Purchasing Service Credit

Purchasing Service Credit


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 vestedeligible 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.

Purchasing Service Credit

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  • Redeposit of Withdrawn SBCERA Contributions: If you previously worked for a participating SBCERA employer and withdrew your contributions upon termination of employment, you may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 interest.
  • 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, 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, including service with the State of California, federal government, the military and some other public agencies in California. To purchase this time, you cannot be eligible to receive a benefit for this service from another California agency.

The Cost

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 account balance.

Payment Options

  • 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 your purchase.
  • 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.

How to Purchase Service Credit

  • You can complete a Service Purchase Estimate in your online mySBCERA account.
  • You will need to select the Service Purchase Contract type you wish to run a Service Purchase Estimate for and enter other required information. 
  • After completing your estimate, you will be able to track the progress of your request. 
  • You are not obligated 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. 

All requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Once SBCERA has received your request to proceed with the estimate and you have uploaded the appropriate support, we will send you a contract within 5 business days.

  Vesting Credit  Eligibility Credit Benefit Credit
Past Ineligible (Temp) X X X
PPAS (Includes Military)     X
Authorized Leave X X X
Redeposit X X X
We’re Here to Help

If at any time during this process you have questions, give us a call at (909) 765-2880 or send us an email at ServiceCredit@SBCERA.org.

Note: A service purchase may not benefit you in the event the Board of Retirement grants you a Disability Retirement. Please contact SBCERA for further information.

Log in