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Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Seal

NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Get Credit for All Your Public Service

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To protect the health of our members and employees, our Retirement System consultation offices are closed until further notice. While we are continuing to process mail, answer telephone calls and complete emails, the best course of action for customers who wish to submit documents and conduct business with us is through Retirement Online. All customers with previously scheduled appointments are being contacted and offered phone consultations. If you would like to schedule a phone consultation, or have retirement related questions, you can contact us at 1-866-805-0990 [518-474-7736 in the Albany Area] or email us using our secure contact form. We appreciate your patience during this time.

Service credit is a core component of your NYSLRS membership. It determines when you are vested (entitled to a pension benefit even if you leave public service before you are eligible to retire). It impacts eligibility for benefits such as retirement benefits, death benefits and loans. For most members, the total service credit they have will directly affect how much their pension will be.

Earning Service Credit

You earn service credit for any period when you’re:

  • A NYSLRS member, and
  • Working for a public employer in New York State.

You may request additional credits for past service if you:

  • Worked for a participating employer before joining NYSLRS;
  • Worked for a public employer that later participated in NYSLRS;
  • Received an honorable discharge from active military duty; or
  • Had a previous membership in NYSLRS or another New York State public retirement system (see Tier Reinstatement and Transfer Membership in the table below). For more information about Tier Reinstatement and Transfers (including a list of New York State public retirement systems), visit our Transferring or Terminating Your Membership page.*

Note: You usually have to pay for past service credit, depending on when you began public service. Generally, it’s worth the cost (because for most of our pension plans, the more service you have the higher your benefit will be), but there are a few exceptions. For example, some special retirement plans limit your benefit calculation to 20 or 25 years of service, and some service is not creditable in special plans. Contact us if you have questions.

*Certain public employees may be eligible to participate in an optional defined contribution retirement plan, such as the SUNY Optional Retirement Program (ORP) or New York State’s Voluntary Defined Contribution program (VDC). These are not considered public retirement systems, and members who participated in these programs cannot receive credit in NYSLRS for this service.

Request Additional Service Credit

If you think previous public employment (or military service) might qualify you for additional service credit, you must submit your request for the additional service before you retire. (Generally, the cost of purchasing service credit is lower the earlier you request it.) We’ll determine whether you’re eligible for the credit and any related cost.

This chart shows the various types of creditable service and how to request credit for each of them:

Previous Service Active Military Duty Tier Reinstatement Transfer Membership (to NYSLRS)

Sign in to Retirement Online to fill out and submit your service credit purchase request.

Sign in to Retirement Online to fill out and submit your service credit purchase request. (When asked for the employer you wish to purchase service from, select Article 20 Military.)

Sign in to Retirement Online to fill out and submit your tier reinstatement application.

Members of other New York State public retirement systems, who are off payroll with the other system, may transfer an active membership to NYSLRS. Contact that retirement system to transfer.

Complete and submit a Request to Purchase Service Credit form (RS5042) Adobe pdf.

You can attach this form to our secure email form or mail it to NYSLRS (see below).

Complete and submit a Request to Purchase Service Credit form (RS5042) Adobe pdf and include a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214).

You can attach these forms to our secure email form or mail them to NYSLRS (see below).

Complete and submit an Application to Reinstate a Former Membership form (RS5506) Adobe pdf.

You can attach this form to our secure email form or mail it to NYSLRS (see below).

Or, send a written request that includes specific details about the period of employment for which you are seeking credit.

   

Mail your requests to:

NYSLRS

Member & Employer Services Bureau

110 State Street

Albany, NY 12244-0001

For detailed information on receiving credit for all of your public service, please see our Publications page, and refer to the booklet for your plan and tier. You can also visit our Military Service Credit page, and members in Tiers 2–6 can read our publication, Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6 (VO1854).

(Rev. 3/20)