Tag Archives: police and fire retirement system

NYSLRS – One Tier at a Time: PFRS Tier 5

When you join the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS), you’re assigned a tier based on the date of your membership. There are six tiers in the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) and five in the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS). Each tier has a different benefit structure established by New York State legislation. Our series, NYSLRS — One Tier at a Time, walks through each tier to give you a quick look at the benefits in both ERS and PFRS.

Today’s final post in our series looks at Tier 5 in the Police and Fire Retirement System. Anyone who joined PFRS from January 9, 2010 through March 31, 2012­ is in Tier 5. There are 1,731 PFRS Tier 5 members as of March 31, 2015, making them the third largest tier group in PFRS.PFRS Tier 5If you’re a PFRS Tier 5 member, you can find your retirement plan publication from the list below for more detailed information about your benefits:

Want to learn more about the different NYSLRS retirement tiers? Check out some earlier posts in this series:

Dual Membership in NYSLRS

As a New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) member, you’re either part of the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) or the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS). In some cases, however, it’s possible to have a dual membership, or be a member of both systems. As of last year, 3,392 members had memberships in both ERS and PFRS.

How Does Dual Membership Work?

You can be a member of more than one retirement system if you hold a different position in each system. Let’s say you work as a fire fighter—this would mean that you’re already a member of PFRS. One day, you decide to take on a part-time job as a bus driver for your local school district. Your school district participates in ERS, so you’re eligible for ERS membership. After you fill out the membership application, you’re now an ERS member, while at the same time being a PFRS member.

As a member of both systems, you’d have separate membership accounts in those systems. Let’s look again at our fire-fighting bus driver example. While working as a fire fighter, you’d make any required contributions and earn service credit toward your PFRS pension. The PFRS contributions and service credit wouldn’t go toward your ERS pension. The same goes when you’d work as a bus driver—your required contributions and earned service credit would go toward your ERS pension and not PFRS.

There are other implications to dual membership as well. Assuming you met the service credit and age requirements, you could retire from both systems. You’d need to file a separate retirement application for ERS and PFRS, and we’d work on calculating each pension. We’d calculate your ERS pension using the final average salary (FAS) you earned while working as a bus driver. We’d then use the FAS you earned as a fire fighter to calculate your PFRS pension.

And, since you’d have an ERS pension and a PFRS pension, you would need to choose a beneficiary for each in the event of your death.

Dual membership in NYSLRS is nothing fancy—just make sure to follow your retirement plan in each system.

If you have any questions about dual membership, please contact us.

Firefighters Deserve A Salute Every Day

Keeping Us Safe and Sound

10/9/14 Correction to Infographic: Retired Firefighters make up 2.1% of Retired NYSLRS Members, not 1.9% as previously shown.

It’s National Fire Prevention Week (NFPW) this week and, while attention is properly focused on promoting fire prevention, we believe a tip of the cap – or helmet, if you will – should also be extended to all firefighters who are members of the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS).

Though volunteer firefighters are not part of the NYSLRS family, we value their contributions, their work ethic and the pride they take in safeguarding us as well.

Of the 524,427 active members in NYSLRS, 31,218 are in the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS). Of these, more than 6,300 are active firefighters; there are also 8,900 brave men and women who are retired firefighters.

NYSLRS Membership and Firefighters

Unlike most members of the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System (ERS), who are given the option of joining the System, firefighters working for the employers who participate in PFRS must become members of NYSLRS. The milestones for PFRS members are different than they are for ERS members.

In addition, employers can choose to offer different retirement plans or optional benefits to their employees via special plans. A special plan allows for retirement after completing a specific number of years of credited service in specific job titles rather than attaining a certain age. Nearly 44 percent of all PFRS members (14,840) are enrolled in these special 20- and 25-year plans.

Firefighters are Heroes

To the members of the New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York and the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs; to the county fire marshals, supervising fire marshals, fire marshals, assistant fire marshals, assistant chief fire marshals and chief fire marshals: thank you for your service to New York and its citizens. You are truly underappreciated heroes who render valuable service to us all, and for that we are grateful.