MEMBERS

General Service Time Purchases 

You must request a written benefit estimate  to receive the estimated cost of what purchases (if any) are available to you. All eligible waiting time and forfeited service (refunded time) purchases are automatically included in the estimate. Please note that PERS processes estimate requests in retirement date order, with the earliest retirement dates first.

 

Forest Protective Association Employees Service 

  • A Tier One/Tier Two active or inactive member can purchase this service time if he/she was an employee of the Forest Protective Association and transferred directly to employment with the Oregon Department of Forestry.
  • The member pays the cost of his/her contributions and the employer’s contributions, plus interest that would have accrued to the date of purchase.
  • May purchase all or part of service time if he/she was a member before January 1, 2000, or up to five years if he/she was a member on or after January 1, 2000.
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • No minimum service required unless PERS membership was established on or after January 1, 2000; then 60 calendar months of membership is required.
  • The purchase can be made any time before retirement.

Forfeited Service Due to Prior Withdrawal (refunded time)

  • A PERS Tier One/Tier Two active or inactive member can pay back the withdrawn amount plus 7.5 percent interest compounded annually from refund to retirement date.
  • An OPSRP Pension Program member cannot purchase Tier One/Tier Two forfeited service.
  • Requires 10 years of creditable service since reemployment.
  • Service time under a loss-of-membership account is not eligible for purchase.
  • Can purchase one month of forfeited service for each three months of creditable service earned since reentry into PERS.
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • Cannot select a lump-sum settlement retirement option if he/she makes this purchase.
  • The purchase must be made within 90 days before retirement date.

Full-Cost purchase

PERS members who qualify can buy “service time” (retirement credit) to retire early or possibly increase the amount of their monthly retirement benefit. Those who qualify can buy:
 
·       military, 
·       out-of-state teaching, 
·       out-of-state police,
·       wildland firefighter service, and 
·       non-duty disability time. 
 
For these purchases, the member must pay PERS the full cost to the system of providing the additional retirement credit to the member, plus a $145 fee to cover administrative costs of processing the purchase. That purchase cost can be substantial, particularly if the purchase allows a member to retire before reaching normal retirement age.
 
If you are eligible to retire without the purchase, you can still make a purchase to increase your monthly retirement benefit.
 
If you are interested in a full-cost purchase, complete the appropriate section of the Benefit Estimate form. You must request a benefit estimate to receive the estimated cost of what purchases are available to you.
  
Note that the final purchase cost will not be determined until you actually retire, and could change substantially from the estimated cost.
 
In simple terms, the amount of a full cost purchase is determined by subtracting the amount required to fund the retirement benefit without the purchase from the amount required to fund the retirement benefit with the purchase. Additional information can be provided upon member request.
 
The actual cost of your full-cost purchase will depend on a number of individual factors, including:
·       The benefit calculation method (i.e., Full Formula, Formula Plus Annuity, Money Match).
·       The number of years of membership before your effective retirement date.
·       Your final average salary.
·       Your eligibility to retire, and whether you would receive an actuarially reduced benefit without the purchase (i.e., whether you will have reached early or normal retirement age at your effective retirement date). [Note: It will cost less for a member who has already reached normal retirement age to make the purchase than a member who has not reached normal retirement age.]
·       Your service classification (General Service, Police Officer & Firefighter).
·       Future cost-of-living increases and any tax remedy increases.
 
From 2016 to 2018, the average full cost purchase (military and out-of-state-teaching purchases) was $116,760 (Median: $80,000), with actual costs ranging from $145 to over $900,000. Actual costs will depend on your specific situation.
  
For more information read: Full-cost purchases: Questions & Answers.
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Periods of Disability

  • A Tier One/Tier Two active or inactive member can make this purchase.

  • If disability is due to illness or injury sustained on the job, the member receives the service time at no cost (credit must be requested). Otherwise, the member pays the actuarial full cost of a benefit. 

    For more information read: Full-cost purchases: Questions & Answers.

  • To receive service credit for a job-related illness or injury, the member must have been on a PERS duty disability or show that he/she was receiving workers' compensation benefits.

