You may be able to receive credit toward your retirement benefit for military service or other public employment.
If you served in the U.S. Armed Forces, you may be eligible to purchase credit toward your retirement benefit for your military service. Military service is creditable under most 20- and 25-year retirement plans. Because service credit is a factor in calculating a NYSLRS retirement benefit, in most cases, buying military service credit will increase your pension. You can receive credit whether your military service was before or after you joined NYSLRS. For more information, visit our Military Service Credit page. Contributions you make to purchase military service cannot be withdrawn if you leave public employment and end your membership with NYSLRS. If you have any questions about purchasing military service, please contact us.
For military service requests, attach/include a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214). (It must show that you were honorably discharged.)
Additional Service for Previous Public Employment
You may be able to receive credit for paid employment with a participating employer before you joined PFRS, or paid employment with a participating employer before that employer elected to participate in PFRS.
However, it’s important to note that under most 20- and 25-year retirement plans, only service in certain job titles is creditable toward the retirement benefit calculation. Receiving credit for previous public employment likely will not provide additional benefits if you retire under a 20- or 25-year retirement plan. Credit for previous employment may, however, count toward disability or death benefits. Also, if you are in a tier or retirement plan that is not required to make membership contributions, you may be able to receive credit for previous public employment at no cost. Contact us for more information or to verify whether your previous service would increase your pension benefit.
For additional service requests, you should provide proof of your service such as W-2 forms and pay stubs. We will reach out to your former employer for your employment information, if necessary.
Applying for Military or Additional Service Credit
To request credit for additional or military service, sign in to your Retirement Online account, scroll down to the ‘My Account Summary’ area of your Account Homepage and click the “Manage my Service Credit Purchases” button. The Service Credit Purchase Accounts webpage will appear. Click “Request Additional Service Credit.”
You can also apply by mail by submitting a Request to Purchase Service Credit (including any military service) (RS5042).
Include all the details you can about the period of military service or employment for which you are seeking credit.
We will determine your eligibility for military or additional service and inform you of any cost.
You may want to apply for all the service credit you are entitled to receive as early as possible, because:
- If there is a cost, it is generally less expensive than if you wait to purchase at a later date;
- We can process your retirement benefit more quickly if your service credit is in order;
- Records documenting your service will more likely be available; and
- If your tier or retirement plan allows you to stop making contributions after a certain period of time, you will stop paying contributions sooner.
For all requests, you must apply before your date of retirement. If you are requesting additional service credit to establish eligibility for a vested retirement benefit, you must request credit while you are on the payroll of a participating employer. If you receive a statement of cost after you leave payroll, you must make payment within 30 days of the date of the statement of cost.
Reminder: If your additional service brings your total credited service to ten or more years, you would not be eligible to withdraw your contributions and end your membership if you leave public employment.
Service from a Previous Membership
If you previously were a member of NYSLRS, or another public retirement system in New York State, your service may be recredited and your date of membership and tier restored. However, an earlier tier of membership does not always result in a better benefit. Please review your options carefully before making your decision, and contact us with any questions you may have.
For reinstatement to an earlier membership within NYSLRS, or for reinstatement to an earlier membership in another public retirement system, sign in to your Retirement Online account. From your Account Homepage, go to the ‘My Account Summary’ area and click “Reinstate a Previous Membership.” You can also apply by mail by submitting the Application to Reinstate a Former Membership (RS5506).