National Association of State Retirement Administrators

New York

Major public retirement systems in New York include the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) and the New York State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS).

The New York State CRF administers pension and other benefits for substantially all employees (excluding teachers) of the State outside of New York City. The state comptroller is the sole trustee and administrative head of the system. Two plans are administered by CRF: the Employee Retirement System (ERS) and the Police and Fire Retirement System. The plans administer six benefit tiers; membership in each of the tiers is determined by the employee's date of entry into the plan. Major differences among tiers include the age of eligibility for retirement and required employee contributions.

NYSTRS administers pension and other benefits to certified employees of more than 800 public school districts, state universities and colleges, and other state educational agencies outside of New York City.

Authorizing Statutes

According to §7 of the New York State Constitution:

After July first, nineteen hundred forty, membership in any pension or retirement system of the state or of a civil division thereof shall be a contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

In March 2011, the Governor signed into law an act creating a new tier (Tier VI) for employees hired after April 1, 2012, which provides for:

  • An increase in employee contribution rates;

  • An increase in the age for normal retirement;

  • A decrease in the pension multiplier;

  • An increase in the number of years used to calculate final average salary; and

  • An increase in the number of years required to vest.

Board Composition

Plan

Board Size

Appointed

Elected

Plan Members

Ex Officio

New York State Teachers Retirement System

10

5

4

6

1

New York City Teachers Retirement System

7

2

3

3

2

Contributions

Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2011, employer contributions to New York state and local government pension plans were 6.23 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.

Constitutional Protections

After July 1, 1940, membership in any pension or retirement system of the state or of a civil division thereof shall be a contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired. NY CONST., Article V, §7. Public Employees Federation, AFL­ CIO v. Cuomo, 467 N.E.2d 236 (NY Ct. App 1984)(reduction of benefits payable on death of state employees hired on or before July 1, 1976, was unconstitutional impairment of contract, inasmuch as death benefit was benefit of membership in retirement system rendered contractual in nature regardless of whether specific funds were earmarked for death benefit); but see Ballentine v. Koch, 674 N.E.2d 292 (NY Ct. App. 1996)(by defining Police Officer's Variable Supplements Fund (POVSF) to not be a pension or retirement system, and by reserving to the legislature the unilateral right to amend or repeal POVSF statutory provisions, the legislation established a benefit scheme expressly outside the purview of the pension impairment clause of the State Constitution). (NY CONST., Article V, §7) Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits

Flag of New York (April 1, 1901)

Population (2015) 19,795,791

New York public pension statistics, per U.S. Census Bureau as of FY 2015 ($ in 000s)

Assets

$467,409,311

Active Members

1,180,822

Annuitants

917,285

Benefits Paid

$29,193,572

Employee Contributions

$1,419,171

Employer Contributions

$18,476,667

Systems

9

More Data