Overtime Limits for Tier 5 and 6 Members

Tier 5 and 6 members are subject to limits on the amount of overtime that can be included in their pension. You can earn overtime pay beyond the overtime limit, but it won’t be factored into your pension calculation. And you don’t pay member contributions on overtime pay that is above the limit.

Overtime Limits for Tier 5 and 6 Members

Tier 5 Overtime Limits

The overtime limit for Tier 5 Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members increases each calendar year by 3 percent. In 2024, the limit for Tier 5 ERS members is $22,688.85.

For Tier 5 Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) members, the overtime limit is 15 percent of your regular earnings each calendar year.

For more information, visit our Overtime Limits for Tier 5 page.

Tier 6 Overtime Limits

The overtime limit for Tier 6 ERS members increases each calendar year based on the annual increase of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2024, the limit for Tier 6 ERS members is $20,459.

For Tier 6 PFRS members, the overtime limit is 15 percent of your regular earnings each calendar year.

For more information, visit our Overtime and Earnings Limits for Tier 6 page.

Your Pension Benefit Calculation

Your NYSLRS pension will be based on your service credit and final average earnings (FAE). Your FAE is the average annual earnings you receive during the period when your earnings are highest (36 consecutive months for Tier 5 and 60 consecutive months for Tier 6). Your FAE will include overtime pay you earned up to each annual limit.

Your FAE may be limited in other ways. For example, for most members, if your earnings increase significantly in the years used for your FAE, some of those earnings might not count toward your pension. The specific limits depend on your tier. Visit our Final Average Earnings page for more information about this limit.

For Tier 6 members, the earnings that can be used toward your pension are also limited to the Governor’s salary.

Read Your Plan Publication

Your retirement plan publication provides specific information about the earnings that will be used to calculate your pension. Visit our website to Find Your NYSLRS Retirement Plan Publication.

Estimate Your Pension in Retirement Online

Most members can create their own pension estimate in minutes using Retirement Online. You can enter different retirement dates to see how those choices would affect your benefit. Sign in to Retirement Online and click the “Estimate my Pension Benefit” button to try it.

Applying for a NYSLRS Loan in Retirement Online

Planning on taking out a NYSLRS loan? Applying through Retirement Online is fast and convenient.

Eligibility for a NYSLRS loan is based on your tier. Generally, you’ll need to be on the payroll of a participating employer, have at least one year of service and have sufficient contributions in your account. (Note: Retirees are not eligible for NYSLRS loans.)

Applying for a NYSLRS Loan in Retirement Online

Retirement Online is the Fastest Way to Apply

When you use Retirement Online, NYSLRS receives your application immediately and can process your loan more quickly. It’s also an easy way to check the amount you are eligible to borrow, your balance on any outstanding loans, and more.

To apply:

As you work your way through the online application, you’ll see:

  • How much you are eligible to borrow;
  • The minimum repayment amount;
  • The expected payoff date; and
  • How much you can borrow without tax implications.

If you apply for a loan and you already have an existing loan (or loans), you’ll choose one of two options:

  1. Multiple loans: With multiple loans, you are taking a new loan, and each of your outstanding loans has a separate five-year due date and minimum payment. The minimum payments for each of your loans are added together for one total minimum payment. This combined minimum payment amount is higher than the minimum would be if you choose a refinanced loan, but with multiple loans, as each loan is paid off, your total minimum payment goes down.
  2. Refinance your existing loan: Refinancing your loan adds your new loan amount to your existing balance and consolidates the entire amount as one loan instead of taking separate loans. Minimum payment amounts for refinanced loans are lower than the minimum for multiple loans because when you refinance, we combine your existing loan balance with your new loan and spread out the repayment over a new five-year term. However, this increases the portion of your loan that may be considered a taxable distribution, and federal withholding can significantly reduce the loan amount that you receive.

There is a service charge of $45 that will be deducted from your loan check when it is issued. The current interest rate is 5 percent. The interest rate will remain fixed for the term of your loan.

