CSEA pushed for and won state legislation that will allow all honorably discharged veterans to buy back up to three years of pension credit for their military service. Please share this information with your union brothers and sisters.
There are different sections of the law that allow the crediting of military service. Once we receive your request, we will determine under what section(s) you qualify and which would be most advantageous to you.
In most cases, purchasing additional service credit will increase your retirement benefit. However, there are certain situations where doing so may not increase your benefit. Please visit our Publications page and refer to the booklet that applies to your plan and tier.
Most members can use our Benefit Projection Calculator to estimate their retirement benefit. Try estimating your retirement benefit with and without the military service credit to see how it will change if you purchase all or part of your military service.
If you are in one of the following groups, you currently cannot estimate your retirement benefit using our benefit calculator. However, you can contact our Call Center to determine if purchasing credit for your military service would be beneficial:
- ERS Tier 5 and 6 members in the Article 15 retirement plan;
- Certain ERS members in special 20- or 25-year retirement plans; and
- PFRS members who joined on or after July 1, 2009.
The following federal legislation, for pension purposes, allows a reemployed person to be treated as not having incurred a break in service with their employer during the person's period of military service, as specified in the legislation.
Veterans Reemployment Rights Statute (VRR)
Veterans must have been employed by a participating employer of the Retirement System within six months prior to entering the military and must have applied for reemployment with the same employer within 90 days from their discharge date.
Uniform Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
This act replaces the VRR, effective December 12, 1994. Veterans must have been a member of the Retirement System prior to entering the military. This statute does not specify a limit on the period of time in advance of military service that employees may leave employment. If employers consider they were properly notified, so will the Retirement System. If military service exceeds 180 days, you must have applied for reemployment with the same employer within 90 days from the date of discharge.
How to Apply:
You may request the cost by writing to us or emailing us firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, retirement registration number, and a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty papers (DD-214). You may also download an Application for Military Service Credit Under Article 20-RSSL (RS5509). The form must be printed, completed and mailed or emailed to the Retirement System.
Rules for Receiving Military Service Credit Under the Various Statutes of Law
Article 20 of the Retirement and Social Security Law
- Have been honorably discharged;
- Have at least five years of credited service in the Retirement System; and
- Have not received credit for this service in any other public retirement system in New York State.
In addition, some or all of the military service must have been during one or more of the following periods:
- World War II (12/7/41 – 12/31/46)
- Korean War (6/27/50 – 1/31/55)
- Vietnam Era (2/28/61 – 5/7/75)
- Theater of operations including Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and airspace above these locations (8/2/90 – present)
- Service in one or more of the following military conflicts provided an Armed Forces, Navy or Marine Corps Expeditionary medal was received in connection with this service:
- Lebanon (6/1/83 – 12/1/87)
- Grenada (10/23/83 – 11/21/83)
- Panama (12/20/89 – 1/31/90)
For Tier 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 members, the cost will be 3 percent of the compensation you earned during the year of credited service immediately prior to our receipt of your application, times the number of years of military service being claimed. These payments are not deposited into your contribution account and are not available to borrow against with a Retirement System loan.
For Tier 6 members, the cost will be 6 percent of the compensation you earned during the year of credited service immediately prior to our receipt of your application, times the number of years of military service being claimed. These payments are not deposited into your contribution account and are not available to borrow against with a Retirement System loan.
Section 243 of the Military Law
- Be a member of the Retirement System before entering the military;
- Enter the military within six months of your last employment; and
- Have returned to your position while your Retirement System membership was still active.
- Cost depends on your plan and tier.
Section 242 of the Military Law
- Be a member of the Retirement System before entering the military; and
- Return to public employment.
- Cost depends on your plan and tier.