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A Special Plan for Uniformed Court and Peace Officers in the Unified Court System (Tiers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)

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An alternative retirement plan for uniformed court officers/peace officers employed by the Unified Court System has been available since 1988. The features of this plan are briefly described in this publication.

For information about other benefits available to you, please consult the summary of your regular plan, which is available on our website or from our Call Center.

Eligibility

As a uniformed court officer or a court peace officer, you are automatically covered by this retirement plan. The Office of Court Administration must certify eligible employees.

Retirement Benefit

Most Tier 3, 4, 5 and 6 members are required to contribute a percentage of your earnings towards your retirement benefits. Some Tier 2 members are required to contribute. Contribution requirements vary depending on your Tier, retirement plan and service credit. Please refer to the summary of your regular retirement plan for further information.

For Tier 2, 3 and 4 members, the service retirement benefit under this alternative retirement plan is the same as the benefit under the regular plan your employer provides. You may retire with full benefits as early as age 55 if you have 30 years of creditable service. Your benefit will be 60 percent of your final average salary. If you have less than 30 years of service, you may retire between the ages of 55 and 62, but your benefit will be reduced for early retirement.

Tier 5 members may retire with the same benefit as Tier 2, 3 and 4 members, but you would be required to make 4% contributions for all of your service credit.

For Tier 6 members your service retirement benefit is the regular plan benefit that your employer provides.

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Accidental Disability Retirement Benefit (Section 605-a) For Tier 3, 4, 5, and 6 Members*

If approved, this benefit is 75 percent of your final average salary, reduced by the total amount of Workers’ Compensation benefits you may become entitled to receive.

Eligibility

Regardless of the amount of service credit you have, you may be eligible for the accidental disability retirement benefit if you:

  • Were hired by the Unified Court System on or after July 27, 1976, and
  • Become permanently incapacitated, either physically or mentally, and unable to perform your job as the direct result of an on-the-job accident which was not due to your own willful negligence; or
  • Become disabled as a result of heart disease.

In addition, you, or someone authorized by you, must file a written notice of the accident with the Retirement System within 90 days of the accident. The written notice must detail the time and place of the accident, the particulars thereof, the nature and extent of your injuries, and the alleged incapacity. This notice is not required if:

  • Your application for the accidental disability retirement benefit is filed within one year after the date of the accident; or
  • Notice of the accident is filed according to Workers’ Compensation Law.

Applying for the Benefit

You, your employer, or someone authorized with your power of attorney, may file your application for accidental disability retirement. This application must be filed while you are still in service or within two years of your discontinuance from service. When filing for this benefit, “in service” is defined as while you are:

  • Being paid on the payroll; or
  • On an authorized medical leave of absence for up to two years (which may be extended for an additional two years); or
  • Receiving Workers’ Compensation or similar employer-funded benefits for up to two years since last being paid on the payroll, as long as you have not resigned or been terminated from employment while receiving those benefits.

If you are disabled as a result of heart disease, your application must be filed while you are employed.

After filing for the benefit, you will be given one or more medical examinations. If, at the time of filing, you are eligible for a service retirement benefit, you may also file for that benefit.

*Tier 2 members are covered by the accidental disability benefit under the regular plan offered by your employer. This benefit also equals 75 percent of your final average salary and is reduced by the total amount of Workers’ Compensation benefits you are entitled to receive.

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Other Disability and Death Benefits

Please consult the summary of your regular retirement plan for information about other disability or death benefits.

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For More Information

If you have any questions,

  • Visit our website
  • Contact our Call Center toll-free at 1-866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area
  • Fax us at 518-402-4433 or
  • Write to us at:

    New York State and Local Retirement System

    110 State Street

    Albany, NY 12244-0001

You can also make an appointment to meet with an Information Representative at any of our consultation sites throughout the State. A list of these consultation sites is available on our website or from our Call Center.

VO1856 (Rev. 12/13) ©2013, New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System

This publication provides a general summary of retirement benefits, rights and responsibilities, and is not a substitute for any New York State or federal law. For specific information about your benefits, please contact us.

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