Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

I am deciding if I should purchase 5 years of service credit. What do I need to do?

You may be eligible to purchase permissive service credit for past employment or an approved leave of absence for which you did not make retirement contributions to CalSTRS, such as:

  • Creditable service before becoming a CalSTRS Defined Benefit member.
  • Employer-approved sabbatical leave.
  • Certain active military leave before 1994.
  • University of California or California State University teaching service not credited or purchasable under another retirement system.
  • Employer-approved maternity or paternity leave.
  • Out-of-state or foreign school education services performed in a public education position.
  • Employer-approved leave covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

The cost of the service credit depends on your age and your highest annual earnable compensation during your last three years of creditable service. 

Although the types of permissive service credit outlined above may still be purchased, Assembly Bill 340, the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) prohibits the purchase of nonqualified service credit, also known as ‘air time’,  on or after January 1, 2013. Nonqualified service credit is defined as service credit not connected to any specific prior employment.

Read more about how to Purchase Additional Service Credit.

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