NYSLRS loans are exempt from New York State and local income taxes. But the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may consider all or part of a NYSLRS loan taxable – for instance, if you borrow above certain limits. The Retirement Online loan application will show you the maximum amount you can borrow without tax implications.

When Will I Receive My Loan Check?

Loan checks are mailed out from NYSLRS once a week. To check the status of your loan application:

You will also receive a confirmation letter when your loan case has been completed. You can find it in your Retirement Online account under “View Documents.”

Repaying Your NYSLRS Loan

Loan payments are deducted from your paycheck. If you choose to repay the minimum amount, your payroll deduction may be increased periodically to ensure your loan will be repaid within the required five-year repayment term. You can increase your payroll deduction amount, make additional payments or pay your loan in full at any time with no prepayment penalties. Retirement Online is the easiest way to manage your loan payments. Sign in to your account and select “Manage my Loans.”

Retiring With an Outstanding NYSLRS Loan

If you retire with an outstanding loan, your pension will be reduced. You will also need to report at least a portion of the loan balance as ordinary income (subject to federal income tax) to the IRS. If you retire before age 59½, the IRS may charge an additional 10 percent penalty. If you are nearing retirement, be sure to check your loan balance. If you are not on track to repay your loan before you retire, you can increase your loan payments, make additional lump sum payments or both in Retirement Online.

Note: Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members may repay their loan after retiring, but they must pay the full amount (that is, the amount that was due on their retirement date) in a single lump-sum payment. Once you do, your pension benefit will increase from that point on, but it will not be adjusted retroactively back to your date of retirement.

Visit Our Website for More Information

For more information about NYSLRS loans, including what happens if you go off payroll or default on your loan, visit our Loans page. Need help with Retirement Online? See our Tools and Tips blog post.

Your Death Benefit Beneficiaries

NYSLRS retirement plans provide death benefits for beneficiaries of eligible members who die before retiring. If you are retired, your beneficiaries may be entitled to a post-retirement death benefit.

It’s important to name beneficiaries and review them periodically. Life circumstances sometimes change, and the beneficiary you named before might not be the one you would choose today. For example, if you just married, you may want to update your NYSLRS account information to name your new spouse as your beneficiary.

2 Types of Beneficiaries

  • Your primary beneficiary will receive your death benefit. You can list more than one primary beneficiary. If you do, they will share the benefit equally. Or you can choose different percentages for each beneficiary to total 100 percent. (Example: John Doe, 50 percent; Jane Doe, 25 percent; and Mary Doe, 25 percent.)
  • A contingent beneficiary will only receive a benefit if all your primary beneficiaries die before you do. If you list multiple contingent beneficiaries, they will share the benefit equally unless you choose different percentages.

Special Beneficiary Designations

Your beneficiary doesn’t have to be a person. You can name a charity, a trust or your estate as your beneficiary.

Special Beneficiary Designations for Your NYSLRS Death Benefit
  • Estate. When you die, your estate is the money and property you owned. Your death benefit will be given to the executor of your estate to be distributed according to the terms of your will. You can name your estate as the primary or contingent beneficiary of your death benefit. If you name your estate as the primary beneficiary, do not name a contingent beneficiary.
  • Trust. You can name a trust as a primary or contingent beneficiary if you have a trust agreement or provided for a trust in your will. The trust itself would be your beneficiary, not the individuals for whom you established the trust. (Speak with your attorney if you’re thinking about making your trust a beneficiary.)
  • Entity. You can also name any charitable, civic, religious, educational or health-related organization as a beneficiary.
  • Minor children. If your beneficiary is under the age of 18 at the time of your death, your benefit will be paid to the child’s court-appointed guardian. You may instead choose a custodian to receive the benefit on the child’s behalf under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). Custodians can be designated in Retirement Online or you can contact us for more information and the appropriate form before making this type of designation.

Keep Your Beneficiaries Up to Date

You can change your beneficiaries at any time. In addition to adding or removing them to reflect your current wishes, you should review the contact information for your named beneficiaries so we can find them when needed.

The fastest way to view or update your beneficiaries is in Retirement Online.

Find More Information

If you are not yet retired, you can read more about beneficiary designations in Life Changes: Why Should I Designate a Beneficiary?

