Retirement Service Credit Purchasing
Your monthly benefit at retirement, in part, is based on your creditable service. The amount of your retirement benefit is directly related to how much retirement credit you have. Most retirement credit is earned by making contributions to the Retirement System while working and receiving pay from an employer covered by the Retirement System. However, in some cases you may be eligible to purchase retirement credit that may increase the amount of your monthly benefit or allow you to retire at an earlier age, in accordance with North Carolina retirement laws.
You must carefully weigh your options when considering the purchase of retirement credit. There are situations where a purchase of retirement credit may be advantageous and other situations where it may be cost prohibitive, depending on your individual circumstance. The Retirement Systems Division makes available a retirement purchase estimator through ORBIT where you can obtain an estimate of the cost for many of the types of purchases before submitting your request for the actual cost to the Retirement Systems.
Service Credit Purchasing Procedure
The Retirement Systems Division strongly encourages you to obtain a purchase cost estimate through your personal ORBIT account if you wish to purchase service credit, unless you are interested in purchasing the following types of service that require individual calculations to be made by the Retirement System:
- Form 349 – Purchasing Pension Fund Credit for Prior Fire or Rescue Service
- Form 432 – Purchasing Retirement Credit for a Period of Interrupted Service Due to Involuntary Furlough
- Form 441 – Purchasing Retirement Credit for a Period of Workers’ Compensation
- Form 463 – Purchasing Retirement Credit for a Period of Interrupted Service for Educational Purposes
- Form 463F – Purchasing Continuation of Contributions and Credit for Planned Educational Leave
- Form 466 – Purchasing Retirement System Credit for Erroneously Omitted Service or Purchasing Contributions for Underreported Salary
- Form 481 – Purchasing Retirement Credit for a Period of Service Not Credited by the Former LEORS (Law Enforcement Officers' Retirement System)
Follow the steps below to obtain an estimate on all other service purchases through ORBIT:
- Click on the “ORBIT” button above
- Register at the log-in page, or log-in if you've already registered (if you've misplaced your login or password, just re-register)
- Once logged in to your ORBIT account, click on “Create Service
- Purchase Estimate”
- Fill-in the boxes for
- Service Status
- Type of Service to be Purchased
- Retirement Plan (at the time the leave was taken)
- Start and End dates for the period of leave being purchased
Note: If you are unsure of what to enter in any of the boxes, make your best effort.
The estimator will then provide a cost estimate for purchase. Print the estimate, attach it to the appropriate completed service purchase form and submit to the Retirement Systems Division.
Details and Forms
Information about retirement service purchases can be found in each systems' Retirement Handbook. Service Credit Purchasing forms also provide additional information.
Pre-tax money from an eligible retirement plan or IRA may be accepted via rollover or in-service plan-to-plan transfer in order to purchase creditable service in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System, Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System, Consolidated Judicial Retirement System, and Legislative Retirement System. For further information and instructions, please see Form 398, "Using a Distribution of Tax-Sheltered Savings to Purchase Retirement Credit."
It is recommended that members begin the rollover process at least 60 days before the expiration of the cost statement.