Your service credit is the number of years you work in public service. Your employer reports this time to DRS. Depending on which retirement system you are in, your service credit might be calculated differently. Visit your online account to view your service credit history. read more/less
Service credit looks something like this:
DRS retirement pension formulas use years for your service credit calculation. In this example the service credit is 26.50 months, so dividing by 12 months would give us 2.208 years. Your total months divided by 12 is the number you would use for the service credit part of the formula.
See the partial month calculated in the year 2016 of the example? Employees who work at least part of a month earn partial service credit. See the following section for more information about how service credit is calculated for your plan.
Service credit is based on the number of hours you work, which your employer reports to DRS. No more than one month of service credit can be earned each calendar month, even if more than one employer is reporting the hours you work. read more/less
Each system and plan has different methods of calculating your earned service credit. For example, members of PERS Plan 2 or PERS Plan 3 who work at least 90 hours in a month receive one service credit for the month. But there is more to it than this. What happens if a PERS Plan 2 member works fewer than 90 hours?
See your plan handbook for specific information about how your service credit is calculated.
When it comes to purchasing service credit, members have a variety of options available. You can purchase an annuity to increase your income at retirement. There are also situations where you can purchase service credit after an absence, return from separation or from a disability. read more/less
When retiring, plan members can purchase the service credit annuity, which allows you to add up to 60 months (5 years) to your service in the final pension calculation. Purchased service credit does not actually increase the number of years you’ve worked and won’t help you qualify for retirement, but it can make a big impact when it comes to your pension payment! Estimate the pension increase as well as the annuity cost through the “Purchasing Service” calculator in your online account. Find out more about DRS annuities.
You could qualify to earn up to two years of service credit for an unpaid leave of absence that your employer authorized. To do so, you must:
You must complete payment within five years of returning to employment or before you retire, whichever comes first. See Recovery of Withdrawn or Optional Service Credit:
If you leave your position, withdraw your contributions and later return to a DRS covered employer, you might be able to restore your previous service credit. To do so, you must repay the total amount of the contributions you withdrew plus interest within five years of returning to work or before you retire, whichever comes first. Contact us to find out that amount. It might still be possible to purchase service credit after the deadline has passed. However, the cost in that case is considerably higher.
PERS, SERS and TRS members, you can purchase up to 24 months of service credit while on leave for a disability if you meet all the following eligibility criteria:
You pay retirement contributions plus interest on the compensation you would have earned had you been working.
If you are a member of WSPRS, PSERS or LEOFF, see your Plan handbook for more information.