If you are retired, you may wish to read our Can You Change Your Beneficiary After You Retire? blog post.

How Your Tier 6 Contribution Rate Can Change

Most NYSLRS members contribute a percentage of their earnings to help fund pension benefits. For Tier 6 members (those who joined NYSLRS on or after April 1, 2012), that percentage, or contribution rate, can change from year to year based on your earnings. The minimum rate is 3 percent of your earnings, and the maximum is 6 percent.

Overtime Pay Temporarily Excluded from Tier 6 Contribution Rates

The 2024–25 State budget included a new law which temporarily excludes overtime pay from the calculation of Tier 6 contribution rates. This may lower contribution rates for some Tier 6 members from April 1, 2024 through March 31, 2026.

For more information, read our blog post, Overtime Pay Temporarily Excluded from Tier 6 Contribution Rates.

Tier 6 contribution rates

When Tier 6 Contribution Rates are Determined

A Tier 6 member’s contribution rate is calculated annually. New rates become effective on April 1, the beginning of the state’s fiscal year. Once your rate is determined for a given fiscal year, it doesn’t change for the rest of that fiscal year. We provide rates to your employer in March, a few weeks before they need to apply any rate changes.

How Your Tier 6 Contribution Rate is Calculated

If you are a new NYSLRS member, during your first three years of membership your contribution rate is based on an estimated annual wage that your employer provided when you were enrolled as a new member.

If you have been a member for three or more years, NYSLRS calculates your rate using the earnings reported to us by your employer from the last completed fiscal year, April 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023.

Rates are calculated using your base pay, which includes:

This video will help explain how your contribution rate is determined:

How Your NYSLRS Pension Works

The amount you contribute to the Retirement System does not affect the amount of your pension. A NYSLRS pension is a defined-benefit plan. Under this type of plan, once you are eligible for a pension and apply for retirement, you will receive a monthly payment for the rest of your life. The amount of your pension will be calculated using a formula based on your retirement plan, years of service and final average earnings.

You can learn more about how your pension will be calculated by reading your retirement plan publication. Use our Find Your NYSLRS Retirement Plan Publication tool to find yours.

Make Sure You Receive Your Member Annual Statement

Member Annual Statements are distributed to NYSLRS members each spring. Don’t wait for a mailed copy — get your Statement online instead! You can update your delivery preference in Retirement Online to receive an email when your Statement is available.

(Note: Retiree Annual Statements were made available online in February.)

Get Your Member Annual Statement Sooner

You’ll receive your Member Annual Statement sooner if you choose to receive it through Retirement Online.

To update your delivery preference:

  • Sign in to Retirement Online.
  • From your Account Homepage, click “update” next to ‘Member Annual Statement by.’
  • Choose “Email” from the dropdown.
Get Your Member Annual Statement Faster with Retirement Online

Check and Update Your Contact Information

Retirement Online is the fastest way to check your contact information and update it if needed. If you don’t already have an email address on file, please provide it so that we can contact you quickly if we need to notify you about important information such as a change to your benefits. Use a personal email address you will have access to before and after you retire, rather than a work email address. You should also make sure your mailing address and phone number are current.

To update your contact information, click “update” next to your email address, mailing address or phone number to make corrections.

Use Retirement Online to Stay Informed

Your annual Statement is a snapshot of your NYSLRS account as of March 31. For the most up-to-date information year-round, sign in to your Retirement Online account.

In Retirement Online, you can view your date of membership, tier, retirement plan, estimated total service credit and more. Check out what else members can do in Retirement Online.

If you don’t already have an account, learn more and register for one today. If you need help with Retirement Online, read our Retirement Online Tools and Tips blog post.

Protecting Yourself from Scams

Your retirement account can be an attractive target for scammers, and imposters continue to find new ways to try to impersonate government agencies, such as NYSLRS or the Social Security Administration. Learn to distinguish fake messages from official NYSLRS communications and protect yourself from scams.

protecting yourself from scams

How Scams Work

Imposters pretend to be an agency or organization you already know to gain your trust. They use similar logos or imagery in correspondence. They may contact you from an email address that mimics — but isn’t identical to — those used by employees of the actual organization. Some can even make a real agency’s phone number appear on caller ID (known as spoofing).

