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NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Membership Milestones for Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Members

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No matter which retirement plan you’re covered under, there are important milestones you need to know. Understanding your milestones will help you develop a sound financial plan. Select your retirement plan from the Table of Contents to see how your years of service affect your retirement benefits. If your plan isn’t listed, please refer to your plan booklet on our publications page.

Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Tier 3

Before Retirement:

  • Immediately upon joining, you are covered by certain job-related death and disability benefits.
  • After 1 year of service credit, you are covered by a non-job-related death benefit.
  • With 5 years of service credit, you become vested and are entitled to a monthly benefit that may start as early as age 55. (You will forfeit the monthly benefit if you withdraw your contributions.)
  • With 5 years of service credit, you are eligible to apply for a non-job-related disability benefit.
  • With 10 years of service credit or if 10 years have passed since you joined, you are no longer required to contribute 3 percent of your salary.
  • With 10 or more years of service credit, you are:
    • Eligible for an out-of-service death benefit, if you leave public employment and die prior to your retirement.
    • No longer able to withdraw your membership and receive a refund of your contributions.
  • With 20 years of service credit, your annual benefit at retirement will increase significantly.
  • With 30 years of service credit, reductions for early retirement between age 55 and 62 are eliminated.

After Retirement:

  • If you retire directly from payroll, you will be covered by a post-retirement death benefit.
  • After you retire and begin collecting a monthly benefit, you will receive annual cost-of-living (COLA) increases when you meet eligibility requirements.

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Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Tier 4

Before Retirement:

  • Immediately upon joining, you are covered by certain job-related death and disability benefits.
  • After 1 year of service credit, you are covered by a non-job-related death benefit.
  • With 5 years of service credit, you become vested and are entitled to a monthly benefit that may start as early as age 55. (You will forfeit the monthly benefit if you withdraw your contributions.)
  • With 10 years of service credit or if 10 years have passed since you joined, you are no longer required to contribute 3 percent of your salary.
  • With 10 or more years of service credit, you are:
    • Eligible to apply for a non-job-related disability benefit.
    • Eligible for an out-of-service death benefit, if you leave public employment and die prior to your retirement.
    • No longer able to withdraw your membership and receive a refund of your contributions.
  • With 20 years of service credit, your annual benefit at retirement will increase significantly.
  • With 30 years of service credit, reductions for early retirement between age 55 and 62 are eliminated.

After Retirement:

  • If you retire directly from payroll, you will be covered by a post-retirement death benefit.
  • After you retire and begin collecting a monthly benefit, you will receive annual cost-of-living (COLA) increases when you meet eligibility requirements.

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Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Tier 5 & 6

Before Retirement:

  • Immediately upon joining, you are covered by certain job-related death and disability benefits.
  • After 1 year of service credit, you are covered by a non-job-related death benefit.
  • With 10 years of service credit, you become vested and are entitled to a monthly benefit that may start as early as age 55.
  • With 10 or more years of service credit, you are:
    • Eligible to apply for a non-job-related disability benefit.
    • Eligible for an out-of-service death benefit, if you leave public employment and die prior to your retirement.
    • No longer able to withdraw your membership and receive a refund of your contributions.
  • With 20 years of service credit, your annual benefit at retirement will increase significantly.

After Retirement:

  • If you retire directly from payroll, you will be covered by a post-retirement death benefit.
  • After you retire and begin collecting a monthly benefit, you will receive annual cost-of-living (COLA) increases when you meet eligibility requirements.

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Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Tier 3 Correction Officers — Special 25-Year Plan

Before Retirement:

  • Immediately upon joining the system, you are covered by certain job-related death and disability benefits.
  • After 90 days of service credit, you are covered by a non-job-related death benefit.
  • With 5 years of service credit, you become vested and are entitled to a monthly benefit that may start as early as age 55. (You will forfeit the monthly benefit if you withdraw your contributions.)
  • With 10 years of service credit or if 10 years have passed since you joined, you are no longer required to contribute 3 percent of your salary.
  • With 10 or more years of service credit, you are:
    • Eligible to apply for a non-job-related disability benefit.*
    • Eligible for an out-of-service death benefit, if you leave public employment and die prior to your retirement.
    • No longer able to withdraw your membership and receive a refund of your contributions.
  • With 25 years of service creditable in your special plan, you are eligible to retire at any age.
  • If you are 55 or older at retirement and your regular plan benefit is greater than your special plan benefit, you will receive the higher benefit.
  • A maximum of 30 years of service credit can be used in your pension calculation.

After Retirement:

  • After you retire and begin collecting a monthly benefit, you will receive annual cost-of-living (COLA) increases when you meet eligibility requirements.

*If your date of membership is before September 1, 1983, you are eligible to apply for a non-job-related disability benefit when you have 5 or more years of service credit.

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Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Tier 5 & 6 Correction Officers — Special 25-Year Plan

Before Retirement:

  • Immediately upon joining, you are covered by certain job-related death and disability benefits.
  • After 90 days of service credit, you are covered by a non-job-related death benefit.
  • With 10 years of service credit, you become vested and are entitled to a monthly benefit that may start as early as age 55.
  • With 10 or more years of service credit, you are:
    • Eligible to apply for a non-job-related disability benefit.
    • Eligible for an out-of-service death benefit, if you leave public employment and die prior to your retirement.
    • No longer able to withdraw your membership and receive a refund of your contributions.
  • With 25 years of service creditable in your special plan, you are eligible to retire at any age.
  • If you are 55 or older at retirement and your regular plan benefit is greater than your special plan benefit, you will receive the higher benefit.
  • With 30 years of service credit, you are no longer required to contribute.
  • A maximum of 30 years of service credit can be used in your pension calculation.

After Retirement:

  • After you retire and begin collecting a monthly benefit, you will receive annual cost-of-living (COLA) increases when you meet eligibility requirements.

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(Rev. 4/12)