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Service Purchases


Your SamCERA service credit is one of the factors used to determine your SamCERA retirement benefit. While you are an active member of SamCERA, you may be eligible to increase your benefit by:

  • Purchasing uncredited service credit (such as Extra Help, Medical Leave, Military Leave, etc.)
  • Upgrading service credit (such as General Member Plan 3 or Plan 5 service credit)
  • Redepositing service credit (due to a previous withdrawal of your SamCERA contributions)  

You can only make a service credit purchase while you are an active employee.

Don’t wait until the last minute to make a service purchase! Purchases are only accepted at certain times of the year, the process has several steps, and due to the cost, you may prefer to pay it over several months!

First step:

Submit a Service Purchase Request form.

  • Find the Form on the Member Forms page. 
  • There are two separate periods of time each year to make service purchases. Read the “Service Purchase” post below for important dates and deadlines.

Second step:

SamCERA will send you a Cost Notification and Purchase Contract approximately one month after your request is received.

  • The Cost Notification will show your costs under different payment options. Payment options include, a lump sum payment, bi-weekly pay roll deductions, or combination of both. Because part of the cost of the purchase is interest that has already accrued and continues to accrue until the purchase is complete, the costs and corresponding payment options have an expiration date.
  • The Purchase Contract is where you elect which payment option you would like to use for your purchase. The agreement is binding and cannot be amended or revoked. So read the documents carefully and follow the instructions.

Interest is calculated and applied to purchases every six months, just like contributions. The longer you wait to purchase service the greater the cost.

Third step:

Submit your signed, completed Purchase Contract and any lump sum payment by the expiration date on the Cost Notification!

  • The Cost Notification has an expiration date.
  • You must submit your signed completed Purchase Contract no later than the expiration date or your last date of employment, whichever occurs first.
  • The Purchase Contract is not valid and binding unless it is timely received and accepted by SamCERA.
  • SamCERA must receive any lump sum payment (if any) no later than the expiration date on the Cost Notification.


If the Purchase Contract and/or any required lump sum payment is received late, your purchase cannot be finalized, and you will be required to restart the process by submitting a new Service Purchase Request form.

Fourth step:

Comply with the periodic payment schedule (if any) in your contract.

Learn More

To learn more about service purchases and redeposits: