the same way. I recently sent my paperwork in for credit, but have yet to receive a response.

      Reply
      1. Robert Maldonado

        Hey Paul. the NY City retirement system (NYCERS) clearly states under Honorable circumstances as being accepted. It follows New York State Military Law.
        I think we have a good fight ahead.
        Reply to me @ Malo912@aol.com or r.maldonado.ocfs.gov

        Reply
      2. Robert Maldonado

        So what happened Paul. Did they give you credit for Under Honorable Conditions?
        Mr. Robert Maldonado

        Reply
  7. William Rourke

    Has anything changed? I sent in my DD214 and was told that a general under honorable conditions was not acceptable. I disagree. I have sent in the proper paperwork to the Navy to try and get my discharge changed to honorable. I have not heard anything to date. I will be retiring in a few years and would like to buy back the time. Having to pay today’s prices, how does the state lose anyway.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Please send your question to our customer service representatives using our secure contact form (see link below). You can attach a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214) to your email, and our staff can review your account and your DD-214 to let you know if you might be eligible. Please allow 5 to 7 days for a response.
      http://www.emailNYSLRS.com/

      Reply
  8. Mike B

    I’d like to know if I can buy back time from my 14 month deployment to Afghanistan. I was there from 2015 to 2016. In the Reserves for 6 years. I also have 5 months active duty time for BCT and AIT. I have over 15 years under the NYSLRS as a LEO with my Dept. I should have about a total of 18 months of military service I can buy back.

    My Dept. will grant us 30 days of military credit a year while on active duty military deployment, drill or AT. After that we are taken off the books until we return from active duty. The start of the new year (January 1st) we get a refresh of 30 days of military credit.

    If there’s a break in our pay due to military active duty service can we still buy all of that time back?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      You can find general information on our Military Service Credit page.

      However, for information about your specific circumstances, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

      Reply
  9. William Rourke

    I received a reply saying that my General Under Honorable discharge is not good enough. It makes me sick that I can get denied and the Governor can care more about the convicts. Letting them vote and allowing them on the street waiting for trial is just an example of how this state is going in the wrong direction. Here I have put together a 32 year career in a school system and all I want is to buy back my military time, it is a slap in the face. I have tried to contact Shumer, Hilibrand , and Santa Barbara and they are way too busy for even a response. I am a democrat and that may change soon. The assistant comptroller gets to play god on who can buy back time. No wonder everyone thinks the state is corrupt.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We’re sorry for your frustration.

      There are several distinct discharges that may be listed on a veteran’s Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214): an honorable discharge, a general discharge under honorable conditions, a dishonorable discharge and others.

      NYSLRS administers legislation and programs as they are signed into law. Unfortunately, the law specifically requires an honorable discharge in order to purchase military service credit.

      To allow the purchase military service credit by veterans with a general discharge under honorable conditions, the State Legislature would need to pass a bill, and the Governor would need to sign it into law.

      Reply
  10. William Rourke

    Again, this is where we differ. It states Honorably, not have had an Honorable Discharge. It’s just like the state to make it unclear. Nowhere does it state that that it’s strictly for veterans with honorable discharges. A General Under Honorable conditions means it was satisfactory service. Please show me the legislation that specifically states an Honorable Discharge.

    Reply
  11. William Rourke

    You are showing me exactly what I am taking about in Section 1000. You are either discharged Honorably or Dishonorably. An Honorable discharge and General Under Honorable conditions are the only two that meet the phrase “Honorably”. That’s it, period! There doesn’t have to be new legislation because the wording is already there. I don’t understand what the confusion is.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you purchase military service credit and that credit does not increase your benefit, NYSLRS will refund the cost plus interest.

      Reply
  12. michael matriccino

    thank you for your service – not in new york – one of the worst states for veterans rights and privileges thanks to the gov. a guy who did not serve in the military

    Reply
  13. Willie Hawkins

    They told me I didn’t qualify because I wasn’t there but the unit’s were. I served from 78-85 and don’t get the benefit. How is that.?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The rules for crediting military service changed in 2016. We recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form, so they can review your account and answer your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      If you feel you should be eligible, you can attach a copy of your DD-214 form to your email as well.

      For more information, visit our Military Service Credit page.

      Reply

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