Glossary

Overview

Glossary of Terms

Accumulated Member Contributions

The total of all contributions made by members, plus interest earned on such contributions (8 ¼% for Tier 1 and 2; 5% for Tier 3, 4 and 6), compounded annually.

Active Service

Service rendered while the employee is on the payroll and being paid by the City of New York or a Participating Employer.

Additional Member Contributions (AMCs)

Contributions made by participants in a special plan in addition to Basic Member Contributions. AMC rates vary according to special plan provisions. AMCs are held in the Retirement Reserve Fund for each special plan, an account separate from the Accumulated Member Contributions.

Allowable Correction Service

Service rendered in the uniformed force of the New York City (NYC) Department of Correction or any of the following uniformed forces:

  •  NYC Housing Police
  •  NYC Transit Police
  •  NYC Department of Sanitation
  •  NYC Police Department
  • NYC Fire Department

Service in one of the above-mentioned uniformed forces must have been rendered immediately prior to becoming a member of the uniformed force of the NYC Department of Correction to count as Allowable Correction Service.

Note: The 22-Year Plan for Uniformed Correction Force members (CF-22) is a Credited Service plan, not an Allowable Service plan.

Allowable Sanitation Service 

Service rendered in the uniformed force of the New York City (NYC) Department of Sanitation or any of the following uniformed forces:

  • NYC Housing Police
  • NYC Transit Police
  • NYC Department of Correction
  • NYC Police Department
  • NYC Fire Department

Service in one of the above-mentioned uniformed forces must have been rendered immediately prior to becoming a member of the uniformed force of the NYC Department of Sanitation to count as Allowable Sanitation Service.

Note: The 22-Year Plan for Uniformed Sanitation Force members (SA-22) is a Credited Service plan, not an Allowable Service Plan.

Allowable Service as a Dispatcher Member

Service rendered by a member of NYCERS while employed by the City of New York as a Fire Alarm Dispatcher, Supervising Fire Alarm Dispatcher, levels 1 and 2, Director of Dispatch Operations or Deputy Director of Dispatch Operations, and All service in the following NYC Civil Service titles: Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher, Administrative Fire Alarm Dispatcher, Bus Operator (Transit), Train Dispatcher (Transit), Firefighter, Police Officer, Correction Officer, Fire Marshal, Probation Officer, Police Communications Technician, Supervising Police Communications Technician, Principal Police Communications Technician, Police Administrative Aide, Senior Police Administrative Aide, Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Service Specialist, levels 1 and 2, Fire Prevention Inspector, Fire Protection Inspector, Senior Fire Prevention Inspector, Principal Fire Prevention Inspector, Associate Fire Protection Inspector, County Detective, Detective (NYPD), Detective Investigator, Senior Detective Investigator, Deputy Sheriff, Senior Deputy Sheriff, Inspector of Fire Alarm Boxes, Radio Operator, Radio Repair Technician, Supervisor of Radio Repair Operations, Taxi and Limousine Inspector, Senior Taxi and Limousine Inspector, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Officer, and a member of NYCERS who is employed by the City of New York in a title whose duties require the supervision of employees whose Civil Service title is included above.

Allowable Service as an EMT Member

All service as an EMT Member: service rendered by a member of NYCERS while employed by the City of New York or the NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation in a title whose duties are those of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), or Advanced EMT (AEMT) or in a title whose duties require the supervision of employees whose duties are those of an EMT or AEMT, and all service while employed by the City of New York or the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation in the title Motor Vehicle Operator.

Allowable Service as a Special Officer

Service rendered in the following titles whose duties are those of a peace officer under the NYS Criminal Procedure Law:

  • Special Officer (employed by a City agency, the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, or the NYC Housing Authority)
  • Urban Park Ranger (employed by the NYC Parks Department)
  • Parking Control Specialist (employed by the NYC Department of Transportation)
  • School Safety Agent (employed by the NYPD/NYC Department of Education)
  • Campus Peace Officer (employed by the City University of New York)
  • Taxi and Limousine Inspector (employed by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission)

Allowable Service in the Transit Authority

Membership Service (not purchased service) while employed by the New York City Transit Authority in a Career and Salary title or Transit Operating Force title.

Annuity

Payments made to Tier 1 and 2 retirees derived from their Accumulated Member Contributions. These payments are typically based on the contributions the employee made to NYCERS throughout his or her membership.

