You are eligible for a vested retirement benefit if you leave public employment before retirement age and you have five or more years of credited service. This means that when you reach retirement age, you will be entitled to a retirement benefit based on your service and your earnings when you were an active member.
If you are enrolled in the age 60 plan, you are eligible to begin receiving your retirement benefit on the first day of the month following your 60th birthday. If you are enrolled in the alternative age 55 plan, you are eligible to begin receiving your retirement benefit on the first of the month following your 55th birthday.
Your Vested Benefit
The provisions of the retirement plan that you were covered by in your last public employment determine the vested benefit. For an explanation of your benefit, please refer to the Service Retirement Benefit section.
The vested retirement benefit is payable for your lifetime. You must elect one of the available payment options, some of which provide for a continuing payment to a designated beneficiary of your choosing after your death.
To receive your vested retirement benefit at the earliest possible date, file a retirement application within 90 days before the first day of the month following your 55th or 60th birthday, depending on your plan coverage. If we receive your retirement application after the first of the month following your 55th or 60th birthday, your vested retirement will be effective on the date the application is received.
Once you reach retirement age, any delay in filing for a vested benefit will not increase your pension. The amount of your benefit is frozen when you leave public employment.
Remember, it is up to you to file a retirement application when you become eligible and wish to receive your benefit.