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Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Seal

NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Law Pertaining to State University of New York (SUNY) Police Officers

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Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: Transfer requests must have been filed with NYSLRS on or before December 31, 2015.

  1. If I switch from the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), what Tier will I be in PFRS?
  2. I have a prior PFRS Tier 2 membership. If I transfer from ERS to PFRS, will I go back into Tier 2?
  3. How much of my ERS time will count towards my 25 years in the PFRS special plan?
  4. If I leave employment with SUNY and accept a position as a police officer in a municipality that has a 20 or 25 year retirement plan, does my SUNY time count toward satisfying the 20 or 25 year requirement?
  5. If I have more than 25 years of service as a SUNY police officer, am I better off staying in the ERS plan?
  6. How is other PFRS service (e.g., service with a municipal police department or as a Forest Ranger, Park Police Officer or EnCon Officer) credited? Will it count toward my 25 years?
  7. If I transfer previous non-police/fire service in ERS into PFRS will that ERS service count as part of the 25 years?
  8. Will service in an ERS special 25-year plan (e.g., Sheriffs, Undersheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs plan, or State Correction Officer and Security Hospital Treatment Assistants plan) count toward my 25 years of credit?
  9. Does military service credit count in the 383-d plan?
  10. In ERS, the lump sum payment at retirement for up to 240 hours vacation time may be included in the calculation of my Final Average Salary (FAS). Does this remain the same in PFRS? Also, in ERS, I could receive additional service credit for a maximum of 1600 hours of unused sick time. Does this remain the same?
  11. In ERS, the cap on the increase in annual wages used to calculate my FAS would be 10%. Is it different in PFRS?
  12. If I transfer from ERS to the PFRS 25 year plan but then leave public employment before reaching 25 years as a university police officer, am I entitled to a benefit?
  13. If I join the PFRS plan and it turns out that my pension would be bigger with the current ERS plan, would my pension be based on the ERS or PFRS plan? If another PFRS plan provides a greater benefit, would I receive that instead?
  14. I am a member of the SUNY Optional Retirement Plan, can I transfer into the PFRS special 25-year plan?
  15. I am a member of ERS and make voluntary contributions to the NYS Deferred Compensation Program or the SUNY 403(b) Voluntary Savings Plans, can I transfer my membership into PFRS and continue to make voluntary contributions for my retirement savings?
  16. What disability benefits are available?
  17. What post-retirement health benefits are available?
  18. Are there any presumptive benefits attached?
  19. If I currently contribute toward my pension, will the amount of contributions change?
  20. Will I receive a refund of my ERS employee contributions if I transfer into PFRS?
  21. Does this law apply to:
    1. Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs (M/Cs) with continuous SUNY service (from the ranks)?
    2. Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs (M/Cs) hired into their current positions from outside of SUNY?
    3. Members in the New York State Optional Retirement System (ORS), not the Employee Retirement System (ERS)?
  22. How does the new law apply to new hires?
  23. If I have an outstanding loan in ERS, does it need to be repaid?
  24. Can I take a loan on my previous ERS contributions if I transfer to a non-contributory tier in PFRS?
  25. I am a current member of ERS and have decided that I do not want to transfer into the PFRS plan, what should I do?
  26. We understand that Agency Police Services Unit (APSU)-represented SUNY police no longer have the option of enrolling in ERS, and must enroll in PFRS — but is enrollment required for part-timers?
  27. Are SUNY police not represented by APSU (i.e., M/Cs), also no longer allowed to enroll in ERS?
  28. Do new enrollees have the opportunity to buy back service prior to enrollment?
  29. Is there an estimated timeframe and/or process by which transfers from ERS to PFRS will be confirmed and the information conveyed to agencies? 1
  30. What is the appropriate membership application for University police officers hired on or after December 18, 2015? 1
  1. If I switch from the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), what Tier will I be in PFRS?