Basic Tier 4 Plan (62/5 Plan)

The 62/5 Plan is an Age 62 – Five Years of Credited Service plan. This plan is for employees of the City of New York or a Participating Employer who became a member of NYCERS after July 26, 1976 but prior to April 1, 2012, and who did not elect to participate in the 55/25 Program.

Benefits available to Tier 4 members, excluding the benefits that are available only to Participants in one of the Special Programs. A Participant in one of the Special Programs who does not meet all of the qualifications for a benefit in his or her Special Program may still qualify for a benefit under the Basic Tier 4 Plan. Participants in Special Programs are still always eligible for other Basic Tier 4 benefits that are not provided for in their Program such as Survivor Benefits and Disability Retirement Benefits, etc.

Career Pension Plan Position

Any position in City service other than a Transit operating-force position, a position in the uniformed force of the NYC Department of Sanitation, or the uniformed force of the NYC Department of Correction.

Credited Service

The total amount of service used for members’ pension calculations, except for participants of special plans that exclusively have an Allowable Service requirement. The following types of service are included in the total:

  • Service rendered while a member of NYCERS
  • Service rendered while a member of another retirement system within New York City or New York State and transferred to NYCERS
  • Service purchased under applicable laws and rules for buy-back
  • Membership Reinstatement Service
  • Military Service
  • Union Leave Service

Designated Beneficiary

The person(s) nominated by a member or retiree to receive an Ordinary Death Benefit or Post-Retirement Death Benefit, respectively, upon his or her death. A Designated Beneficiary can be a Primary Beneficiary or a Contingent Beneficiary (entitled to receive benefits only if there are no surviving Primary Beneficiaries).

Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT)

EFT, or Direct Deposit, ensures that your payment will not be lost or stolen. Most NYCERS members and pensioners use EFT for their NYCERS payments because it is:

  • Safe: Eliminates lost or stolen checks
  • Sure: Ensures that you get your money, even if you are out of town, ill or on vacation
  • Fast: Your account is credited on the payment date — no waiting for your loan check to clear before you can draw on it
  • Easy: Eliminates a trip to the bank and waiting in lines

Eligible Beneficiary

A person who is eligible to be paid an Accidental Death Benefit, in the following order of priority:

  • a surviving spouse who has not remarried (A surviving spouse of a Tier 1 or Tier 2 uniformed worker of the NYC Department of Sanitation may subsequently remarry and still retain the Accidental Death Benefit.)
  • dependent child – up to age 18 for Tiers 1 and 2 members
  • dependent child – up to age 25 for Tiers 3, 4 and 6 members
  • dependent parents, or for Tiers 3, 4 and 6 members only, any person up to age 21 who qualified as a dependent on the member’s final Federal income tax return.
  • Anyone you name as your beneficiary for your Ordinary Death Benefit (not applicable to 22-Year Plan members)

An Eligible Beneficiary must apply for an Accidental Death Benefit and NYCERS’ Medical Board and Board of Trustees must approve the application.

In the event that a class of Eligible Beneficiaries consists of more than one person (for example, two or more children under the age of 25), benefits will be divided equally among such persons.

Eligible Member

A member of NYCERS who is a Participant in one of the Special Programs, who is employed in an Eligible Position.

Eligible Position

FOR THE 25-YEAR EARLY RETIREMENT PROGRAM (55/25 PROGRAM) AND THE AGE-57 RETIREMENT PROGRAM (57/5 PROGRAM):

An Eligible Position is ANY position in City service EXCEPT:

  • Any position held by a Transit Authority Member eligible to participate in the 25-Year and Age-55 Retirement Program (whether or not such a Member is a Participant in that Program*)
  • Any position in the uniformed forces of the NYC Departments of Correction and Sanitation
  • The positions of Bridge & Tunnel Officer, Bridge and Tunnel Sergeant, Bridge and Tunnel Lieutenant, Assistant Bridge and Tunnel Maintainer, Bridge and Tunnel Maintainer, Senior Bridge and Tunnel Maintainer, and Laborer with the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority
  • Any positions in the Division of Housing and Urban Renewal
  • Any position in the Unified Court System
  • Any teaching position with the City University of New York (CUNY), and
  • Investigators employed in a District Attorneys’ office

* The exception is any Transit Authority Member who was enrolled in the 57/5 Program prior to enactment of Chapter 10 of the Laws of 2000, and thereafter elected to remain a Participant in that Program.

EMT Member

A member employed by the City of New York or the Health and Hospitals Corporation in a title whose duties are those of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) or in a title that supervises EMTs or AEMTs.

