You are eligible for a vested retirement benefit if you leave public employment before age 55 and you have five or more years of credited service. This means that when you reach age 55, you will be entitled to a retirement benefit based on your service and your earnings when you were an active member.
You are eligible to begin receiving your retirement benefit on the first day of the month following your 55th birthday. However, unless you have at least 30 years of service credit, your pension will be reduced if you choose to retire before age 62.
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 birthday. If we receive your retirement application after the first of the month following your 55th birthday, your vested retirement will be effective the date the application is received.
Once you have reached the age at which you are eligible for an unreduced benefit, any delay in filing will not increase your retirement benefit. Remember, it is up to you to file a retirement application when you become eligible and wish to receive your benefit.