    A member’s tier will depend on his/her date of membership. ERS Tier 2, 3 or 4 will be PFRS Tier 2. (You would be covered by PFRS Tier 3, Article 11, if date of membership is between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009.)

    ERS Tier 5 will be PFRS Tier 5. (You would be covered by PFRS Tier 3, Article 11, if date of membership is between January 1, 2010 and January 8, 2010.)

    ERS Tier 6 will be PFRS Tier 6.

  2. I have a prior PFRS Tier 2 membership. If I transfer from ERS to PFRS, will I go back into Tier 2?

    Yes.

  3. How much of my ERS time will count towards my 25 years in the PFRS special plan?

    All SUNY Police Officer time rendered in ERS and transferred to PFRS will count toward the 25-year plan. In addition, any SUNY Peace Officer service rendered before 7/22/1998 will count toward the 25 years.

  4. If I leave employment with SUNY and accept a position as a police officer in a municipality that has a 20 or 25 year retirement plan, does my SUNY time count toward satisfying the 20 or 25 year requirement?

    No, it does not. However, if the municipality has elected to provide an additional benefit for years beyond the 20 or 25 required in the special plan, some or all of the SUNY service may count toward that additional benefit.

  5. If I have more than 25 years of service as a SUNY police officer, am I better off staying in the ERS plan?

    Some SUNY police officers with many years of service may not improve their pension by transferring into PFRS. We suggest you contact one of our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area. They can review your specific service credit with you and discuss your options.

  6. How is other PFRS service (e.g., service with a municipal police department or as a Forest Ranger, Park Police Officer or EnCon Officer) credited? Will it count toward my 25 years?

    No other police officer service will count toward the 25-year plan. Other PFRS service would be credited after the completion of 25 years of service as a SUNY police officer at 1.66 percent of Final Average Salary.

  7. If I transfer previous non-police/fire service in ERS into PFRS will that ERS service count as part of the 25 years?

    No.

  8. Will service in an ERS special 25-year plan (e.g., Sheriffs, Undersheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs plan, or State Correction Officer and Security Hospital Treatment Assistants plan) count toward my 25 years of credit?

    No other Sheriff, Correction Officer or Security Hospital Treatment Assistant service will count toward the SUNY Police Officer 25-year plan.

  9. Does military service credit count in the 383-d plan?

    Military service acquired under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Article 20 of the Retirement and Social Security law will count toward the 25 years of service as a university police officer.

  10. In ERS, the lump sum payment at retirement for up to 240 hours vacation time may be included in the calculation of my Final Average Salary (FAS). Does this remain the same in PFRS? Also, in ERS, I could receive additional service credit for a maximum of 1600 hours of unused sick time. Does this remain the same?

    The value of unused vacation time is not included in FAS for PFRS tier 2 through 6. Some members in ERS do receive up to 200 days (1600 hours) service credit for unused sick leave. That is not the case in PFRS. Unused sick leave provides additional service credit in PFRS, up to a maximum of 165 days (1320 hours).

  11. In ERS, the cap on the increase in annual wages used to calculate my FAS would be 10%. Is it different in PFRS?

    The cap on the increase in annual wages included in FAS for a PFRS member in tiers 2 through 5 is 20 percent. It is 10 percent for PFRS tier 6.

  12. If I transfer from ERS to the PFRS 25 year plan but then leave public employment before reaching 25 years as a university police officer, am I entitled to a benefit?

    Under the special plan, a member may retire at age 60 and receive a pension based upon 2 percent of Final Average Salary (FAS) for each year of university police officer service and 1.66 percent of FAS for other service. The total benefit may not exceed 50% of FAS. A member with less than 25 years of university police officer service may also retire as early as age 55 with a vested retirement benefit. In that case, the benefit is equal to 1.66 percent of FAS for all service.

  13. If I join the PFRS plan and it turns out that my pension would be bigger with the current ERS plan, would my pension be based on the ERS or PFRS plan? If another PFRS plan provides a greater benefit, would I receive that instead?

