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Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Seal

NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Military Service Credit

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Frequently Asked Questions

For Military Service under Article 20 of
Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL)

toggle buttontoggle buttonCan I request military service if I am off the payroll?

Members who are vested can request and purchase military service credit at any time prior to retirement.

toggle buttontoggle buttonWhat if I served as part of the reserves or National Guard instead of during active wartime?

Reserve and National Guard service may be allowable if you have active duty service (for example, during boot camp), have a DD214 and meet eligibility requirements.

toggle buttontoggle buttonI filed for retirement, but have not yet reached my retirement date. Am I eligible?

As long as you submit your request and purchase your military service credit before your retirement date, you can qualify to purchase this service credit.

If you submit your request before your date of retirement, and we do not provide a cost letter to you before your date of retirement, your cost letter will provide you with the deadline to make payment.

toggle buttontoggle buttonCan I receive credit for service both before and after I joined NYSLRS?

Yes. You can receive credit whether your military service was before or after you became an NYSLRS member.

toggle buttontoggle buttonI am already retired. Can I request military service credit?

No. Only members whose date of retirement is on or after June 1, 2016 are eligible to apply, and you must submit your request before your retirement date. If your date of retirement was before June 1, 2016, you were not eligible to apply for military service credit under the new law.

toggle buttontoggle buttonI cannot find my Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty papers (DD-214); what do I do?

If you do not have your DD-214 form and were discharged from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, you may request a copy online through the National Archives’ Veterans Service Records website, or you may fax or mail a Request Pertaining to Military Records (SF-180) to them at:

National Personnel Records Center

Military Personnel Records

1 Archives Drive

St. Louis, MO 63138

Fax: 1-314-801-9195

toggle buttontoggle buttonWill the service credit benefit me?

In most cases, buying additional service credit will increase your retirement benefit. However, if you are close to the maximum service credit allowed in your retirement plan, the additional service credit may not benefit you.

Most members can use our Benefit Projection Calculator to estimate their retirement benefit. Try estimating your retirement benefit with and without the military service credit to see how your benefit will change if you purchase all or part of your military service.

toggle buttontoggle buttonHow do I pay for my military service credit?

You can choose to pay through payroll deductions (if you are on the payroll of a participating public employer), a lump sum payment, or a rollover from a qualified plan. The service will be credited as you pay for it. For example, if you pay through payroll deductions, and you have paid for one month of military service, then you will be credited with one month of service credit.

toggle buttontoggle buttonHow long can I take to purchase this service credit?

When we finish processing your military service credit request, we will send you a letter that tells you the amount of service you are eligible to purchase and the cost for this service. The letter will also include the date by which you must authorize payroll deductions or pay the cost in full.

If you choose to pay through payroll deductions, the length of time to purchase your military service cannot exceed the total service credit you are purchasing. For example, if you are purchasing one year of credit, payment must be completed within a year.

If you choose to pay a lump sum or through a rollover from a qualified plan, we must receive your payment by the date stated in the letter. If you wish to pay later, the cost must be recalculated.

toggle buttontoggle buttonHow long will it take to process my request for military service?

The current processing time for military service credit requests is 120 days; however, processing time can vary depending on the number of requests we receive.

toggle buttontoggle buttonWhat if the service I purchased cannot be used in my retirement benefit calculation?

The cost plus interest will be refunded if the military service credit does not benefit you.

toggle buttontoggle buttonWhat if I purchase my military service and pass away prior to retirement?

If the military service credit you purchased does not provide a better death benefit, the cost plus interest will be refunded to your named beneficiaries.

toggle buttontoggle buttonCan military service credit be used to reach retirement benefit milestones?

Yes. Military service credit can be used to reach certain milestones, for example, it can be used to:

  • Qualify for vesting. For example, if you need ten years of service credit to be vested and you have nine years and ten months of service credit, your military service credit can be used to reach the ten years.
  • Qualify for a better retirement benefit calculation. For example, if you have 19 ½ years of service credit but your pension will improve substantially if you have 20 years, your military service credit can be used to reach the 20 years.
  • Meet the service credit requirement to retire under a special 20- or 25-year plan.

(Rev. 6/16)

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