Becoming Vested

What does it mean to be a vested NYSLRS member?

You become vested after you earn sufficient service credit to be eligible for a pension, even if you leave public employment before retirement. Becoming vested is a crucial milestone in your NYSLRS membership.

When Will I Be Vested?

The amount of service credit you need to be vested depends on your tier. If you’re in Tier 5 or 6, you need ten years of service to be vested. If you’re in another tier (Tier 1, 2, 3 or 4), you’re vested once you earn five years of service credit.

vesting requirements

If you work part-time, it will take you longer to become vested. For example, if you work half-time, you earn six months of credit toward vesting for each year on the job. (For more information, read our recent blog about part-time service credit.)

If you purchase credit for previous public service or military service, that credit can help you become vested.

What You Need to Do

Vesting is automatic. You do not need to file any paperwork to become vested.

If you are vested, you will need to file a retirement application at least 15, but no more than 90, days before you can receive a pension. Most NYSLRS members are eligible to collect a pension as early as age 55, but benefits may be permanently reduced if you retire before you reach your plan’s full retirement age.

Visit our website to learn more about vesting.

18 thoughts on “Becoming Vested

  1. Tommy

    I am tier 6 police under fire/police retirement for SP. I have 10 years in the retirement system, being vested, I am planning to retire early to work out of state as LE.

    What is the basic formula to figure out my pay out from the retirement system? Also can I collect upon leaving immediately or do I need to reach a certain age before collecting money?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, vested Tier 6 Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) members who leave public employment before retirement age will be eligible for a vested retirement benefit when they reach age 63. Your vested retirement benefit is 1.66 percent of your Final Average Earnings (FAE) for each year of service credit. However, the benefit is not automatic; it is up to you to file a retirement application when you become eligible and wish to receive your benefit.

      You may wish to read our publication What If I Leave Public Employment? If you have questions about your specific situation, you can email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  2. Manny

    I am tier 5 and i have been a state employee for 9 years and 8 months. Is there a way that i can be vested early? I.e. prepay contributions etc.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      As a Tier 5 member, you must have ten years of service credit to become vested.

      You may be able to buy service credit for military service or for work you did for a public employer before you joined NYSLRS. However, you cannot receive extra service credit by prepaying contributions.

      For more information about service credit, please read our booklet Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6.

      Reply
  3. Cody

    Do Tier 5 police have to pay into their retirement? If so, how much and how long? Where can I find information on what Tier 5 contributes?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Most Tier 5 members contribute 3 percent of their earnings throughout their careers. However, members in plans that limit creditable service to 20, 25 or 32 years no longer contribute once they reach maximum service credit.

      For more information, please check your retirement plan booklet. For information specific to your circumstances, you can email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Tier 3 members need five years of full-time service credit to become vested. Tier 6 members need ten years of service credit to become vested.

      For account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of our representatives can review your account and advise you of your options. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  4. John

    I am looking to retire next year, but will not be vested and will at age 66. My question is the amount of funds built up in my account will that be sent to me at one time or can I have it stay in the NYSLRS and draw down on it. Thank you for your response

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

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

      You must be vested to collect a NYSLRS monthly pension. Tier 5 and 6 members are vested when they have ten years of service. Members in other tiers are vested after five years.

      Tier 3-6 members with less than ten years of service may withdraw their mandatory contributions, plus interest, after leaving public service, in one lump-sum payment. Withdrawing your contributions ends your NYSLRS membership.

      To get the account-specific information, including the date that you would become vested if you continue working, please email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). 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
  5. Diane Wise-Hollenebck

    If I am not currently vested and I am no longer required to contribute, is anything being contributed on my behalf for my pension between now and when I am vested?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you are no longer contributing, then contributions are not being made directly to your retirement account. However, unlike a 401k, the pension you will receive from NYSLRS will not be based on the amount of contributions you paid into the system. NYSLRS benefits are defined benefit plans, which means that once your are eligible to retire, you will receive a lifetime benefit that will be based on your years of service and your earnings, not on the amount of contributions you paid into the system.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you want to make an appointment at one of our consultation sites, you can contact our Call Center at 1-866-805-0990 (518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area). The Call Center is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm.

      For site hours and locations, visit our Consultation Site Offices page.

      For more information about your options as you plan for retirement, you may be interested in our Life Changes: How Do I Prepare to Retire? publication.

      You can also email your questions to 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
    1. NYSLRS

      Most NYSLRS members can return to public employment after retiring, and continue to collect their pension, though there are earnings restrictions depending on your pension benefit, tier and age.

      You may find reading our Life Changes: What If I Work After Retirement? publication helpful.

      For information about your particular situation, we recommend contacting our customer service representatives using our secure email form before you return to work. 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
    2. Denise

      Hi, if I am a tier 6 and vested at age 52, do I have to wait until I am 55 to retire or can I retire at 52 and receive my pension later at 55?

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS Post author

        If you choose to leave public employment before age 55, you would be able to apply for a vested retirement benefit once you turn 55. However, most Tier 6 members who retire before age 63 face pension reductions.

        Also, leaving public payroll before you are eligible to retire may affect your eligibility for certain death benefits and health benefits.

        We suggest you email our customer service representatives using our secure email form to ask how it would affect your pension benefits. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

        You may also wish to speak to your health benefits administrator to find out how going off payroll would affect any post-retirement health benefits you may be entitled to.

        Reply

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