Will Your Retirement Age Affect Your Benefit?

Only you can decide when it’s time to retire, but you should know that your age at retirement can affect your pension benefit. Some New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) members are in special plans that allow for retirement after a certain number of years, regardless of age (for example, police officers, firefighters, correction officers or sheriffs). But for most members, you can retire with full benefits at the age specified by your plan. Most members can choose to retire as early as age 55, but if you do, you may receive a permanently reduced pension benefit.

Full Retirement Ages

Most retirement plans have an age requirement to retire with full benefits. For Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members in Tiers 2, 3, 4 and 5 and Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) members in Tiers 2, 3, 5 and 6, the full retirement age is 62. For ERS Tier 6 members, it’s 63. PFRS Tier 6 members who have left their PFRS employer are eligible for their benefits at age 63.

Service Credit Exceptions

In some retirement plans, members with a certain amount of service credit can retire at age 55 without being subject to benefit reductions. Benefit reductions don’t apply to ERS Tier 2, 3 or 4 members who have 30 or more years of service credit and Tier 2, 3, 4 and 5 Uniformed Court Officers and Peace Officers employed by the Unified Court System who have 30 or more years of service.

Benefit Reductions

Retirement benefits for all other ERS Tier 5 and Tier 6 members, and PFRS Tier 2, 3, 5 and 6 members not in a special 20- or 25-year plan, will be reduced for early retirement — even if they have 30 years of service credit.

These benefit reductions are prorated by month, so the closer you are to your full retirement age, the less the reduction will be. Once you retire with a reduced benefit, that reduction is permanent.

Here’s a look at how reductions break down by membership tier:

Contact us if you have any questions about benefit reductions or any other retirement-related topics. Please review your retirement plan booklet for a full description of the benefits you’re entitled to as well as any reductions and restrictions.

40 thoughts on “Will Your Retirement Age Affect Your Benefit?

  1. Esther G. Spielman-Pollak

    Hi, as a Senior court Reporter, if I have 32 years and I’m approximately 58, do I get a reduction under tier 3 or 4? I never heard that we do.
    Esther G. Spielman-Pollak

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The full benefit age for ERS members in Tiers 2, 3, and 4 is 62. However, benefit reductions do not apply to ERS Tier 2, 3 or 4 members who retire between 55 and 62 with 30 or more years of service credit.

      We hope this information proves helpful to you.

      NYSLRS.

      Reply
  2. Sterling Orr

    Need to discuss my wife’s Medicare options. She 62+ now. When and what does retirement system do for her. Please.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      NYSLRS does not administer health insurance programs for its members and retirees. If you or your wife are still employed, your employer’s health benefits administrator will be able to provide information regarding Medicare options.

      You may also call the Employee Benefits Division of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations at 518-457-5754 (Albany area), or at 1-800-833-4344.

      We hope this information proves useful to you.

      NYSLRS

      Reply
      1. Sterling K Orr

        My wife is now 62+.When can she get Medicare and does she need to go thru my retirement system as I did ? Preparing for her retirement also. RSVP. S.K.Orr

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          Sterling,

          We’re glad to hear that your wife is preparing for retirement. You both may find our Life Changes: How Do I Prepare to Retire? publication helpful. It helps outline what steps to take when preparing to retire. Here’s a link to our web version: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/vo1709.php

          However, NYSLRS doesn’t administer health insurance programs for its members and retirees. If your wife is still employed, her employer’s health benefits administrator will be able to provide information regarding Medicare options. She can also contact the New York State Department of Civil Service at 1-800-833-4344 or 518-457-5754 (Albany area).

          We hope this helps,

          NYSLRS

          Reply
  3. M. A. Pelletier

    How do my part-time years factor in to total years of service? About 1/3 of my 25+ years were part time.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The rules for crediting service vary by tier. Service credit can be prorated if the service is less than full-time. In most cases, we credit part-time employment as the lesser of:

      • number of days worked ÷ 260 days, or
      • annual earnings reported ÷ (State’s hourly minimum wage X 2,000)

      You can find your latest service credit total on your Member Annual Statement. It includes all unaudited service credit (part-time included) that is currently on file with NYSLRS as of March 31, 2015.

      Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          The service credit calculation for most school district employees is: number of days worked ÷ 180 days.

          However, we suggest you contact our customer service representatives to find out information specific to your account. You can email them using our secure email form (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com), and one of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

          Reply
  4. Karen Bernstein's

    I’m s nyc correction officer due to retire in July 2017. I need information to begin the process. Please contact me at 917-592-4306

    Reply
  5. Carlos m paniagua

    Am a retired NYC correction officer for 10 years
    I will be 61 years old next May 2017, am I entitle to my age (SSI )retirement yet ?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Unfortunately the NYSLRS social media team cannot access your account information.

