The state Senate and Assembly have passed a bill that would provide all active state public employee veterans with the opportunity to purchase up to three years of pension credit prior to retirement—a benefit that is now only available to former members of the armed forces who served during certain specified conflicts, according to Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), a co-sponsor of the legislation.
The proposal, which was approved by the Senate and Assembly last year and then vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would enable public employee veterans who served in peacetime—as well as a number of conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Korean DMZ—to buy the pension credits for their military service. Eligible veterans, who must have been honorably discharged, must have at least five years of credited public service before applying for the credits.
Currently, the state Military Service Credit Law applies to veterans who served in World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War, as well as to servicemen and women who earned certain expeditionary medals during conflicts in Lebanon, Grenada and Panama. Other eligible veterans include those who served in the Theater of operations, including Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and the airspace above these locations beginning in August of 1990.
“I am hopeful the governor will ultimately join with the Legislature and approve this measure to both show appreciation for our veterans and allow them to buy back some of their military service as they approach retirement,” Addabbo said.
By Forum Staff