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Service credit purchase

There are four types of service credit that active and deferred members may purchase in order to increase their total service credit. Service credit is one of the three factors used to determine your retirement benefit, and a service credit purchase may or may not make sense for you personally.

Service credit purchases generally involve time when you were working for the County, but not in a capacity where you were earning service credit. There are four types of service credit that may be purchased from SDCERA.

  • Redeposit of withdrawn contributions
  • County service prior to entering SDCERA membership
  • Sick leave or family medical leave without pay
  • Eligible service from your work in a prior public agency
  • Military leave without pay

For more details on the four types of service credit you can purchase, refer to the Purchasing Service Credit fact sheet.

For information on how a service credit purchase can affect your retirement benefit, refer to the Considerations Before Purchasing Service Credit fact sheet.

Remember, service credit purchases always involve interest so usually the sooner you purchase any eligible service credit, the less it will cost you because you will pay less interest.

The first step toward a service credit purchase is to complete the Request for Costs to Purchase Service Credit form. SDCERA will respond with a contract informing you of the costs to purchase the service credit, and at that time you can decide if you would like to make the purchase or not. 

If you are considering a service credit purchase, keep in mind that you are also able to use monies transferred or rolled over from a tax-deferred plan to complete the purchase. Refer to the Rollover/Transfer for Purchasing Service Credit fact sheet for more information.

Military Service Credit Requests

You may be eligible to receive service credit if you resigned or took a leave of absence from your position with the County of San Diego (or other participating employer) to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and returned to active SDCERA membership, following honorable discharge. Military service that occurred prior to SDCERA membership does not qualify. Tier I, Tier A and Tier B members can restore their military leave service credit at no cost. Tier C members must purchase military leave service credit.  

Complete the Military Service Credit Request form to request SDCERA service credit for your period of military service and include a copy of your military discharge certificate (DD Form 214 or its equivalent).