General Requirements

  • How is creditable service earned?

In general, you earn creditable service toward your retirement allowance for the period during which you make contributions to the retirement system.

  • May I buy back creditable service?

It is important to note that when you return to public service after previously withdrawing your accumulated deductions, you will make contributions at the rate in effect when you return to service.  This is true even if you pay back, with interest, the amount which was previously withdrawn.

It is also important to remember that if you make your buy back of this time within one year after your re-entry into service, or enter into an installment agreement to make such a buy back within one year, you will pay a lesser interest rate than you will if you delay repayment.  If you buy back or arrange to buy back this service within one year, you will buy back the time with buy back interest.  If you buy back the time one year or more after re-entering public service, you will have to make the buy back with actuarial assumed interest, a much higher interest rate.  

It is up to the retirement board whether to accept installment payments or not.  Please consult with your individual retirement board for more information about this.

What interest rate will I pay if I am buying back prior non-membership service?

A person purchasing prior non-membership service is required to pay actuarial assumed interest on such a purchase.

Seasonal Employment

How is creditable service calculated for seasonal employees?

Employees whose work is found by their retirement board to be seasonal in nature and who work full-time for at least seven months are entitled to one year of creditable service.

Retirement boards will, on a board by board basis, determine how much full-time seasonal service will constitute the equivalent of one year of service for those who work less than seven months a year.

Transfer or Re-establishment of Membership

  • What creditable service requirements pertain to the transfer or re-establishment of membership and retirement benefit eligibility?

No member who is reinstated, re-enters, transfers, or re-establishes his membership is eligible to receive a superannuation, ordinary disability, or termination retirement allowance until the member has been in active service for at least two consecutive years following the start of the new employment.

The two-year requirement will not apply in the case of any member who is reinstated to active service, re-enters active service, or who transfers his membership from another retirement system, if the member has rendered service or attained an age so that he would have been eligible to retire if he had continued to be a member of the retirement system from which membership was transferred.

  • Is the two-year requirement waived when a transfer involves no break in service?


Workers' Compensation

  • How is my creditable service affected by an absence caused by a work-related injury or hazard?

Full creditable service will be awarded to any member-in-service for a period of absence that is attributable to an injury sustained or a hazard undergone during employment that results in total incapacitation and for which Workers' Compensation benefits are paid. The member receives the creditable service without having to make contributions to the retirement system. Workers' Compensation benefits received during such a period are not considered to be regular compensation and cannot be used to calculate a retirement allowance.

If a member is granted Workers' Compensation for partial incapacity and is employed on a part-time basis by the employer where the injury occurred, full-time creditable service can be granted. The member must make contributions on the regular compensation he or she receives in the part-time employment.

Military Service

  • Is creditable service earned during a leave of absence to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States?

Employees who leave public employment for the purpose of serving in the armed forces, and who are honorably discharged and return to public employment within two years of their discharge from military service, are entitled to have periods of service in the Armed Forces of the United States counted as creditable service.

  • Does the law limit how much credit such returning employees are eligible to receive?

For those who leave their public employment to serve in the military and return to service within two years, they will be credited for all the time served. A different provision of the law allows for the purchase of pre-membership military service, as discussed below, and the purchase of such service is limited to four years.

  • Could I receive credit for military service rendered prior to becoming a public employee?

As noted above, veterans are allowed to purchase up to four years of creditable service corresponding to their military service.

    • Please see the definition of veteran under the section of this guide entitled "Retirement Allowance."
    • For each year of military service sought, an eligible member is required to pay ten percent of the regular annual compensation that he or she was being paid upon entering the retirement system.

Members may not receive credit for military service for which they have already received credit under the leave of absence provision discussed above.

  • Members who are veterans should be notified by their local retirement boards of their eligibility to purchase such time. Once so notified, a veteran has 180 days in which to decide whether to purchase such service. Although the retirement board will set the terms of this purchase, generally speaking, the member is not required to purchase this time within the 180 days. He or she must only enter into an agreement to purchase the time within the 180 day window.
Date published: July 1, 2015

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