What to Know About ERS Tier 6

Tier status is a major factor in determining your NYSLRS retirement benefits. Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members who joined NYSLRS on or after April 1, 2012, are in Tier 6. They have plenty of company. There were 285,750 ERS Tier 6 members as of March 31, 2020, making up nearly 45 percent of ERS membership.

ERS Tier 6 members contribute to the Retirement System based on their earnings, but the amount of their pensions will be determined by years of service and final average salary, not by the amount of their contributions.

ERS Tier 6 Membership Milestones

ERS Tier 6 members need ten years of service credit to become vested. Once vested, they’re eligible for a lifetime pension benefit as early as age 55, but if they retire before the full retirement age of 63, their benefit will be reduced. Tier 6 correction officers, however, can retire with 25 years of service, regardless of age, without penalty.

The Final Average Earnings (FAE) Calculation

An ERS Tier 6 member’s final average earnings is the average of their earnings in the five highest-paid consecutive years of employment. Earnings in any year included in the period cannot exceed the average earnings of the previous four years by more than 10 percent.

Tier 6 Service Retirement Benefit

Generally, if an ERS Tier 6 member retires with less than 20 years, the benefit is 1.66 percent of their FAE for each year of service. If a member retires with exactly 20 years of service, the benefit is 1.75 percent of their FAE for each year of service (35 percent of the member’s FAE).

If a member retires with more than 20 years of service, they receive 35 percent for the first 20 years, plus 2 percent for each additional year. For example, a member with 35 years of service can retire at 63 with a pension worth 65 percent of their FAE.

If you’re an ERS Tier 6 member, you can find out more about your benefits in one of these plan booklets:

25 thoughts on “What to Know About ERS Tier 6

    1. NYSLRS Post author

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

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

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

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      No. Your total service credit is used in determining whether you are vested, even if you have a break in service. It would, however, take longer than 10 calendar years to become vested if you have a break in service or work less than full-time.

      You can check your estimated total service credit in Retirement Online. Sign in at web.osc.state.ny.us/retire/sign-in.php and look under ‘My Account Summary.’

      Reply
  1. Joe

    I’m a tier 6 Corrections Officer and plan on resigning before having 5 years on the job. If and how much will my pension money be taxed and penalized when I decide to withdraw when I leave NYS employment?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you withdraw your contributions, the payment is reportable for federal income tax purposes. If you do not roll over your payment into another qualified retirement plan, NYSLRS will withhold 20 percent of the taxable amount. Depending on your age when you withdraw, you may have to pay a 10 percent penalty in addition to income tax.

      More information is available beginning on page 4 of the Withdrawal Application. You may also wish to consult a tax adviser before withdrawing your contributions.

      Your contributions are not subject to New York State income tax.

      If you have further questions, we suggest you email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      For Tier 5 and 6 members, overtime pay that exceeds the annual limit cannot be included in a member’s final average salary. You can find the annual limits for Tier 5 and Tier 6 on our website.

      Reply
  2. Charley

    If a tier 6 person can retire in 89p:

    When can they retire age wise without penalty?

    Will overtime be counted towards their final average salary?

    If so, how much over base will be counted?

    If the final average allows overtime over base, is there a specific amount of overtime that will be counted before there is no longer a benefit to working overtime for the purpose of growing retirement?

    Can you also do those numbers for tier 5 members?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Retirement dates and overtime rules vary by retirement plan and tier. For information about the how these factors would affect your pension, 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
  3. Barb Murphy

    Is you pay in for prior service which occurred during a prior tier (tier 5 versus 6), could your total credited time move you from 6 to 5? Also, how many years in tier 6 are needed to be eligible for retiree health insurance and is a spouse covered in retirement?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Please check with your employer regarding health insurance questions. NYSLRS doesn’t administer health insurance benefits.

      As far as your tier change question, generally, if you did not join the retirement system during an earlier tier, you won’t be able to change your tier. However, you may be able to get credit for that employment. We suggest that you email your question to our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website (see link below}. Please include the employer you worked for and the approximate dates. 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.

      http://www.emailNYSLRS.com

      Reply
  4. Martin Fogarty

    I am 51 years old and just started working corrections in March. If I work 12 years till I am 63, will I receive a pension of 1.66 percent of my 5 best years? Also, will I be eligible for medical benefits for my spouse and I?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The benefits you receive at retirement vary by plan. To get the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form, and 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.

      Please note that NYSLRS doesn’t administer health insurance programs for its members. We recommend you reach out to your employer’s benefits administrator – they should be able to answer your questions.

      Reply
  5. Chris

    If I put in 10 years of service to become vested and then left state service, at 55 would I then get a pension equivalent to 10 years service reduced by 52% or would it be reduced further because I left service at a much younger age?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Benefit reductions for early retirement are based on your age when you retire, not how old you were when you left public service.

      If you have questions about your particular situation, you can email 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

      Thank you for your suggestion. Please continue to visit our blog for retirement-related articles, and in the meantime, you can review your 89-p plan on our Publications page.

      Reply
  6. Grace DeJohn

    what address do I use to add more money to my retirement account please? and if I started retirement in 2010 does that still make me tier 6?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, Employees’ Retirement System members who joined January 1, 2010, through March 31, 2012, are in Tier 5. Tier 5 Police and Fire Retirement System members joined January 9, 2010, through March 31, 2012.

      Unfortunately, you cannot make additional deposits to NYSLRS to count towards your pension. If you would like to save more toward your retirement, you may want to consider the Deferred Compensation plan, which allows you to save a portion of your gross salary before federal or New York State taxes are deducted. If you are a New York State employee, visit the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan website or call 1-800-422-8463 to learn more about deferred compensation or a similar plan. If you work for a local government, check with your Personnel office.

      Reply

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