During the month of May, we observe Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. Both days are opportunities to honor and remember those who have served our nation.
If you have served in the military, you should know that, as a member of the New York State Employees' Retirement System, you may be eligible to receive retirement credit for your service.
Most veterans will qualify to purchase their military credit under Article 20 of the New York State Retirement and Social Security Law.
Q: Who is eligible to purchase military service credit?
A: You may be eligible for military service credit if you were honorably discharged from service in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, or were a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service; have at least five years of credited service in the retirement system; and have not received credit for your military service from any other public retirement system in New York.
Q: What do I need to do to get military service credit?
A: To find out if you qualify, or to request credit for your military service, send a letter and a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty form (DD-214) for all periods of active service to the attention of our military unit at the New York State and Local Retirement System, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12244.
Q: What are some of the wars or military conflicts I can receive credit for?
A: Under Article 20, veterans must have served in certain combat theaters or during certain periods of war to be eligible to purchase and receive credit for some or all of their military service. These include: World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era; theaters of operations including Iraq, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf (8/2/90 – present); and one or more of the following conflicts, provided an Expeditionary medal was received: Lebanon (6/1/83 – 12/1/87), Grenada (10/23/83 – 11/21/83) and Panama (12/20/89 – 1/31/90).
Q: How can I obtain my military records?
A: If you do not have your DD-214 form, you may request a copy by writing to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. You may also obtain this form online at www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records.
Q: How can I get more information?
A: Visit the Members section of our website, at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/members/military-service-credit.htm. You can also refer to our publication, Military Service Credit, available on our website at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/vo1723.htm, or contact our Call Center toll-free at 866-805-0990 or 518-474-7736 in the Albany area.
Every month state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, sole trustee of the New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System, provides information on the system, which delivers retirement benefits to many NYSUT School-Related Professionals and other support staff. If you are an ERS member with a question of general interest, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For immediate assistance, contact the ERS Call Center toll-free at 866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 in the Capital District area.