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NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Military Service Credit

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New Legislation Signed

Chapter 41 of the Laws of 2016 enables eligible NYSLRS members to buy back up to three years of active military service toward their retirement, regardless of when or where they served. For information about eligibility and the cost to receive retirement service credit for time served in the military under this new legislation, please see the section on Article 20 of the Retirement and Social Security law below.

Overview

You may be entitled to receive additional credit toward your retirement benefit for your military service.

There are different sections of the law that allow the crediting of military service. Once we receive your request, we will determine under what section(s) you qualify and which would be most advantageous to you.

In most cases, purchasing additional service credit will increase your retirement benefit. However, there are certain situations where doing so may not increase your benefit. Please visit our Publications page and refer to the booklet that applies to your plan and tier.

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 it will change if you purchase all or part of your military service.

If you are in one of the following groups, you currently cannot estimate your retirement benefit using our benefit calculator. However, you can contact our Call Center to determine if purchasing credit for your military service would be beneficial:

  • Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Tier 5 and 6 members in the Article 15 retirement plan;
  • Certain ERS members in special 20- or 25-year retirement plans; and
  • Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) members who joined on or after July 1, 2009.

Rules for Receiving Military Service Credit Under Article 20 (RSSL)

Eligibility

Veterans must:

  • Have been honorably discharged;
  • Have at least five years of credited service in the Retirement System;
  • Have not received credit for this service in any other public retirement system in New York State; and
  • Apply for and purchase military service credit prior to retirement.
Estimate Your Cost

For Tier 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 members, the cost will be 3 percent of the compensation you earned during the year of credited service immediately prior to our receipt of your request, times the number of years of military service being claimed. These payments are not deposited into your contribution account and are not available to borrow against with a Retirement System loan.

Example:

Member earned $50,000 over the last 12 months and is eligible to purchase 3 years of military service

$50,000 × 3% × 3 years = $4,500

For Tier 6 members, the cost will be 6 percent of the compensation you earned during the year of credited service immediately prior to our receipt of your request, times the number of years of military service being claimed. These payments are not deposited into your contribution account and are not available to borrow against with a Retirement System loan.

Example:

Member earned $50,000 over the last 12 months and is eligible to purchase 3 years of military service

$50,000 × 6% × 3 years = $9,000

How to Apply

1. Scan and email your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty papers (DD-214) to msunit@osc.state.ny.us and include your name and contact information. You’ll receive an email acknowledging that we received your request.

OR

2. Fax your name, contact information and a copy of your DD-214 to 518-486-6405 or 518-402-7799.

OR

3. Mail your name, contact information and a copy of your DD-214 to:

Military Service Unit

110 State Street

Albany, NY 12244-0001

You’ll receive an acknowledgement letter once we begin processing your request. If you have questions, email us at msunit@osc.state.ny.us.

Rules for Receiving Military Service Credit Under Sections 242 and 243 (RSSL)

Section 243 of the Military Law

Eligibility

Veterans must:

  • Be a member of the Retirement System before entering the military;
  • Enter the military within six months of your last employment; and
  • Have returned to your position while your Retirement System membership was still active.

Cost depends on your plan and tier.

Section 242 of the Military Law

Eligibility

Veterans must:

  • Be a member of the Retirement System before entering the military; and
  • Return to public employment.

Cost depends on your plan and tier.

Note: Members who were called to active military duty from 8/1/90 – 12/31/92 and/or 9/11/01 – 12/31/05, who were not receiving full salary from a participating employer and are otherwise eligible to receive retirement service credit for the active military duty under Section 242 or 243 of the New York State Military Law, can be credited with this service without having to make contributions.

Federal Legislation

The following federal legislation, for pension purposes, allows a reemployed person to be treated as not having incurred a break in service with their employer during the person’s period of military service, as specified in the legislation.

Veterans Reemployment Rights Statute (VRR)

Veterans must have been employed by a participating employer of the Retirement System within six months prior to entering the military and must have applied for reemployment with the same employer within 90 days from their discharge date.

Uniform Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

This act replaces the VRR, effective December 12, 1994. Veterans must have been a member of the Retirement System prior to entering the military. This statute does not specify a limit on the period of time in advance of military service that employees may leave employment. If employers consider they were properly notified, so will the Retirement System. If military service exceeds 180 days, you must have applied for reemployment with the same employer within 90 days from the date of discharge.

How to Apply:

Regardless of when you served, to apply for military service credit you can:

1. Scan and email your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty papers (DD-214) to msunit@osc.state.ny.us and include your name and contact information. You’ll receive an email acknowledging that we received your request.

OR

2. Fax your name, contact information and a copy of your DD-214 to 518-486-6405 or 518-402-7799.

OR

3. Mail your name, contact information and a copy of your DD-214 to:

Military Service Unit

110 State Street

Albany, NY 12244-0001

You’ll receive an acknowledgement letter once we begin processing your request. If you have questions, email us at msunit@osc.state.ny.us.

Paying for Military Service Credit

Once we process your request, we will inform you of the cost (if any) to receive credit for your military service. If you decide to purchase the credit, you can choose from three payment options:

  • Send us a single lump sum payment.
  • Authorize payroll deductions.
  • Authorize a trustee-to-trustee transfer. We can accept transfers only from certain types of plans. Details will be provided in our letter notifying you of the cost.

If you choose to make payments through payroll deductions, the length of time to purchase your previous 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 one year.

Note: We do not accept payments from members who are off the payroll of a participating employer and are not vested.

(Rev. 6/16)

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