Becoming vested is a crucial milestone in your NYSLRS membership.
You become vested after you earn enough years of service credit. Once you’re vested, you have earned the right to receive a retirement benefit, even if you leave public employment before retirement.
Legislation Changed Vesting Requirements for Tier 5 and 6 Members
As of April 9, 2022, Tier 5 and 6 members only need five years of service credit to be vested. This affects members of both the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) and the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS). Previously, Tier 5 and 6 members needed ten years of service to be eligible for a service retirement benefit (the new legislation does not change eligibility for disability retirement benefits that are established by your retirement plan).
You can sign in to your Retirement Online account to view your total estimated service credit and vesting status.
Tier 5 members with five or more years of service can estimate their pension benefit in Retirement Online. Tier 6 members with between five and ten years of service credit can contact us to request a pension estimate.
If you are a Tier 5 or 6 member with five or more years of service and you meet the minimum age requirements for your retirement plan, you can apply for a service retirement benefit if you wish. Most NYSLRS members are eligible to collect a pension as early as age 55, but, depending on your tier and retirement plan, benefits may be reduced if you retire before your full retirement age.
This legislation did not change Tier 5 or 6 benefit rules such as how long you must contribute, your pension benefit calculation, your full retirement age, reductions to retire early or the cost to purchase previous service. However, additional new legislation may affect contribution rates for some Tier 6 members.
Tier 5 and 6 members who left public employment with five or more years of service and did not withdraw their membership are now considered to be vested.
Tier 5 and 6 members who leave public employment with more than five but less than ten years of service as of April 9, 2022, now have the option to either apply for a retirement benefit once you reach retirement age or withdraw your contributions. You cannot withdraw your contributions once you have ten years of service. As a reminder, once you withdraw your contributions, you end your membership with NYSLRS and are no longer eligible for a retirement benefit.
If you were a Tier 5 or 6 member and were off the payroll for more than seven years prior to April 9, 2022, your membership is considered withdrawn and terminated. You would need to return to payroll and reinstate your withdrawn membership in order to be eligible for five-year vesting.
All Members — When Will I Be Vested?
NYSLRS members in Tier 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 need five years of service credit to be vested.
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.
If you purchase credit for previous service, that credit can be used toward vesting.
Vesting is automatic. You do not need to file any paperwork to become vested.