A Look Inside NYSLRS

NYSLRS provided pension benefits to 496,628 retirees and beneficiaries during the State fiscal year that ended on March 31. These benefits are provided by the New York State Common Retirement Fund (the Fund).

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is administrative head of NYSLRS and trustee of the Fund. Over the past century, the Fund has provided retirement security for generations of public employees in New York, and today it is widely recognized as one of the best-managed and best-funded public retirement funds in the nation.

A look inside NYSLRS

NYSLRS Membership                                                          

But NYSLRS is more than just the pension fund. The system had 675,519 members as of March 31. Here are some facts about our membership:

  • 501,890 active members (that is, members still on a public payroll) work for 2,967 public employers statewide.
  • About one-third of those active members work for New York State. The rest work for counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts and public authorities.
  • Nearly 94 percent of total active members are in the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS). The Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) accounts for 6 percent of total active membership.
  • More than 48 percent of all Retirement System members are in Tier 6.
  • Nearly 54 percent of PFRS members are in Tier 2, while about 40 percent are in Tier 6.
  • In ERS, 48.6 percent of members are in Tier 6, while 45.2 percent are in Tiers 3 and 4.

NYSLRS Retirees and Beneficiaries

The average pension for an ERS retiree was $25,783 as of March 31, 2021; the average for a PFRS retiree was $56,695. But these pension payments don’t just benefit the System’s retirees and beneficiaries. Because 79 percent of our retirees and beneficiaries live in New York, most of the pension benefits stayed in the State. And that money supported local businesses, paid local taxes and generated economic development statewide.

Learn More About NYSLRS

Extensive information about our members and retirees, the Fund and Fund investments can be found in the 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This report includes detailed information about the Fund’s investments, strategies and financial position. It also provides details about NYSLRS’ 1.1 million members, retirees and beneficiaries. For example, the report shows where retirees live across the State, across the nation and around the world.

14 thoughts on “A Look Inside NYSLRS

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      NYSLRS does not distribute a print version of its blog.

      Newsletters for retirees are mailed in the spring and fall and are also available on the Newsletters page on our website.

      Reply
  1. Jannene

    My husband called the Retirement system recently to inquire about retiring and he was told it could take up to 2 yrs. for his FAS to be calculated to add in his sick time and vacation due to Covid and so many people retiring at once they told us they are way behind but at least they let us know this ahead of time.

    Reply
  2. Matthew Grover

    My concerns are stated by others above! I retired 6 months ago with 31+ years in service, and now I have heart trouble. I am hearing from many retirees that they are still waiting after many months to over 2 years to have their correct FAS calculated, including their lump sum payments paid out at retirement and their additional service time credit for accumulated sick leave. I am concerned that I will die before the full benefits I have earned can benefit me. When is NYSLRS going to address this situation?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      When you retire, your pension payment is based on the salary and service information we have on file for you at retirement. In some cases, slight adjustments are made to the initial amount after we receive and process final payroll information from your employer. These recalculations are processed in date order and are generally minimal compared to the overall benefit amount.

      Once we have all the information we need and we finalize your benefit amount, if your payment increases, you will receive a retroactive payment for the amount you are owed back to your date of retirement.

      Reply
  3. Martha Ann Lankford

    I just received an email from PEF Council 399 that outline retroactive pay for the period of 2019 to 2021. Please see below. My question is how does this effect retirees who worked during this period?

    “ Contract Update 2022-01
    TO: Executive Board Council Leaders
    FROM: Contract Administration DATE: January 29, 2022
    RE:
    Retroactive Payment of Performance Awards (Longevity Lump Sum Payments)
    Please be advised that the Office of the State Comptroller issued Payroll Bulletin 1992 announcing that PEF retroactive longevity lump sum payments (performance awards) will be processed in a separate check dated February 10, 2022 (Institution Payroll) and February 16, 2022 (Administration Payroll). Where applicable, the payments will be by direct deposit.
    The retroactive payments are to implement enhancements to performance awards negotiated in the 2019-2023 PEF/State Agreement. In accordance with the PEF/State Agreement, the five-year performance award was increased from $1,250 to $1,500 effective April 1, 2019. The ten-year performance award was similarly increased from $1,250 to $1,500 effective April 1, 2019. Since an employee eligible for a ten-year performance award receives both the five and ten-year awards, the payment for ten years at top of grade is increased from $2,500 to $3,000 effective April 1, 2019. The 2019-2023 PEF/State Agreement also provided for a new 15-year performance award of $1,500 effective April 1, 2020. Since those eligible for a 15-year award receive the 5, 10 and 15-year awards, the payment for 15 years at top of grade is $4,500 effective April 1, 2020, which amounts to an increase from $2,500 to $4,500 for those eligible.
    Payments will be made for employees who became newly eligible for performance award payments in April 2020 and/or April 2021. For those that received performance awards in April 2019, April 2020, and/or April 2021, payments will also be made to reflect the increases to the five and ten-year awards effective April 1, 2019. Finally, payments will be made for the new 15- year award effective April 1, 2020. Please see the payroll bulletin for more detail on payments and eligibility. State Agencies Bulletin No. 1992 | Office of the New York State Comptroller
    It should be noted that the “sunset” that prevented newly eligible employees from receiving performance awards after contract expiration was eliminated in the 2019-2023

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      A retroactive payment could affect your pension if the payment was for work performed during the period we used to calculate your final average earnings. If you were a State employee and receive a retroactive payment after you retire, we will recalculate your pension automatically; you do not need to notify us.

      For more information, please read Retroactive Payments and Your NYSLRS Pension.

      Reply
  4. Philip Rivenburg

    When will you hire enough staff to handle the number of retirees that need to have their FAS updated due to approval of the recent state contracts? Waiting for more than 2 years isn’t fair to those that spent decades in state service.

    Reply
    1. Vincent Polera

      I was just going to ask the same exact question! Two years February, my recalculation has not been done due to additional information submitted from my employer in 2020.

      Reply
      1. Sandra

        I was originally told 6 months for recalculation. That was in April 2020. Later it went up to 16 months. It will be 2 years in April 2022 since I retired. I believe this is unfair. Temporary staffing would help with the backlog. This is very frustrating ,with no way for retirees to get help or solve the issue

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          When you retire, your pension payment is based on the salary and service information we have on file for you at retirement. In some cases, slight adjustments are made to the initial amount after we receive and process final payroll information from your employer. These recalculations are processed in date order and are generally minimal compared to the overall benefit amount.

          Once we have all the information we need and we finalize your benefit amount, if your payment increases, you will receive a retroactive payment for the amount you are owed back to your date of retirement.

          Reply
  5. james Hennessey

    With over 368 Billion Dollars in our pension fund why not raise the COLA’s to 100% as does the federal government’s defined benefit plan? Inflation can destroy the hard working people who retired from New York State and it’s other participating entities.

    Reply

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