Frequently Asked Questions
- When did Tier 6 begin?
- I’m already a member. Will this Tier 6 affect me?
- As a Tier 6 member, will I have to contribute for my entire career?
- How much will I be required to contribute?
- If I work for more than one participating employer, will contributions be deducted from each of my paychecks?
- Can I borrow against my contributions?
- Will my contributions increase my pension benefit?
- How long will Tier 6 members have to work to become vested?
- Will Tier 6 members still be able to choose early retirement and receive a reduced service retirement benefit?
- As a Tier 6 member, will I still be able to work overtime? 1
- It’s not mandatory for me to join the Employees’ Retirement System and I haven’t opted to join yet. Since I was on the payroll before April 1, 2012, if I decide to join at a later date, will I qualify for Tier 5 benefits?
- Can Tier 6 members apply for reinstatement of a previous membership and tier?
- Are Tier 6 members able to get retirement service credit for military service in the U.S. armed forces?
Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) and Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) members who first join the Retirement System on or after April 1, 2012 will be in Tier 6.
No. Members who joined prior to April 1, 2012 (ERS Tiers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and PFRS Tiers 1, 2, 3 and 5) will not be affected by this law.
ERS Tier 6 members must contribute for all their years of public service, except State Correction Officers, whose contributions are limited to 30 years.
Some PFRS Tier 6 members will not be required to make contributions, e.g. PFRS members who have accrued the maximum service allowed by their retirement plan.
From April 1, 2012 thru March 31, 2013, both ERS and PFRS Tier 6 members will be required to contribute 3 percent of their gross salary, except Uniformed Court Officers and Peace Officers employed by the Unified Court System, who contribute 4 percent.
Starting April 1, 2013, the contribution rates are based on your annual wage. Future changes in your annual wage may affect your contribution rate.
Wages 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%
Yes. Once you become a member, if you are required to contribute, contributions must be deducted from any salary earned in public employment.
Tier 6 members can borrow against their mandatory contributions once they meet eligibility requirements.
No. You are covered by a defined benefit pension plan. When you retire, the amount of your pension will be based on several factors, including your years of service, final average salary and the formula specified by your retirement plan. The contributions you make help fund your pension, but are not used in determining your pension benefit.
Tier 6 members must have ten years of service credit to be vested and become eligible for service retirement benefits.
Yes. Tier 6 ERS members can retire between ages 55 and 63. The retirement benefit will be reduced 6.5 percent for each year of early retirement.
PFRS Tier 6 members can retire between ages 55 and 62. The percentage of the reduction depends on your age at retirement; for example, if you retire at 55, your pension would be reduced by 27 percent. If you retire at age 61, the reduction would be 6 percent.
Both ERS and PFRS members can work overtime, but there are limits on the amount of overtime pay that is reported to the Retirement System or used in a final average salary (FAS) calculation. You are not required to make retirement contributions on overtime pay that exceeds the limit.
For ERS Tier 6 members, please refer to our Tier 6 overtime limitation chart. This limit is adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index each December. For PFRS Tier 6 members, the limit is 15 percent of salary.
It’s not mandatory for me to join the Employees’ Retirement System and I haven’t opted to join yet. Since I was on the payroll before April 1, 2012, if I decide to join at a later date, will I qualify for Tier 5 benefits?
No. To qualify for Tier 5 benefits, you must have become a member before April 1, 2012, i.e., you must have completed a membership application and your employer must have registered you with the Retirement System prior to April 1, 2012. Remember, as an optional member, you must be working and on the payroll of a participating employer on your date of membership.
Yes. If you believe you may be eligible for reinstatement to a previous Tier 1 or 2 membership, you should complete an Application to Reinstate a Former Tier 1 or 2 Membership (RS5506) . If you have a previous Tier 3, 4 or 5 membership, please send a letter requesting reinstatement to our Member Services Bureau. Provide as much information about your previous membership as possible (i.e. former retirement system, employer, job title, dates of employment and registration number).
Yes. Tier 6 members purchasing service credit for military service under Article 20 of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL), which is service that is typically well before a person’s date of membership, will pay 6 percent of their salary multiplied by the amount of service credit they are purchasing. To purchase Article 20 military service credit, send us an Application for Military Service Credit (RS5509) along with a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214).
There are many laws and statutes besides Article 20 that dictate eligibility dates, circumstances, cost to you and your employer and maximum credit allowed. To find out if you qualify, send us a written request and a copy of your DD-214.
1 Updated as of 2/14