Usually, once they contact you, they claim there is a problem (or prize or new benefit available) that requires your immediate attention. But here’s the catch: to fix the problem or receive the reward, the imposter needs you to pay them a fee or provide personal data, such as your Social Security number or bank account information. They may even threaten you with legal action, a suspension of your benefits or arrest if you fail to act in time.

If someone contacts you and you notice these signs of a scam, remain calm. Hang up the phone or delete the message if you feel like something is off. It’s the easiest way to avoid accidentally giving away personal information.

Artificial Intelligence Gives Scammers a New Tool

You should also be aware of an emerging threat — artificial intelligence (AI), which allows machines to mimic certain human behaviors, such as speech and writing. AI can personalize phishing emails, making it harder to recognize a fraudulent communication. It can impersonate the voice of a family member or friend, making you think they are in trouble or need money.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from AI-enhanced scams:

  • Don’t share sensitive information through text or social media;
  • Don’t send or transfer money to unknown locations;
  • Consider designating a “safe word” for your family to use to identify themselves and share that word with family members and close contacts; and
  • When in doubt, hang up and call your loved one back.

Doing Business With NYSLRS

Retirement Online, the convenient and secure way to do business with NYSLRS, is only available from the NYSLRS website. There is no mobile app available from NYSLRS. If you have a Retirement Online account, keep your username and password in a safe place and don’t share them with anyone.

Generally, NYSLRS will only call you if we are following up on a previous communication from you, such as a phone call, secure email message, Retirement Online request, form or letter. For security, you can use your NYSLRS ID to identify yourself instead of providing your Social Security number. To find your NYSLRS ID, sign in to Retirement Online, or check your annual statement or other correspondence from NYSLRS.

It’s important to review the communications you receive from NYSLRS. We send you letters or emails (depending on your delivery preference in Retirement Online) whenever you update your Retirement Online account or benefit information. However, if you receive a notification of an account change you did not make, contact us immediately.

Keep Your Password Current

Also, be sure to sign in to Retirement Online at least once a year and update your password so it doesn’t expire.

Retirement Online for Retirees Keeps Getting Better

More than 480,000 members and retirees have discovered that Retirement Online is the fastest way to do business with NYSLRS. It’s secure and convenient, and helps you avoid calling or mailing forms. It also gives you instant access to information about your benefits. And, your important documents will be available online, sooner than printed copies are mailed.

Retirement Online for Retirees Keeps Getting Better

Retirees Can Do Even More in Retirement Online

The Fastest Way to Get Your 1099-R Tax Document

With Retirement Online, you can get the tax information you need faster. If you receive a taxable benefit from NYSLRS, your 1099-R is now available online. Sign in to view, save or print your tax form for 2023.

View Your Retiree Annual Statement Online

Your Retiree Annual Statement provides important information about your benefit amount, deductions and tax withholding. Beginning with your 2023 Statement, you can now access it in Retirement Online.

Make the Switch to Email and ‘Go Green’

Be the first to know when documents are available online — email delivery gives you access to your important documents sooner. It also helps the environment by reducing paper consumption. ‘Go green’ by choosing the paperless option.

It’s easy to make the switch. To receive an email when your 1099-R tax form and Retiree Annual Statement are available in Retirement Online next year:

  • Sign in to Retirement Online.
  • From your Account Homepage, click the “update” link next to ‘1099-R Tax Form Delivery by’ or ‘Retiree Annual Statement by.’
  • Choose “Email” from the dropdown.

Be sure to check that the email address listed in your Retirement Online profile is current.

If you choose the email delivery preference, you will not receive a printed copy in the mail.

Don’t Forget These Timesaving Features

Change Your Federal Tax Withholding

No forms needed — Retirement Online is the fastest way to update your withholding. If you submit your changes by the middle of the month, they will generally be applied to that month’s payment.