Final Average Salary (FAS)

Tier 2, 3, and 4: The greater of the average annual Wages earned during any three consecutive calendar-year periods, or the final 36 months immediately preceding the member’s retirement date. If the salary earned during any year included in the calculation of the member’s FAS exceeds the specific limits for Tier 2, Tier 3 or Tier 4 members, the amount in excess of such limit is excluded from the computation.

Tier 6 and 22-Year Plan: The average of wages earned by a member during any continuous period of employment for which a member was credited with five years of Credited Service. However, the wages earned during any year used in an FAS calculation cannot exceed the average of the previous four years by more than 10 percent.

Final Compensation

The average compensation earned during: the five-year period immediately preceding the member’s retirement date, or any consecutive five calendar-year period prior to the member’s retirement date that would provide him or her with the greatest average compensation.

Where the period used to determine Final Compensation is the period which immediately precedes the date of retirement, any month or months (not in excess of 12) during which the member was on authorized leave of absence at partial pay or without pay are excluded and an equal number of months immediately preceding the five-year period shall be substituted in lieu thereof to provide Credited Service totaling five calendar years.

Final Salary

For members of the uniformed forces of the departments of Sanitation and Correction who joined the retirement system prior to July 1, 1973: the annual rate of salary earnable on the day before the date of retirement.

For all others: Earned or earnable salary in the year before retirement or the average of annual compensation earned during any three calendar years.
 
Tier 1 members with a membership date after June 17, 1971 and Tier 2 DA Investigators in the 20-Year Plan are subject to certain limits if their Final Salary exceeds that of the prior year by more than 20%.

Income Limitation

The fixed dollar maximum amount of Personal Service Income a pensioner receiving a Tier 4 or Tier 6 Disability Retirement Benefit can earn in any calendar year. The Income Limitation is established annually based on percentage increases or decreases in the prior year’s Consumer Price Index.

Increased-Take-Home-Pay (ITHP)

Contributions for Tier 1 and Tier 2 members that are contributed by their employer equal to 2% of the members’ gross salaries; 2.5% for Correction Officers.

Member Contribution Accumulation Fund (MCAF)

An account maintained for each Tier 3, Tier 4 and Tier 6 member into which the “basic” contributions deducted from the member’s paycheck each payroll period are deposited, plus interest earned on such contributions at the rate of 5%, compounded annually.

The rate of Basic Member Contributions is 3% except 2% for Transit 25-Year/Age 55 Retirement Plan and Tier 6 members who are required to contribute between 3% and 6% dependent upon annual wages earned during a plan year. 

Membership Service

Service rendered after joining NYCERS. Includes all service while on the payroll of the City of New York or a Participating Employer and Military Service.

Military Service

Various laws allow members to purchase service credit for time spent on active duty in the U.S. military. They are The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Article 20 of the New York State Retirement and Social Security Law as added by Chapter 548 of the Laws of 2000. Each law has different provisions for granting of service. A member is entitled to receive credit for Military Service under whatever law provides him or her with the greatest benefit.

Under all provisions, Military Service must have been satisfactorily completed and a discharge under honorable circumstances received. 

Minimum Accumulation

For Tier 1 members only. The amount of normal contributions accumulated with interest to the earliest date for service retirement, less the amount of the reserve for Increased-Take-Home-Pay on such date. For a member in the Career Pension Plan, the amount of normal contributions is accumulated to the date on which he or she either completed or could have completed 25 years of Career Pension Plan qualifying service.

MTA Bridges & Tunnels (TBTA) Member

A member of NYCERS who is employed in the MTA Bridges & Tunnels (TBTA) as a Bridge and Tunnel Officer, Sergeant or Lieutenant in a non-managerial position and who elects to contribute to NYCERS for the right to retire under the 20-Year/Age 50 Retirement Programs enacted by Chapter 472 of the Laws of 1995.

Participant

Any member of NYCERS who elects or is required to participate in one of the Special Programs.

Participating Employer

In addition to the City of New York, the following Participating Employers also employ members of NYCERS:

  • NYC Employees’ Retirement System
  • NYC Teachers’ Retirement System
  • NYC Transit Authority
  • MTA Bridges & Tunnels (TBTA)
  • NYC Housing Authority
  • NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation
  • NYC Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Corporation
  • NYC Housing Development Corporation
  • City University of New York
  • NYC School Construction Authority
  • Municipal Water Authority

Departments of the State of New York which had formerly been departments of the City of New York, where members of NYCERS are still employed

Part-time Service

City service rendered by an employee who is regularly scheduled to work 1,827 hours in a calendar year is considered full-time service.

