A key element in determining the amount of your benefit at retirement is credited service. As a way to potentially enhance your retirement benefit, SFERS will allow you to voluntarily purchase service for time previously worked or lost under certain conditions. You may voluntarily purchase service under the following conditions:
- Service with CCSF as a Temporary Employee
Eligible time you worked for CCSF that is covered for SFERS membership, but were not a member of the Retirement System. If you do purchase this service, the retirement benefit that you receive for it is based on Miscellaneous Plan benefit provisions. The cost of purchasing the service credit is the contributions you would have made had you been a member of SFERS at the rate in effect at the time the service was rendered, plus interest.
- Redeposited Plan Service
Current SFERS members may elect to redeposit contributions previously withdrawn from SFERS for periods of prior membership.
- Unpaid Parental Leave
Periods you were on unpaid parental leave status with CCSF prior to July 1, 2003, provided that you returned to work for CCSF for at least six months immediately after the expiration data of your unpaid parental leave.
- Qualifying Public Service
Time you worked for the federal government (non-military), the State of California, or other public agency in California prior to SFERS membership.
- Military Service
Service with the armed forces during times of war or conflicts while a member of the retirement plan or, while you are on a San Francisco Civil Service list and reached for certification for a permanent appointment.
- Union Representative Service
Time you worked as a full-time employee representative for a recognized CCSF employee organization while a member of the retirement plan on leave of absence from your normal CCSF position.
If you have an opportunity to purchase Prior or Redeposited Service, it will be identified on your Annual Member Statement mailed to you each year in August, under a section titled “Summary of SFERS Service Purchase Opportunities”. This section includes:
- the type of service available for purchase
- the years of service available for purchase
- the cost to purchase that service
To initiate an agreement to purchase Prior or Redeposited service, log in to mySFERS and select the “Service Purchase” tab.
If you believe you have an opportunity to purchase service for Unpaid Parental Leave, Public, Military or Union Representative Service, you will need to verify the service is eligible to purchase. Log in to mySFERS and select the “Service Purchase” tab to complete and submit the applicable Service Purchase Request Form.
If you are a miscellaneous member who elected to pay retirement contributions at a reduced rate rather than at the 7.5% or 8.0% base rate, you may have an account shortage. You may repay your account shortage in full or in part at any time prior to your effective retirement date. If your shortage is not repaid in full prior to retirement, your retirement benefit will be reduced by an amount based on the actuarial equivalence of the shortage.
In the state of California, a public employee’s retirement benefit is regarded as community property and is therefore, considered when property is divided in the event of marital/domestic partnership dissolution (divorce). If you divorce before retirement, under community property laws, a former spouse/domestic partner may be eligible to receive a share of your retirement benefit when you first become eligible for retirement, even if you do not retire.
If the Retirement System makes benefit payments to a former spouse/domestic partner before you retire, you will incur an account shortage called a “Gillmore” debt.
To receive your full retirement benefit, you can repay the amount of the Gillmore debt plus interest, any time prior to your effective retirement date. When you retire, the benefit payments to your former spouse/domestic partner once paid by the Plan on your behalf will continue from your monthly retirement benefit.
If you have an opportunity to repay a shortage it will be identified on your Annual Member Statement mailed to you each year in August, under a section titled “Summary of SFERS Service Purchase Opportunities”. To initiate an agreement to repay an account shortage, log in to mySFERS and select the “Service Purchase” tab. An appointment is not required if you are repaying a shortage by check.
You may purchase service or repay an account shortage any time prior to your effective retirement date.