September 2016 Issue
September 29, 2016

ERS: Law expands eligibility for military service credit

Author: State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
Source: NYSUT United

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoliA new law this year makes more members eligible for military service credit. In the past, members were required to have served during certain periods of hostility, like the Vietnam Era or the Persian Gulf conflict, to qualify. Now, in general, as long as you were in active duty status and were honorably discharged, you could be eligible. Since your New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System pension benefit is partially based on how much service credit you have, purchasing additional service credit, in most cases, will increase your pension benefit. (There are some exclusions for temporary service; for example, certain reserve service.)

To secure credit under the new law, veterans must be on the payroll of a participating employer, have at least five years of credited service in NYSLRS, have not received credit for this service in any other public retirement system in New York State, and apply for and purchase military service credit prior to retirement.

Applying for your previous military service credit is easy. You can:

● Fax your name, contact information and a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214) to 518-486-6405 or 518-402-7799; or
● Mail your name, contact info and copy of your DD-214 to: NYSLRS, Military Service Unit, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12244-0001.
If you are a member of the New York State Teachers' Retirement System, you must contact them to apply.

If you don't have a copy of your DD-214, you can request one by visiting the National Archives website at

If you are eligible to receive credit, we will send you a letter notifying you of the cost. You can pay for your military credit in a single lump sum payment, through payroll deductions, or through a trustee-to-trustee transfer from a qualified retirement plan.

For more information, including the cost, other sections of law that could provide the opportunity to receive military service credit, and how to find out if purchasing service credit would increase your retirement benefit, visit NYSLRS Military Service Credit page at

NYSUT ERS consultants

Most NYSUT School-Related Professionals* belong to the New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System (ERS). NYSUT ERS consultants are available to help SRP members navigate the retirement system. Consultants can answer questions, provide forms and help members contact the ERS. Contact any one of our consultants for assistance.

*Note: Certified teaching assistants belong to the state Teachers' Retirement System (TRS).

Every issue 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

For immediate assistance, contact the ERS Call Center toll-free at 866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 in the Capital District area.