The primary way one obtains service credit is by working in a regular full-time position and making mandatory contributions to the system (this is called "membership service credit"). However, if you qualify, you can establish additional service credit by purchasing it. There are a number of ways in which you may be able to purchase service credit, as described in the following sections:
If you left the City and withdrew your money, you can reinstate your service credit through a purchase of your prior service if you are reemployed with the City or currently working for a proportionate employer.
Purchasing prior service not only increases your service credit but also increases your retirement benefit payment.
Prior Military Service
You can purchase a minimum of 90 days and up to 48 months of service for full-time, active duty that you completed in the Armed Forces of the United States prior to working for the City. You will need to provide your DD214 Form to receive this credit.
Military Service Leave of Absence (USERRA)
You can purchase service credit if you had to leave your City job to perform military duty and chose not to continue making retirement contributions while you were deployed.
When you return, depending on your length of service prior to your military assignment, you generally have between 14 and 90 days to return to your City job. Once you are back, you must purchase your military service within five years of returning.
Purchasing military service not only increases your service credit but also increases your retirement benefit payment.
You can purchase service credit representing certain employment periods with the City in which you would not have made COAERS contributions. Some examples include:
- You worked for the City in a temporary or part-time position
- You were on an approved leave of absence
- You were on Workers Compensation leave due to an on-the-job injury
In addition, up to six months of non-contributing service can be purchased for probationary period employment for those who were hired prior to October 1, 1995, but were not still employed by the City on October 1, 1995. If you were an active contributory member of COAERS on October 1, 1995, you were given credit for this period at no charge to you.
Purchasing non-contributing service not only increases your service credit but also increases your retirement benefit payment.
Sick Leave Conversion
At retirement, you may convert unused sick leave hours to service credit. A sick leave purchase does not make you eligible to retire any sooner, but it will increase your monthly benefit payment. Unused sick leave hours eligible for cash payment may not be converted to service credit.
You should start the conversion process 30 to 60 days before your retirement date. You must convert your sick time in 80-hour pay period increments. Both you and the City will pay the current contribution rate at the time of retirement to convert the hours to service credit.
Supplementary Service Credit
Once you have five years of COAERS membership service credit, you can purchase up to 60 months of additional service credit.
Group A Supplementary service credit will increase your monthly benefit payment and will also count toward your retirement eligibility.
Group B Supplementary service credit will increase your monthly benefit payment but will not count toward your retirement eligibility.
You may be required to purchase prior service before you can purchase supplementary service credit. Please contact our office for more information.