As an active member, you are eligible for a monthly Service Retirement benefit when you meet the minimum age and service credit requirements for your schedule.
Each schedule has different rules that are used to determine your retirement eligibility date, your accrual rate for each year of service and total service credit factor, and your pension benefit calculation. Your retirement eligibility determination considers your vesting status, when you were hired, how many years of service you had, plus your age at certain milestone dates.
Find your employment type below for more detailed information about eligibility and schedules.
How to determine your schedule
You can verify your schedule on the ERSRI Member Portal. Simply login, click “View My Pension Profile,” then scroll down to the Membership Information Panel or click the “Employees’ Retirement System” hyperlink. Your schedule is listed in the field entitled “Group.”
Retirement eligibility schedule rules
Eligibility based on the Rule of 95
The Rule of 95 is an alternative full benefit retirement eligibility date to allow members to retire earlier than their schedule-based eligibility date. Under the Rule of 95, members can retire when their age plus their years of service equal 95 provided that they are at least 62 years old.
For example, a member who is 62 years old could retire with 33 years of service rather than waiting until their schedule-based eligibility date (62 + 33 = 95).
Other Early Retirement Options (“Transition Rules”)
State employees, teachers, and municipal employees who were not eligible to retire as of June 30, 2012 have the option of retiring under a transition rule if they meet all the applicable criteria. If you are considering retiring under one of the transition rules, we strongly encourage you to contact ERSRI and speak to a Retirement Counselor to verify your eligibility for early retirement before terminating your employment.
Transition Rule 1: If you have 20 or more years of service and are within 5 years of eligibility from your full benefit retirement date, or 5 years from your full retirement age, you may retire early with a permanent reduction in your benefit amount. Note: For Correctional Officers and BHDDH nurses Transition Rule 1 would only be applicable in cases where they are retiring under state employee retirement eligibility rules.
Early Retirement Reduction Year(s) from full retirement Percent Reduction Cumulative Reduction 1 9% 9% 2 8% 17% 3 7% 24% 4 7% 31% 5 7% 38%
Transition Rule 2: If you earned at least 10 years of contributory service as of June 30, 2012, this rule provides you an additional option for an earlier retirement date. This rule does not allow you to retire earlier than the eligibility date determined under the laws in effect on June 30, 2012. An employee who elects this option will receive a Defined Benefit Plan benefit which is calculated using their service credit and highest average compensation as of June 30, 2012. If you elect this option, you will not receive retirement credit for any service and compensation earned after July 1, 2012.
Transition Rule 3 (Police and Fire MERS only): If you earned at least 10 years of contributory service as of June 30, 2012 AND you were age 45 prior to 7/1/2012 AND you would have been eligible to retire at or prior to age 52 in accordance with the rules in effect prior to 7/1/2012, this rule provides you an additional option for an earlier retirement date without a benefit reduction. If you meet the criteria, you are eligible to retire at age 52.
Leaving Employment Prior to Retirement Eligibility?
If you leave your job and terminate employment with a participating employer but are vested in the system (currently 5 years of contributing service), you may begin collecting your pension benefit when you meet your retirement eligibility criteria — as long as you do not withdraw your contributions.
In some cases, your eligibility date may be adjusted if you leave employment prior to reaching your full retirement date. However, your benefit will be the same as it was the day you terminated employment. There are options to receive your benefit prior to reaching your full eligibility date but those options require a reduction of your benefit (see the discussion of Transition Rules in the sections above).
It is important to know that once you leave active employment, ERSRI will not automatically begin sending your pension benefit when you reach you full retirement eligibility date. It is your responsibility to notify ERSRI when you become eligible and to fill out a retirement application approximately three to six months before your eligible retirement date.
If you are not vested in the system (less than 5 years of contributing service) you can take a refund of your pension contributions without interest. You can roll this money over into a qualified retirement account or take the refund as cash. You should be aware that if you take a refund of your contributions as cash you will be subject to mandatory tax withholding and may incur additional tax penalties for early withdrawal. Always consult a tax professional when considering this option.
Thinking about Retiring?
If you are planning to retire in the next 12 months, start here by downloading the ERSRI Retirement Planning Checklist. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to collect your ERSRI retirement benefits.
Your step-by-step guide on how to collect your ERSRI retirement benefits.