Retirement Benefits

Purchase “Service Prior to Membership” to Increase Your Benefit

You could be eligible to purchase service credit that would increase your future retirement benefit if you worked for a CalPERS-covered employer before you became a CalPERS member. This is called “Service Prior to Membership” service credit.

Are you eligible for Service Prior to Membership?

You may purchase this service if you:

  • Are an active or inactive CalPERS member.
  • Worked for a CalPERS-covered employer as a seasonal, temporary, part-time, or intermittent employee, but were not a CalPERS member.

Since there is a cost to making a service credit purchase, you should first visit the Service Credit page on our website to learn more, and then log in to myCalPERS and complete a few simple questions to determine eligibility and automatically view the estimated cost, the estimated increase to your future retirement benefits, and the factors used to explain how your cost was calculated.

Cost is based on your pay, the member contribution rate on the date you became a CalPERS member, and interest from your membership date through the purchase date. For Service Prior to Membership purchases, the employer will need to certify the time, which happens after you submit your request.

Submit Your Purchase Request Online

To request online, log in to myCalPERS. On the home page under Service Credit, select Make a Service Credit Purchase. Here, you will be prompted to answer a series of questions to help determine which service credit types you may be eligible to purchase. You can then request the cost for any available purchase options. The process to request, elect, and pay for a service credit purchase is secure, convenient, and entirely paperless through your myCalPERS account.

Purchase Early in Your Career to Save Money

We recommend you request to purchase service credit early in your career because the cost will be lower, and you can pay off your lump-sum balance in full before you retire to maximize your benefit increase.

Learn About Service Credit Purchase Types

Watch our informative Service Credit Purchase webcast to learn about the different types of service credit purchases, eligibility, and payment options.