Service credit is earned based on the hours
worked for a participating SBCERA employer, which are then
converted to years. It is one of the
factors used to determine the amount of your monthly
lifetime retirement benefit. It is also used to determine when
you become vested, eligible to retire, and stop paying
contributions to SBCERA (30 years, Tier 1
only). Typically, the more service credit you have,
the higher your monthly lifetime benefit will be.
Active and Deferred Members may be eligible to
purchase additional service credit for previous employment with
SBCERA or another public employer. Service credit purchases must
be made prior to retirement, and all balances must be paid off
within 120 days after your effective retirement date.
Types of Service Credit Purchases:
Redeposit of Withdrawn SBCERA
Contributions: If you previously worked for a
participating SBCERA employer and withdrew your contributions
upon termination of employment, you may restore these years of
service credit by redepositing your contributions plus
Past Ineligible Service: You can purchase
all or part of the time you worked with a participating SBCERA
employer that was considered ineligible for SBCERA membership.
This typically includes part-time, CETA, seasonal, per diem,
student worker or temporary service.
Authorized Leave: If you go on an
authorized medical leave, you may be eligible to purchase up to
12 consecutive months of service credit for the time you did
not earn while on medical leave. You may also purchase military
leave taken while you were an Active Member of SBCERA.
Prior Public Agency Service (PPAS): You
may be able to purchase all or part of your prior service with
another public agency as long as you will not receive a pension
or retirement benefit from that agency for the time. This
includes service with the State of California, federal
government, the military and some other public agencies in
California. Please note, PPAS time does not count toward
vesting and retirement eligibility requirements.
The cost and payment options vary on an individual basis. All
purchases include applicable contributions and interest.
Therefore, the sooner you complete the purchase, the less the
purchase may cost you. The money you spend on service credit
purchases is credited to your SBCERA retirement account as
refundable contributions and will be reflected in your total
Direct Transfer from Qualifying Deferred Compensation
Plan: You may be eligible to rollover funds from
an employer-sponsored defined contribution retirement savings
account, such as a 457(b), 401(a) or 401(k) plan, to pay for
Payment Plan (Payroll
Deductions): Payments through after-tax payroll
deductions. The number of payroll deductions is dependent on
the type of service credit purchase.
After-Tax Lump Sum Payment: You may pay
all or a portion of your service credit purchase using
after-tax dollars, such as a check or money order.
Steps to Purchase Service Credit
To begin, log into your SBCERA account online and submit
Purchase Request. All requests are handled on a first-come,
first-served basis. Please allow up to 90 days to complete the
entire purchase process.
SBCERA will provide you with a cost estimate and send you
information, including the next steps. Should you decide to
initiate the service purchase, a contract will be created.
However, you are not obligated to purchase the service credit
unless you sign and return the service credit purchase contract.
Once you have determined the costs, you can create your
estimates online to see what, if any, impact it may have
on your benefit. When doing so, be sure to override your years of
service credit to include the service credit you are considering
Decide if you want to purchase the service credit. If you
wish to proceed with the purchase, sign and return the contract
to SBCERA. By signing the contract, you are agreeing to the terms
set forth in it. If you decide not to complete the purchase, no
additional steps are required and you may keep the contract for
Our office is currently closed to the public, but we're working and available to assist you. Pension payments are on schedule and we are processing retirements. Visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) resource page for more information.