Employees’ Retirement System Benefits
From April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013, Tier 6 members contribute 3 percent of their gross salary toward their retirement benefits, except for Uniformed Court Officers or Peace Officers employed by the Unified Court System, who contribute 4 percent. Beginning April 1, 2013, the contribution rate will be based on your annual wage. Future salary changes may affect your contribution rate.
|$45,000 or less||3%|
|$45,000.01 to $55,000||3.5%|
|$55,000.01 to $75,000||4.5%|
|$75,000.01 to $100,000||5.75%|
|More than $100,000||6%|
The amount of your retirement benefit is based on your age at retirement, service credit and final average salary.
You receive retirement service credit for your public employment (paid service as an employee or officer of an employer that participates in the New York State and Local Retirement System). One year of full-time employment is the same as one year of retirement service credit. Part-time service is prorated.
Final Average Salary (FAS)
FAS is the average of your highest five consecutive years of earnings in public employment, subject to limitations. Usually, this period is the five years of employment immediately before retirement, but it can occur at any time during your career.
The wages in any year used in the FAS cannot exceed the average of the previous four years by more than 10 percent. Any amount in excess of the 10 percent is excluded from the FAS calculation.
Your FAS can include, but is not limited to, the following types of payments. In some cases, certain restrictions may apply.
- Regular salary
- Overtime and noncompensatory overtime up to the annual limit, if earned in the FAS period
- Holiday pay
- Longevity payments (maximum of five), if earned in the years used in the FAS calculation
In most cases, the following payments cannot be included in the FAS:
- Unused sick leave
- Payments made as a result of working vacation
- Any form of termination pay
- Payments made in anticipation of retirement
- Lump sum payments for deferred compensation
- Any payments made for time not worked
- Lump sum payments for accumulated vacation
- Wages in excess of the Governor’s salary, currently $179,000
- For members paid by three or more employers, wages paid by more than two of those employers
Overtime pay in excess of an annual cap cannot be used in your final average salary calculation.
This overtime cap for fiscal year 2014 (April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014) is $15,261. The overtime cap increases each fiscal year. The amount of the increase is based on the Consumer Price Index on December 31 of the previous year.
Service Retirement Benefit
You will be eligible for a service retirement benefit when you have ten or more years of service credit and reach retirement age. You can receive your full retirement benefit at age 63 or choose to retire as early as age 55 with a reduced benefit.
|Age at Retirement||Percentage of Reduction|
- If you retire with less than 20 years of service credit, the benefit equals 1/60th (1.66 percent) of your FAS for each year of service credit.
- If you retire with 20 years of service credit, the benefit equals 35 percent of your FAS.
- You will receive an additional 2 percent of your FAS for each year of service credit in excess of 20 years.
Your retirement benefit is payable to you for your lifetime. It may also provide a payment to a beneficiary after your death, depending on the benefit payment option you choose at retirement.
Vested Retirement Benefit
If you leave public employment before you are eligible for a service retirement benefit, but have at least ten years of credited service, you can apply for and receive your full vested retirement benefit at age 63, or a reduced benefit between ages 55 and 63. Vesting is automatic — you do not have to fill out any paperwork or file an application. However, you will need to file a retirement application to begin receiving your vested benefit.
Disability Retirement Benefit
If you become unable to perform your duties because of a permanent physical or mental incapacity, you may be eligible for a disability retirement benefit, which is a lifetime pension based on your FAS, service credit and age at retirement. If your disability results from an on-the-job accident not due to your own negligence, no minimum amount of service credit is required; otherwise, you need ten years of service credit to qualify. There are also specific filing requirements that must be met.
If you die while you are in public service, your beneficiary may be entitled to a death benefit payment. If your death is due to an on-the-job accident, no minimum amount of service credit is required; otherwise, you must have at least one year of service credit to qualify for an ordinary death benefit. Your member contributions plus interest earned are also payable to your beneficiary.
If you leave public employment with at least ten years of service credit, 50 percent of the ordinary death benefit may still be payable. If you die after retirement, your beneficiary may be entitled to a post-retirement death benefit payment.