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Serving New York Educators Since 1921

Section 11: Military Service

Introduction | Prior Military Service  | Service
Interrupting NYSTRS Membership
| Table of Contents


Introduction

Two types of service credit are available for active military duty: service preceding NYSTRS membership and service interrupting NYSTRS membership. in all cases, honorable discharge documentation is required as verification of military service. A member who qualifies for credit under more than one scenario for the same period will receive credit under the one which is most advantageous.

Military service credit may generally be claimed simply by sending a letter to the Retirement System; however, the claim must be made while the membership is active. The member's military documentation in the form of an honorable military discharge, Form DD214, must be provided in order for credit to be granted.

To obtain a copy of a DD214, please contact:

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

Phone:   (314) 801-0800
Email:   MPR.center@nara.gov
www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel

A member's request for military service doesn't incur a cost to the employer.

Questions regarding military service credit should be directed to our Military Unit at (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6060 (447-2900 if calling from the Albany area). The following covers the eligibility requirements for each law.

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Prior Military Service

Chapter 548 of the Laws of 2000

Chapter 548 of the Laws of 2000 allows active members and members retired on or after December 21, 1998, to purchase up to three years of credit for active duty if the member was not a teacher upon entry into the military. Total credit under this law cannot exceed 3 years and it cannot exceed the "net active service" indicated on the member's military document. To be eligible to receive credit for military service under this section of law, a member must have at least five years of service credit and meet at least one of the following requirements:

Served during the following military periods:

  • World War II (12/7/1941 – 12/31/1946)
  • Korean Conflict (06/27/1950 – 01/31/1955)
  • Vietnam Era (02/28/1961 – 05/07/1975)

Or received the Armed Forces, Navy or Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal in:

  • Lebanon (06/01/1983 – 12/01/1987)
  • Grenada (10/23/1983 – 11/21/1983)
  • Panama (12/20/1989 – 01/31/1990)

Or served in the theater of operations in the:

  • Persian Gulf War (08/02/1990 – present)

The cost for each year claimed is 3% of the salary earned for Tiers 1-5, and 6% for Tier 6 members during the 12 months of credited service immediately preceding the filing of the military service claim.

In the event a member is not able to benefit from any service purchased under this section, the cost of this service will be refunded (with interest at the rate of 5% per annum) to the member at retirement or upon death.

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Service Interrupting NYSTRS Membership

Federal Reemployment Act

The following conditions must be satisfied in order for a member to purchase military service credit under the Federal Reemployment Act.

  1. The military service must be active service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.
  2. The member must have been a member of this System and a teacher in a position other than a temporary or substitute position at the time of entry into the military.
  3. Service crediting under this law is limited to four years but in no event can it exceed the "longevity for net pay purposes" indicated on the member's military document.
  4. Eligibility for FRA requires reemployment effective on or before December 13, 1994.
  5. The member must have returned to teaching with one of our participating employers within 90 days of discharge or no later than September following the date of discharge.
  6. The member must have been given an honorable discharge.
  7. a. There is no cost for Tier 1 or 2 members.
    b. A Tier 3 or 4 member is required to pay 3% of the salary s/he would have received during the years for which s/he is receiving military service credit, plus interest. Tier 5 and 6 members are not eligible for FRA.

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Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

The following conditions must be satisfied in order for a member to purchase military credit under USERRA:

  1. The military service must interrupt your NYSTRS membership.
  2. The military service must be active service as a member of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including Reserves), Air National Guard, the Commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and any other person designated by the President of the United States. 
  3. The military service includes all forms of: active duty; inactive training duty; and, the period for which teachers are absent from employment for the purpose of an examination to determine fitness for duty.  (Service can be voluntary or involuntary.)
  4. A member must have been in a position that made him or her eligible for membership in NYSTRS at the time they entered the military.  Full-time and part-time teachers under contract would be covered.  Per-diem substitutes would not be covered by this Act.
  5. The member must have returned to teaching with a participating employer within 90 days of discharge or no later than the September following the date of discharge.
  6.  The member must have been given an honorable discharge.
  7. No minimum NYSTRS credit is needed to claim military service under this Act.
  8. a. There is no cost for Tier 1 or 2 members.
    b. Tier 3-6 members are required to pay a percentage of salary s/he would have received during the years for which s/he is receiving military service credit. The percentages are as follows:


  9. Tiers 3 and 4 3%
    Tier 5 3.5%
    Tier 6 6%

  10. Service credited under this law is limited to five years but in no event can it exceed the "net active service" indicated on the member's military document.

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Section 243 of the Military Law

The following conditions must be satisfied in order for a member to purchase military service credit under Section 243 of the Military Law:

  1. The military service must be active service as a member of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, the National Guard, the United States Public Health Service as a commissioned officer, the American Red Cross while with the armed forces of the United States on foreign service, the special service section of the United States armed forces on foreign service or the Merchant Marine.
  2. The military service must be rendered subsequent to July 1, 1940, and must not be service voluntarily entered upon between January 1, 1947 and June 25, 1950.
  3. The claimant must be a teacher in the public schools of New York State and a member of the New York State Teachers' Retirement System at the time of entry into military service.
  4. Service crediting under this law is limited to four years, but in no event can it exceed the "net active service" indicated on the member's military document.
  5. The claimant must return to public school teaching within one year after the date of honorable discharge.
  6. The cost is as follows and purchase must be made within five years of return to public school teaching:
    1. The amount the member would have contributed had the employment been continuous during the period of military service. This payment is waived for Tier 3 or 4 members called to active duty on or after August 1, 1990, and prior to January 1, 1993.
    2. If the claimant did not have an employer during such period of military service, the claimant must also pay the amount the employer would have contributed to the System had employment been continuous during such period. No interest is calculated on this portion of the member payment.
  7. A member who had been granted credit for military service and whose membership in the System has subsequently ceased because of withdrawal will be entitled to the same credit for military service upon rejoining the System that s/he was credited with upon termination of membership in the System. The credit will not be allowed until the member claims and pays for all prior teaching service credited at the time of termination of membership in the System.

Chapter 326 of the Laws of 2005

Chapter 326 provides that a member who is called to active military duty on or after September 11, 2001 and prior to January 1, 2006, who is not receiving his or her full salary from a participating employer and is otherwise eligible to receive retirement service credit in such system for such active military duty pursuant to New York Military Law §242, §243 or USERRA shall not be required to make member contributions to receive such credit.

The following conditions must be satisfied in order for a member to qualify for the benefits of Chapter 326:

  1. The military service must be active service as a member of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, the National Guard, the United States Public Health Service as a commissioned officer, the American Red Cross while with the armed forces of the United States on foreign service, the special service section of the United States armed forces on foreign service or the Merchant Marine.
  2. The member must be called to active duty on or after September 11, 2001 and prior to January 1, 2006.
  3. There is no cost for all tiers. Mandatory membership contributions for Tier 4 members are still required after the military period if the member has not qualified under Article 19.  Tiers 5 and 6 are not eligible for chapter 326.
  4. Service credited under this law is limited to four years but in no event can it exceed the "net active service" indicated on the member's military document.

 

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