Understanding Your NYSLRS Membership

Whether you’ve just joined NYSLRS or have been a member for years, it’s important to understand how your membership works and the benefits you are entitled to receive.

Membership Basics
Your Membership and Benefits Explained

Read Membership in a Nutshell to understand how your NYSLRS membership affects the financial future of you and your loved ones.

Mandatory or Optional Membership

Are you a mandatory or optional NYSLRS member? Usually, workers with participating employers must join NYSLRS, but for some part-time or temporary workers, membership is optional.

The Date You Join Determines Your Tier

When you join NYSLRS, you are assigned to one of six tiers based on your date of membership and the retirement system you joined.

A Part of Your Earnings Helps Fund Your Benefits

Most members must contribute part of their earnings to NYSLRS to help fund retirement benefits. The amount you pay and how long you pay depends on your tier and which system you join.

Credit for All Your Public Service

NYSLRS members can request additional service credit based on past employment, a previous membership in another State retirement system or active military service.

Reinstate, Transfer or Withdraw Your Membership

Under certain conditions, NYSLRS members can reinstate previous memberships, and members in other State retirement systems may be able to transfer to NYSLRS. Some members who leave public employment can withdraw their memberships.

Member Benefits
Vested Means You’ve Earned a Benefit

Vested members are entitled to a NYSLRS retirement benefit once they meet certain age and service credit requirements. Read about other milestones for ERS members and milestones for PFRS members.

Death Benefits

Some NYSLRS members leave behind an ongoing pension, but beyond that, their loved ones may also receive a death benefit.

Pension Benefits if You Can’t Work

NYSLRS members have certain disability benefits available should they become permanently unable to continue their work.


Active NYSLRS members with at least one year of service credit can borrow against their retirement contributions.