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Rights and benefits information for military service members and veterans

Educators who are serving or who have served in the U.S. military qualify for special leaves of absence and may be eligible for special benefits.

Learn more about military leaves of absence »

Salary boosts for military experience

If you were on active duty in the military for at least one year before you became a teacher, you may qualify for related non-teaching experience salary credit if your military work was reasonably related and your licenses is in one of the following areas:

  • Accounting and Business Practices
  • Attendance Teacher
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Distributive Education
  • Earth Science
  • Home Economics
  • Industrial Arts
  • Library
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Science
  • Special Education Licenses (all)
  • Stenography and/or Typewriting
  • Technical Subjects
  • Shop Subjects/Trades

Seniority for military experience

Non-disabled veterans with active wartime status qualify for 2.5 years of seniority. Disabled veterans and spouses of 100% disabled veterans qualify for five years of seniority.

Veteran status is granted for active military service in the armed forces of the United States and subsequent honorable discharge or release under honorable conditions during any of the following periods:

  • Dec. 7, 1941 to Sept. 2, 1945
  • June 26, 1963 to May 7, 1975
  • Aug. 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991

Pension credit for military experience

If you served in the U.S. military, you may be eligible to receive service credit in the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) for your military duty — whether it occurred before or during your TRS membership.

Obtaining credit for your military service will increase your total service credit with TRS, which may qualify you for retirement sooner and which will increase the amount of your retirement benefits. There is usually a cost for obtaining the additional credit.

You can apply for military service credit by filing a Military Service Credit Request Form (code SD68) with TRS. As with all service credit claims, TRS must receive your request before you retire. But you should submit your request as soon as possible after your military duty, since in some cases payment fr the credit must be made within five years of your re-employment.

There are different federal and state laws under which pension credit can be granted for military service. After evaluating your claim and your eligibility, TRS will determine which laws apply to your situation and make the maximum benefit available to you.

Mental health benefits for your active duty experience

The UFT Member Assistance Program is available to offer counseling and support to UFT members who have experienced post traumatic stress disorder as military veterans or from other life events.

Military combat can cause PTSD, with symptoms that may include flashbacks, panic attacks, hyperarousal, phobias, fear of crowds, anxiety, alcohol and drug dependencies, shortened attention span and trouble concentrating. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or others that relate to a traumatic experience, MAP offers free and confidential consultations and referrals to appropriate private practitioners or mental health agencies that specialize in PTSD.

The UFT Veterans Committee is another resource for military veterans, offering camaraderie, advocacy and information about veterans’ rights and entitlements.