      The fastest way to generate an income verification letter is through Retirement Online. Register and sign in, then click the Generate Income Verification Letter link on the right.

      You can also email your request using our secure email form. Be sure to provide your daytime phone number and all of your personal verification information when you submit your email. In most cases, we’ll mail your letter in five to seven business days.

      Or, you can fax your request to 518-473-5590. Include your retirement or registration number, current address, signature and phone number in case we have questions. Let us know if you would like the verification letter mailed to you, or, if you would like us to fax it, please provide your fax number.

      Reply
  6. Donna Finnegan

    I’m curious if probation officers are included when they say corrections and police…if not..they should be…life on line everyday…thanku

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The specific benefits of NYSLRS retirement plans—and who is eligible for each plan—are determined by New York State Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL).

      You can find details about our plans on our Publications page.

      For example, our VO1526 publication covers ERS Tier 3, 5 and 6 members who are full-time, uniformed employees of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and security hospital treatment assistants for the Office of Mental Health who elected the plan.

      Or, our VO1517 publication covers Tier 2, 3, 5 and 6 police officers and firefighters who are in the plans provided by Sections 384, 384-d and 384-e of RSSL.

      Check with your employer if you’re not sure what plan you’re in.

      Reply
  7. Eliza S

    If you are over the retirement age at Pier 6 and have less than 10 years of service, Does that affect in any way when you can retire?

    Reply
  8. Kim Carlin

    Hi – I am a New York State school nurse who is maybe considering retiring from my job next year @ 53 years of age. Will I need to put in my paperwork for the state (and not just my school district) as well – and how long before I plan to retire? Where do you find all that paperwork?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Most NYSLRS members must be at least 55 to retire and receive a pension benefit. Benefits such as death benefits and health insurance may be affected if you leave public employment before you are eligible to collect your NYSLRS pension. If you are considering leaving public employment before age 55, we suggest you speak to one of our customer service representatives (call 1-866-805-0990) about pension implications, and to your employer about any possible health benefit implications, before you leave employment.

      You would submit your retirement application to NYSLRS at least 15, but no more than 90 days before your intended retirement date. Your Retirement Benefits book (see link below) is a good place to start reading about the forms you will need and the retirement process.

      http://www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/word_and_pdf_documents/publications/1800s/1835-general-prs.pdf

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        For the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

        Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      That depends on your retirement plan and the date you intend to retire. For the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form and let them know what date of retirement you are considering. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  9. Jeri Cave

    I am 65 years old and retired since 2009 and receive my pension and social security can I work for New York State, or anyone else and keep my monetary benefits in full?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      There is generally no restriction on your earnings beginning in the calendar year you turn 65 (unless you are receiving a disability retirement benefit or you are in public office), even if you return to work for New York State.

      For more information, check out our Life Changes: What If I Work After Retirement? publication.

      For information about your specific situation, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  10. Silvia

    I am a little confused. I am tier 4, 56 with 31 + years if service. I keep reading that because I have the age and years of service I can retire without penalty, but than I read that I have to be 62 to receive 100%.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You are correct; benefit reductions don’t apply to ERS Tier 2, 3 or 4 members who have 30 or more years of service credit. (See the Service Credit Exceptions paragraph in the blog post).

      Reply
  11. Mike M

    Can you explain what happens to Tier 2 members who continue to work after age 65?
    Do we get moved to another Tier?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      No, your tier doesn’t change. Your Tier is based on the date you first joined NYSLRS.

      Your retirement benefit after age 65 depends on your retirement plan and the date you intend to retire. For the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form and let them know what date of retirement you are considering. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  12. Laura Jerome

    I’m tier 4, that will not have 30 full years until 12/1/19, I am 62 now. Had numerous part time years. Will leaving 6 months earlier in June of next year reduce my benefit?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      No. Your retirement benefit will not be reduced, because you’ve already reached Tier 4’s full retirement age of 62. However, because your pension is partially based on your total service credit, the longer you work, the higher your pension would be.

      If you’d like a better idea of how an earlier retirement might affect your benefit, try our online retirement benefit calculator. It will let you estimate your benefit with different retirement dates, final average salaries and service credit totals. By changing each variable, you can see the impact it may have on your benefit.

      Reply
  13. Linda Peterson

    Im a tier 3 , and retired in Dec. 2007 @62 and 30 years. How do I figure out my death benefits. I was told my contributions are also figured in. I contributed until it was changed by legislation.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      There are a few possible death benefits that may be available to NYSLRS retirees. Unfortunately, the NYSLRS social media team does not have access to your personal account information.

      To get the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply

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