Transferring or Terminating Your Membership

Tier Reinstatement

Tier Reinstatement is a method of restoring a membership that has been terminated.

For Tier Reinstatement purposes, your membership terminates when:

  • You have less than five years of service credit (ten years for Tier 5 and 6 members) and have not worked in covered public service for at least seven years; or
  • You have less than ten years of service credit, leave public employment for at least 15 days and voluntarily withdraw your membership and contributions; or
  • You transfer your membership to another public retirement system in New York State.

If you previously were a member of NYSLRS, or another public retirement system in New York State, your service may be recredited and your date of membership and tier restored. However, an earlier tier of membership does not always result in a better benefit. Please review your options carefully before making your decision, and contact us with any questions you have.

To apply for reinstatement to an earlier membership within NYSLRS, or for reinstatement to an earlier membership in another public retirement system, sign in to your Retirement Online account. From your Account Homepage, go to the ‘My Account Summary’ area and click “Reinstate a Previous Membership.” You can also apply by mail by submitting the Application to Reinstate a Former Membership (RS5506).

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Transfers

When new members join NYSLRS, they are in Tier 6. Some new members are still members of another public retirement system in New York State. If this applies to you, you may be eligible to transfer that membership to NYSLRS as long as:

  • You are no longer working in a job that is covered by the other retirement system;
  • You are on the payroll in a job that is covered by NYSLRS; and
  • You submit a transfer request to your other retirement system while you are still an active member of that system. You will not be eligible to transfer to NYSLRS if your membership in the other system has already been terminated.

When the transfer is complete, your NYSLRS date of membership may change. It will be either your date of membership in the retirement system from which you transferred, or your current NYSLRS date of membership, whichever is earlier. If your date of membership changes and it is in an earlier tier, your membership tier will also change.

For example:

On December 1, 2009, you began employment with a New York City agency and joined the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS). Based on your date of membership, you were in Tier 4. In May 2012, you resigned your position to take a job with a New York State agency. You joined NYSLRS and became a Tier 6 member.

You have not withdrawn your NYCERS membership and no employment is being reported to NYCERS. You decide to transfer your NYCERS membership to NYSLRS. When your transfer is complete, your date of membership in NYSLRS will become December 1, 2009 (your NYCERS membership date) and your tier will be changed to Tier 4.

View a list of tiers and their dates.

You may transfer membership within the following New York State public retirement systems:

  • New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System
  • New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System
  • New York State Teachers’ Retirement System
  • New York City Employees’ Retirement System
  • New York City Teachers’ Retirement System
  • New York City Police Pension Fund
  • New York City Fire Department Pension Fund
  • New York City Board of Education Retirement System

In addition, New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System members may transfer their membership to, or from, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Pension Fund.

Transferring a NYSLRS Membership to Another System

To transfer your New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) or your New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) membership to another New York State public retirement system:

Transferring a Membership Between NYSLRS Systems

To transfer a membership from one NYSLRS retirement system (ERS or PFRS) to the other NYSLRS retirement system:

You May Not Benefit from a Transfer

In most instances, you will benefit from the transferred service, but there are exceptions:

  • Some special retirement plans require service in a particular title. This includes police and fire plans requiring 20 or 25 years of service. Although the transferred service will count toward service credit requirements for vesting, and any disability or death benefit provided by your retirement plan, it may not be used to reach the required 20 or 25 years needed to qualify for retirement in a special plan.
  • Situations where you had a full-time position in one retirement system and a part-time position in another system at the same time. You cannot receive more than one year of service credit in a 12-month period. If you already work full time, your part-time service will not provide any additional service credit.

Under these and other certain circumstances, it may not be beneficial to transfer your membership because your transferred service may not increase your NYSLRS pension. If you are eligible to receive a retirement benefit from your other system (vested), it may be more beneficial to collect that pension and your NYSLRS pension when you retire. If you are not vested in your other system, you may wish to withdraw your membership contributions.

If you have any questions concerning your transfer or if you are covered by a special plan, you should contact the retirement systems you plan to transfer out of and into before completing the application. The transfer is effective when the retirement system receives your application and it may be irrevocable. For questions about your ERS or PFRS membership, contact our Call Center at 866-805-0990 or at 518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area.

In most cases, transfers are irrevocable, but there is one exception: PFRS members covered by sections 381-b (State Police) or 384-d (20-year plan) of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL), who transferred an ERS membership to PFRS, can reverse this transfer. Chapter 390, Laws of 2009, allows the ERS membership and service credit to be reinstated. Before you reinstate an ERS membership, you should be aware of the possible costs. If you were required to contribute toward your ERS retirement plan and withdrew those contributions when you transferred the membership to PFRS, you must repay the contributions plus interest when you reverse the transfer.

To reverse a previous transfer, complete an Application for Transfer of Membership in Accordance with Chapter 390 (PF5467).

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Withdrawal

Tier 3 and Tier 4 members:

  • If you left public employment with less than five years of credited service, you may choose to terminate your membership and withdraw your accumulated contributions plus interest. If you do not terminate your membership, once seven years have elapsed since your last public employment, your membership will terminate automatically as required by Retirement Law. You can receive a refund of your contributions by filing a Withdrawal Application (RS5014). Note that interest on your contributions ceases after seven years of inactivity.
  • If you leave public employment with at least five, but less than ten, years of credited service, you may choose to:
    • Terminate your membership and withdraw your accumulated contributions plus interest; or
    • Leave your contributions in your account and qualify for a retirement benefit when you are age 55.
  • To help you decide which would be more beneficial, you can use Retirement Online to compare the amount of your withdrawal payment to your continuing pension benefit. Sign in to your Retirement Online account and go to the ‘My Account Summary’ section of your Account Homepage. Click “Withdraw My Membership” to see your withdrawal payment information. Click “Estimate my Pension Benefit” to create an estimate. You can also go to the Estimate Your Pension page and use our Quick Calculator.
  • If you have ten or more years of credited service, you cannot withdraw from the New York State and Local Retirement System.

Tier 5 and 6 members:

  • If you leave public employment with less than ten years of credited service, you may choose to terminate your membership and withdraw your accumulated contributions plus interest. If you do not terminate your membership, once seven years have elapsed since your last public employment, your membership will terminate automatically as required by Retirement Law. You can receive a refund of your contributions by filing a Withdrawal Application (RS5014). Note that interest on your contributions ceases after seven years of inactivity.
  • If you have ten or more years of credited service, you cannot withdraw from the New York State and Local Retirement System.

All members:

At the time of withdrawal, you can choose to have all or part of your withdrawal payment made as a direct rollover to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), or to another eligible retirement plan that accepts rollovers.

To withdraw your membership, sign in to your Retirement Online account, go to the ‘My Account Summary’ area of your Account Homepage and click “Withdraw My Membership.” You can also apply by mail by submitting the Withdrawal Application (RS5014).

You should apply to withdraw your membership no earlier than 15 days after you leave public employment.

If, after withdrawing your NYSLRS membership, you return to work for a New York State public employer, you may reinstate your withdrawn membership. If you reinstate, your previous date of membership and tier will be restored and your service will be recredited. See Tier Reinstatement for additional information.

 


(Rev. 9/21)

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