Generate a Pension Verification Letter

There are organizations that may ask you for a letter verifying your pension income — maybe for housing or as part of an application for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). You can use Retirement Online to save or print your own letter any time you need one.

Manage Your Direct Deposit

Use Retirement Online to securely update your direct deposit bank account information. Whether you’ve switched banks or need to move your deposits to a different account, you can make those changes quickly with Retirement Online. Changes are generally applied within one to two payments, and more quickly than if you send in a paper form.

View Your Pension Pay Stubs

You can access pay stubs for your benefit payments by clicking the date of the payment you want to view. You can track year-to-date totals and any deductions for health insurance, union dues, tax withholding or disbursements under a domestic relations order, giving you greater insight into your benefits. NYSLRS will also send you a notice whenever the amount of your monthly payment changes.

Update Your Contact Information

Let us know if you move or your phone number or email address change. Update your contact information quickly in Retirement Online to make sure you continue to receive important news and information about your benefits.

You can even schedule an address change, so you’ll get NYSLRS mail at your seasonal home without interruption.

Manage Your Beneficiaries

Eligible retirees can change their beneficiary for their post-retirement death benefit or update contact information for an existing beneficiary.

If You Haven’t Opened Your Account, Sign Up Today

If you don’t have a Retirement Online account, now is a great time to sign up. Click “Sign Up” on our Retirement Online Sign In page to get started. We have step-by-step instructions on registering for your account and how to sign in for the first time. If it’s been a while, you may need to look up your user ID or reset your password.

You may also find our Retirement Online Tools and Tips blog post helpful.

Your Retiree Annual Statement: Now Available Online

Your Retiree Annual Statement is now available in Retirement Online! Retirees who opted to go paperless already received an email notifying them that their Statement is available in their Retirement Online account.

If you did not change your delivery preference to email, your Statement will be mailed by the end of February.

Get Your Statement Online Now

Whether you chose email delivery or not, you can access your Statement in your Retirement Online account now. To view, save or print your Statement:

If you don’t have an account, you can find step-by-step instructions for registering in the Tools & Tips section of the Retirement Online page.

Your Retiree Annual Statement is now available in Retirement Online

Inside Your Retiree Annual Statement

Your Statement has a new look this year, but it still contains the same information you receive every year about your benefit amount, deductions and tax withholding. Your Retiree Annual Statement includes:

  • Your NYSLRS ID. To protect your privacy, use this number instead of your Social Security number when conducting business with NYSLRS.
  • The total amount of your annual benefit. (This is your base benefit, before taxes, deductions and credits.)
  • Your total net benefit for the year. (This is your benefit after taxes, deductions and credits.)
  • The total amount of any cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), if you are eligible.
  • Your total Medicare credits (if eligible).
  • Federal tax withholding (if applicable).
  • Other deductions taken from your pension, such as payments to an alternate payee or union dues.
  • Health insurance premiums. (NYSLRS doesn’t administer health insurance benefits, but we deduct retiree premiums at the request of your former employer.)

Next Year Don’t Wait for the Mail

Going forward, your Statement will be available online in early February each year.

Update your delivery preference now to receive an email as soon as next year’s Retiree Annual Statement is available online:

  • Sign in to Retirement Online.
  • From your Account Homepage, click the “update” link next to ‘Retiree Annual Statement by.’
  • Choose “Email” from the dropdown.

If you choose to receive your Statement by email, you will not receive a printed copy in the mail.

Use Retirement Online to Stay Informed

Your Statement is a snapshot of your NYSLRS account as of December 31, 2023. For the most up-to-date information year-round, sign in to Retirement OnlineIf you don’t already have an account, you can learn more or register today.

In Retirement Online, you can view pay stubs for your benefit payments. Check them if you have a question or to track year-to-date totals of your pension benefit as well as any deductions for health insurance, union dues, tax withholding or disbursements under a domestic relations order.

Your Statement is Not a Tax Document

While your Retiree Annual Statement does include information about your benefit payments and tax withholding, it is not a tax document. If your pension is taxable, you should have received a 1099-R tax form (either through your Retirement Online account or by mail, depending on your delivery preference) for filing your taxes.