  • If the disability was not job-related, the member pays the full purchase in a lump sum.

  • The member must have returned to PERS employment following disability.

  • This purchase only applies to periods of disability occurring on or after January 1, 1985, for which the member received a PERS disability retirement allowance or workers’ compensation disability payment.

  • The purchase is for service credit only toward a new PERS retirement, not an increase in his/her account balance.

  • If disability was a self-inflicted injury or illness, member cannot make this purchase.

  • No minimum service required.

  • Purchase must be made within 90 days before a new PERS retirement date.

Redeposit (refunded time)

  • A person who has withdrawn his/her Tier One/Tier Two account can restore service time by paying the withdrawn amount plus the interest that would have accrued to purchase date.
  • Member must be rehired in a PERS-qualifying position within five years of the separation that preceded the withdrawal.
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • No minimum service required.
  • The redeposit must be made within the first year of reemployment by a PERS-covered employer and is not made at the time of retirement.
 

Seasonal service time

  • The member must complete and return the Certification of Seasonal Service form before an estimate can be completed.
  • A Tier One/Tier Two active member can purchase this service time if he/she was a “seasonal” employee. This includes apprenticeships, internships, or entry-level positions (as defined by the employer) that led to employment in a technical or professional position with that employer.
  • The member pays the cost of his/her contributions and the employer’s contributions plus 8 percent interest to the retirement date.
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • Only seasonal time periods of less than six months may be purchased.
  • This purchase does not apply to regular waiting time served before becoming a PERS member.
  • Must purchase all seasonal time periods served before becoming a PERS member.
  • Requires 10 years of creditable service at retirement.
  • The purchase must be made within 90 days before retirement date.

Waiting Time (employment before PERS contributions began)

  • A PERS Tier One/Tier Two active or inactive member can purchase the six-month waiting time before contributions began. The member pays the cost of his/her contributions and the employer’s contributions. No interest is charged.
  • If you have more than one waiting-time period due to a prior withdrawal/refund, you cannot purchase your total waiting time if you do not also purchase your forfeited (refunded) time.​
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • The purchase must be made within 90 days before retirement date.
  • Requires 10 years of service credit at retirement.

Military Service Time Purchases 

Alternate Purchase of Military Service Time

  • A Tier One/Tier Two active or inactive member can purchase up to four years of military time served on or after January 1, 1950, and before coming to work for a PERS employer.
  • Must have been honorably discharged.
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • The purchase must represent the full cost to the system for providing additional retirement credit.

    For more information read: Full-cost purchases: Questions & Answers.
  • Member cannot be eligible for or be receiving benefits for this retirement credit from the military or under any other PERS statute.
  • Member must make purchase before retirement date if service time is needed to qualify for retirement.
  • The purchase must be made within 90 days of the retirement date.
  • No minimum service required.

Credit of military service under Veteran’s Reemployment Rights Act 

  • There is no cost to the member; this provides retirement credit only.
  • For employees of a PERS-participating employer who served in the Uniformed Services and were reemployed before December 12, 1994.
  • No minimum service is required.
  • Contact the Accounts Reconciliation Team at PO Box 23700, Tigard, OR 97281-3700 for more information.
  • PERS requires a copy of the members DD214 to determine eligibility to make this purchase.
 
 
Military Service Time Purchase
 
  • Must have returned to former PERS-covered employer within the time limits specified in ORS 238.156(3). State agencies are all considered one employer, as are school districts.
  • The member pays the cost of any contributions he/she would have made. No interest is charged.
  • Applies to an employee of a PERS-participating employer who served in the Armed Forces only.
  • The PERS member, any person, or organization, may pay the contributions. Cost must be paid in lump sum.
  • Contribution amount is based on salary at the time the employee entered or reentered military service.
  • Cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
  • No minimum service required.
  • Contributions can be paid anytime after returning to employment and before retirement.
  • PERS requires a copy of the members DD214 to determine eligibility to make this purchase. For more information read: Answers to Your Questions about Purchasing Retirement Credit for Military Service Prior to PERS Employment

 

 

Military Service Under (USERRA)