    Your election to transfer from ERS to the new PFRS section 383-d plan is irrevocable. Retirement benefits will be determined under that plan. Sections of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) that provide for the payment of a greater benefit if available under another applicable PFRS plan do not apply to a member transferring to 383-d.

  14. I am a member of the SUNY Optional Retirement Plan, can I transfer into the PFRS special 25-year plan?

    No, only SUNY Police Officers who are members of ERS may transfer into the PFRS plan.

  15. I am a member of ERS and make voluntary contributions to the NYS Deferred Compensation Program or the SUNY 403(b) Voluntary Savings Plans, can I transfer my membership into PFRS and continue to make voluntary contributions for my retirement savings?

    Yes.

  16. What disability benefits are available?

    If you transfer, you will be covered by the disability provisions that are offered in your new plan.

  17. What post-retirement health benefits are available?

    NYSLRS does not administer health insurance benefits. Please contact your health benefits administrator or the New York State Department of Civil Service Employee Benefits Division.

  18. Are there any presumptive benefits attached?

    Yes.

  19. If I currently contribute toward my pension, will the amount of contributions change?

    If you become a member of PFRS Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 with Article 11 benefits when you transfer, you will not be required to contribute.

  20. Will I receive a refund of my ERS employee contributions if I transfer into PFRS?

    No. As required by the statute, such contributions will be retained by NYSLRS and used to offset the past service costs incurred by this law.

  21. Does this law apply to:

    1. Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs (M/Cs) with continuous SUNY service (from the ranks)?

      Yes.

    2. Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs (M/Cs) hired into their current positions from outside of SUNY?

      Applies if they were appointed by SUNY pursuant to the education law.

    3. Members in the New York State Optional Retirement System (ORS), not the Employee Retirement System (ERS)?

      No.

  22. How does the new law apply to new hires?

    A SUNY Police Officer hired on or after December 18, 2015 will be a mandatory member of the PFRS special 25-year plan under Section 383-d of the Retirement and Social Security law.

  23. If I have an outstanding loan in ERS, does it need to be repaid?

    Yes, your loan must be repaid. If your loan is not repaid by retirement, your retirement benefit will be permanently reduced.

  24. Can I take a loan on my previous ERS contributions if I transfer to a non-contributory tier in PFRS?

    No, the law requires that the contributions be transferred to help fund the PFRS benefit.

  25. I am a current member of ERS and have decided that I do not want to transfer into the PFRS plan, what should I do?

    There is no need to send in any form or paperwork. You will remain in the ERS plan that you already have a membership in.

  26. We understand that Agency Police Services Unit (APSU)-represented SUNY police no longer have the option of enrolling in ERS, and must enroll in PFRS — but is enrollment required for part-timers?

    Yes, membership in PFRS is mandatory for all police officers whether full time or part time.

  27. Are SUNY police not represented by APSU (i.e., M/Cs), also no longer allowed to enroll in ERS?

    Chapter 561 applies to all University Police Officers appointed pursuant to section 355 (2)(l) of the Education Law. It does not address union affiliation.

  28. Do new enrollees have the opportunity to buy back service prior to enrollment?

    Yes, they may purchase previous service. SUNY Police Officer time and any SUNY Peace Officer service rendered before 7/22/1998 will count toward their 25-year plan.

  29. Is there an estimated timeframe and/or process by which transfers from ERS to PFRS will be confirmed and the information conveyed to agencies? 1

    A SUNY transfer will take approximately six to nine months from the date we begin processing it. When we begin processing a transfer, we will send an acknowledgement letter to the member. When the transfer is complete, we will send correspondence to both the member and the employer that lists the changes to the membership (i.e., revisions to a date of membership, contribution rate, etc.).

  30. What is the appropriate membership application for University police officers hired on or after December 18, 2015? 1

    The appropriate application is Police and Fire Membership Application (PF5022) Adobe pdf.

1 Updated 2/16

(Rev. 12/15)

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