How many years do I have to work before I can retire and collect a pension?

The state laws governing the public employee pensions have changed over time. Usually the changes do not apply to people who have already joined the retirement system — in other words, the new pension plan applies only to future members. So the rules about how old you have to be and how long you have to work before you qualify for reduced or full retirement benefits differ depending on when you were hired and joined the retirement system. To better understand your plan, speak to a union pension consultant at your UFT borough office. The union also offers in-depth pension clinics in the UFT borough offices at various times throughout the year for those two to three years from retiring.  Also, make sure you register on the Teachers’ Retirement System website at so you can track the details of your pension status. The TRS also has numerous publications that describe your benefits in detail. Go to BERS-eligible members can go to or call BERS at 718-935-5400.

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