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Serving New York Educators Since 1921

Service Milestones

The service credit you accumulate as a NYSTRS member pays dividends throughout your career. As you achieve certain service milestones, you become eligible for additional benefits. For example:

1 Year of Credit

  • You will be covered by an in-service death benefit.
  • If you are a Tier 3-6 member who dies as the result of an accident sustained while teaching, an accidental death benefit may be payable to your beneficiary instead of the in-service death benefit. 
  • If you are a Tier 3-6 member and the balance of your member contributions and interest is at least $1,334, you can take a loan from your funds.  If you are a Tier 1 or 2 member, you must have a minimum of $400 in your Annuity Savings Fund to be eligible for a loan.  (For more information about loans, see our publication Borrowing from Your NYSTRS Contributions.)

2 Years of Credit

  • You will be eligible to purchase credit for prior service. (For more information, see our publication You Deserve the Credit.)

5 Years of Credit

  • If you are a Tier 3 or 4 member, your pension will be vested, and you will be eligible for a NYSTRS service retirement benefit at age 55.

10 Years of Credit

  • If you are a Tier 4 member, you will stop making 3% required contributions when you attain 10 years of credit or membership, whichever occurs first.
  • If you are a Tier 5 or 6 member, your pension will be vested, and you will be eligible for a NYSTRS service retirement benefit at age 55.
  • You may be eligible for a disability retirement benefit if you cannot continue to work because of an illness or injury. 
  • If you leave teaching with at least 10 years of service credit and die before retirement, you will be covered by a vested death benefit of half the in-service death benefit that would have been paid on the last day of working.

20 Years of Credit

  • If you are a Tier 1 or 2 member, the pension factor used in your benefit calculation will no longer include a service-related reduction.
  • If you are a Tier 3 or 4 member, the pension factor used in your benefit calculation will increase from 1.67% per year to 2% per year.
  • If you are a Tier 6 member, the pension factor used in your benefit calculation will increase from 1.67% per year to 1.75% per year (i.e., 35% for your first 20 years) plus 2% for each year beyond 20.

25 Years of Credit

  • If you are a Tier 5 member, the pension factor used in your benefit calculation will increase from 1.67% per year to 2% per year.

30 Years of Credit

  • If you are a Tier 2, 3 or 4 member, you can retire without an age-related reduction to your pension factor when you attain 30 years of credit or reach age 62.
  • If you retire under Tier 4, you will receive an additional1.5% per year toward your pension factor for each year of credit beyond 30 years.
  • If you are a Tier 5 member, you can retire without an age-related reduction to your pension factor when you retire either at: age 62 or later; or, at age 57 or later with at least 30 years of service credit.

35 Years of Credit

  • If you are a Tier 1 member, you can retire at any age.