  • For employees of a PERS-participating employer who left employment to serve in the Uniformed Services and were reemployed on or after December 12, 1994. 
  • The PERS member, or any person or organization, may make up contributions for the period of service. However, if an employer has elected to assume and pay the member contributions (EPPT), the employer must make the contributions. 
  • Contributions can be made between date of reemployment and 3x the duration of military service (but not to exceed five years). 
  • Contributions are based on what salary would have been during the period of military service. 
  • Cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
  • Must have returned to former employer within the time limits specified in USERRA §4312 (the state is considered one employer). 
  • No minimum service required.To the extent contributions are made, service credit for the period of military service is granted. 
  • PERS requires a copy of the members DD214 to determine eligibility to make this purchase.

Education Purchases

 

Out-of-State School Service Time  

 

Special Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association (TRFA) Refund

  • The employee must have taken a withdrawal from TRFA before employer joined PERS.
  • A Tier One/Tier Two active or inactive member can purchase all service forfeited by withdrawal.
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • Purchase required for all refunded TRFA time.
  • Requires 10 years creditable service in the field of education to make this purchase.
  • The purchase must be made within 90 days before retirement date.
  • The member must pay the amount withdrawn plus the interest that would have accrued to the retirement date.

Police and Fire Purchases

Non-PERS Police and Fire Service Time

  • The member must complete and return the Certification of Non-Participating Oregon PERS Employer for Police or Firefighter form before an estimate can be completed.
  • Must have been employed as a police officer or firefighter and service must have been with an Oregon public employer that was not participating in PERS.
  • A Tier One/Tier Two active member can purchase up to 10 years of service if PERS membership was established before January 1, 2000; can purchase five years of service if PERS membership was established on or after January 1, 2000.
  • The member pays the cost of his/her contributions and the employer’s contributions plus 8 percent interest to the retirement date.
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • Employee must have left service with employer before employer joined PERS.
  • Employee must be in a police officer or firefighter position at the time of purchase.
  • May purchase up to the 10-year limit (or part), but there is only one opportunity to make this purchase.
  • No minimum service required unless PERS membership occurred on or after January 1, 2000; then 60 calendar months of membership is required.
  • The purchase can be made anytime before retirement.
 
 

Out-of-State Police Service Time (full-cost purchase) 

  • The member must complete and return the Certification of Out-of-State Police Officer form before an estimate can be completed.
  • A Tier One/Tier Two active police officer can purchase up to four years of service for employment as a public safety officer in another state.
  • The member pays the actuarial full cost of a benefit.
  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.
  • Cannot be eligible for nor be receiving retirement benefits from that employment.
  • Member must be in a PERS-covered public safety position at retirement.
  • Member must provide a written verification to PERS from the other state or political subdivision verifying the period of employment.
  • Member must make the purchase before his/her retirement date if service time is needed to qualify for retirement.
  • No minimum service time required. 
 

Wildland Firefighter

  • Allows eligible, certified employees employed by State Forestry on October 23, 1999, to purchase job class credit as a firefighter for service performed before that date as a wildland firefighter. Eligible employees may purchase P&F job class to replace all or part of the eligible service.

  • Must have been employed as a firefighter and service must have been with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

  • The State Forester must certify an employee is a “professional wildland firefighter” and include dates of employment as a wildland firefighter.

  • The purchase must represent the full cost to the system for providing additional retirement credit. For more information read: Full-cost purchases: Questions & Answers.

  • The purchase must be made within 90 days before retirement date.

  • Purchase cost must be paid in a lump sum.

​As a P&F member of PERS, you may elect to make additional contributions to purchase up to eight units of additional benefits at retirement. To purchase units complete the Police Officer and Firefighter Unit Purchase Election at Retirement.

Important information about overnighting purchase payments to PERS:

If you or your financial institution are sending a purchase payment via overnight mail, please use PERS' physical address, not the P.O. Box mailing address:

PERS
11410 SW 68th Parkway
Tigard, OR 97281-3700
 
If you are mailing a package or anything overnight to PERS, please use FedEx or UPS (or other courier service) instead of the U.S. Postal Service. Please note that PERS does not receive packages on weekends or holidays​.
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