Becoming Vested

What does it mean to be a vested NYSLRS member?

You become vested after you earn sufficient service credit to be eligible for a pension, even if you leave public employment before retirement. Becoming vested is a crucial milestone in your NYSLRS membership.

When Will I Be Vested?

The amount of service credit you need to be vested depends on your tier. If you’re in Tier 5 or 6, you need ten years of service to be vested. If you’re in another tier (Tier 1, 2, 3 or 4), you’re vested once you earn five years of service credit.

vesting requirements

If you work part-time, it will take you longer to become vested. For example, if you work half-time, you earn six months of credit toward vesting for each year on the job. (For more information, read our recent blog about part-time service credit.)

If you purchase credit for previous public service or military service, that credit can help you become vested.

What You Need to Do

Vesting is automatic. You do not need to file any paperwork to become vested.

If you are vested, you will need to file a retirement application at least 15, but no more than 90, days before you can receive a pension. Most NYSLRS members are eligible to collect a pension as early as age 55, but benefits may be permanently reduced if you retire before you reach your plan’s full retirement age.

Visit our website to learn more about vesting.

8 thoughts on “Becoming Vested

    1. NYSLRS

      Most NYSLRS members can return to public employment after retiring, and continue to collect their pension, though there are earnings restrictions depending on your pension benefit, tier and age.

      You may find reading our Life Changes: What If I Work After Retirement? publication helpful.

      For information about your particular situation, we recommend contacting our customer service representatives using our secure email form before you return to work. 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

      If you want to make an appointment at one of our consultation sites, you can contact our Call Center at 1-866-805-0990 (518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area). The Call Center is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm.

      For site hours and locations, visit our Consultation Site Offices page.

      For more information about your options as you plan for retirement, you may be interested in our Life Changes: How Do I Prepare to Retire? publication.

      You can also email your questions to 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. Diane Wise-Hollenebck

    If I am not currently vested and I am no longer required to contribute, is anything being contributed on my behalf for my pension between now and when I am vested?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you are no longer contributing, then contributions are not being made directly to your retirement account. However, unlike a 401k, the pension you will receive from NYSLRS will not be based on the amount of contributions you paid into the system. NYSLRS benefits are defined benefit plans, which means that once your are eligible to retire, you will receive a lifetime benefit that will be based on your years of service and your earnings, not on the amount of contributions you paid into the system.

      Reply
  2. John

    I am looking to retire next year, but will not be vested and will at age 66. My question is the amount of funds built up in my account will that be sent to me at one time or can I have it stay in the NYSLRS and draw down on it. Thank you for your response

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Unfortunately, the NYSLRS social media team does not have access to your personal account information, but we can provide general information.

      You must be vested to collect a NYSLRS monthly pension. Tier 5 and 6 members are vested when they have ten years of service. Members in other tiers are vested after five years.

      Tier 3-6 members with less than ten years of service may withdraw their mandatory contributions, plus interest, after leaving public service, in one lump-sum payment. Withdrawing your contributions ends your NYSLRS membership.

      To get the account-specific information, including the date that you would become vested if you continue working, please email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). 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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