Purchasing Service Credit
Depending upon your circumstances you may be eligible to purchase additional service credit that counts toward vesting, retirement eligibility and the calculation of your retirement benefit.
Contact us to find out the cost to purchase your eligible service credit.
Types of Service Credit Eligible for Purchase
Service Prior to Membership and Part Time Service
You may be eligible to purchase service credit for hours you worked with one of MCERA's participating employers prior to entering MCERA membership. A common example of this type of service is employment in an extra hire or temporary capacity. If your working hours fell below 75% of full time and you stopped making contributions, you may also be eligible to purchase retirement service credit for those hours.
To receive credit for this service you must deposit into your retirement account the amount you would have contributed had you been in membership or not working the reduced schedule, plus any interest that would have been credited to your account. You may purchase all or part of this service.
Your membership date will not change to an earlier date if you purchase this service.
Medical Leave without Pay
If you are unable to work due to illness, injury or maternity disability and have a period of unpaid leave, you may be entitled to purchase service credit for up to twelve consecutive months of the leave period once you return to active employment.
For this type of service purchase MCERA requires a copy of the doctor's note that states you were required to be off work, the effective date of medical leave and the date you may return to active employment.
To receive credit for this service you must deposit into your retirement account the amount you would have contributed during your period of leave plus any interest that would have been credited to your account. You may purchase all or part of your medical leave without pay, and payments must be made over the same or shorter period as the absence.
Redeposit of Withdrawn Contributions
If you previously worked for one of MCERA's participating employers and withdrew your contributions after terminating employment, you may restore those years of service by redepositing your contributions, plus interest, into your MCERA account upon returning to employment and MCERA membership.
To receive credit for this service you must redeposit all of your previously withdrawn contributions, plus the interest your account would have earned had you left your funds on deposit, prior to retirement.
Restoring this service credit also restores your right to your original retirement tier. For members covered by County of Marin and Marin Superior Court medical benefit plans, redeposits also restore your eligibility date for these post-retirement benefits.
Service purchase payments must be completed prior to your effective date of retirement in order to receive credit for the service. It's best to purchase service sooner rather than later because interest is calculated and applied to purchases every six months, just like contributions. The longer you wait to purchase service the greater the cost.
You can pay for your service purchase in one or more of the following ways:
- Check. You can provide a personal check or a cashier's check payable to MCERA.
- Direct rollover from a qualified plan. You can transfer pre-tax funds from a qualified retirement plan - 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 457(b) or Traditional IRA - for all or part of the purchase cost.
- Payroll deductions. You can schedule after-tax payroll deductions for up to five years, depending on the type and length of service being purchased.