Part-time service is service in which an employee is regularly scheduled to work less than 1,827 hours in a calendar year. NYCERS prorates credit on the basis of one year of full-time service – 1,827 hours worked in a calendar year. No member can receive credit for more than one year of service in any calendar year, regardless of the number of hours worked or positions held, or service credit greater than the elapsed time actually worked.

Pension

That part of a member’s retirement benefit that is provided by contributions made by the City of New York or the member’s Participating Employer(s).

Personal Service Income

Any wages, salaries, tips, professional fees, or other compensation received for personal services actually performed for any employer after the effective date of retirement of a Tier 3, Tier 4, or Tier 6 disability retiree.

Physically-Taxing Position

A position in City service included on the Official List of Physically-Taxing Positions promulgated and maintained by the NYC Office of Labor Relations.

Members in Physically-Taxing Positions who are Participants in the Age-55 Improved-Benefit-Retirement Program, the 25-Year Early Retirement Program or the Age-57 Retirement Program are required to pay a higher percentage of Wages as Additional Member Contributions, and are eligible for retirement as early as age 50 if they have 25 or more years of service in a Physically-Taxing Position.

Police Service

Service rendered by Tier 1 and Tier 2 members while employed in the uniformed-force of the NYC Department of Correction.

Previous Service

Service rendered while employed by an agency of the City of New York, or with the State of New York, or any of its political subdivisions, before becoming a NYCERS member.

Primary Social Security Retirement Benefit

The benefit payable by the Social Security Administration which is determined by a formula based upon wages earned from a public employer from which Social Security deductions were taken.

Prior Membership Service

Service for which retirement service credits was received while a member of a public employee retirement system of the City or State of New York.

Reserve for Increased-Take-Home-Pay (ITHP)

For some Tier 1 and Tier 2 members, an amount that at the time of death or retirement is equal to the accumulation of the contributions for ITHP, plus interest earned thereon.

Retirement Allowance

For Tier 1 and Tier 2 members, the annual benefits payable in monthly installments consisting of the Pension, including pension for Increased-Take-Home-Pay, if any, and Annuity.

Salary Base

Compensation used in computing a benefit.

Sanitation Member

A member employed in a position in the uniformed-force of the NYC Department of Sanitation.

Social Security Offset

For Tier 1 and Tier 2 members only.

Social Security offset allows you to reduce some or all of your Basic Contribution Rate by the percentage taken out of your paycheck for Social Security. By doing this, you may end up with a deficit in your account.

Tier Equity

A law enacted in 2000 which enables Tier 3 and Basic Tier 4 members who do not belong to a special plan (i.e., 55/25, 57/5 and Transit 25/55) to retire with a pension reduction prior to their normal retirement age but no earlier than age 55.

Tier 4 Members with Tier 3 Rights (Tier 3/4 Members)

Tier 4 members who last joined NYCERS after July 26, 1976 and before September 1, 1983, or were otherwise made eligible, automatically became Tier 4 members on September 1, 1983. However, these members retain their Tier 3 rights and are eligible to elect Tier 3 benefits.

In the past, a Tier 3/4 Member typically exercised his or her Tier 3 rights when he or she wanted to retire prior to age 62, since there was no such provision under Tier 4. Due to enactment of Tier Equity legislation in 2000, Tier 4 members are now eligible to retire before age 62, with a lesser benefit reduction than under Tier 3. Furthermore, Tier 3 Service Retirement and Disability Retirement Benefits impose a significant reduction when the retiree reaches age 62 — i.e. the retirement benefit is further reduced by 50% of his or her primary Social Security benefit attributable to his or her Credited “City” Service.

It is not always advantageous to revert to Tier 3 for retirement purposes. However, there are Tier 3 disability provisions that may make a Tier 3/4 Member eligible for a benefit that he or she would not be eligible for under Tier 4.

Transit Authority Member

A Tier 4 member employed in the operating-force of the NYC Transit Authority and some managers.

Unpaid Leave

An approved leave of absence during which a member does not receive Wages from his or her employer. Generally, members may not receive Credited Service for periods of unpaid leave.

EXAMPLES:

  • Sick leave of absence without pay
  • Workers’ Compensation leave of absence without pay
  • Leave of absence without pay for the purpose of engaging in union activities

Vesting

Vesting is the right to receive future retirement benefits even if you terminate employment before you are eligible for payment of a service retirement benefit.

Wages

Any earnings paid for services rendered to an agency of the City of New York or any other public employer in New York City or New York State.