Service credit is one of the most important factors in determining eligibility for, and the amount of, your SURS benefits. You earn service credit based upon the length of your SURS participation. Review the following matrix to determine if you may qualify for service credit in addition to your regular SURS employment.
With the exception of Repay Refunds, Self-Managed Plan (SMP) members must be in active employment status to be eligible to purchase service credit.
If you think you may qualify for additional service, contact SURS as early in your career as possible. SURS will help you determine how to verify any additional service for which you may be eligible and help you understand how this service may increase your retirement benefit.
- Dial Toll Free: 800-275-7877
- Dial Direct: 217-378-8800
Average Processing Time is currently 60-90 days from the receipt of all information.
If, after reviewing the applicable documentation, SURS determines you do not meet the eligibility requirements to purchase service credit; you will receive a letter.
You are not obligated to purchase any eligible additional service credit.
All purchases must be completed prior to your effective retirement date.
The IRS has ruled that interest on the purchase calculations is not deductible for income tax purposes.
Delays in Receiving the Cost: The cost for any eligible service credit will be processed upon receipt of all required information. There are several reasons why a purchase cost may not be processed within the average processing time. The following are the most common:
- Receipt of employer information: SURS may require information from your SURS-covered employer. Their response time affects the processing time required to process the purchase cost. If the information reported by your employer is inconsistent with the information SURS has on file, SURS will contact the employer for clarification.
- Response from member: If SURS requests additional information or paperwork from you, it must be submitted before the purchase cost can be calculated.
Response from reciprocal system: If you have service with one of the other State of Illinois reciprocal systems, SURS may need to request information from that system.
Once you receive the purchase cost remittance forms, you must decide whether you wish to purchase the service credit. Prior Service, Other Public Employment (OPE), and Military Service may be purchased in one-year increments with payments for fractions of a year of credit made with the last payment. Military Leaves may be paid in whole or in part. Repay Refunds and Non-Military Leaves of Absence must be purchased in their entirety.
If you are in the Traditional or Portable plans, you may use the online benefit estimator to determine the effect of the purchase on your retirement benefit. The Online Estimator is available through the SURS website. Go to www.surs.org and click on Member Login.
If you are in the Self-Managed Plan, the total cost of your purchase will be added to your account value but you will receive no state match. Each fund provider offers an online estimator:
- After-tax Payment: You may make the purchase with after-tax (personal) funds or with funds from a ROTH IRA.
- Before-tax Payment: If you have funds in a 401(a) Qualified Plan, Traditional IRA, 401(k), 403(b) Tax Sheltered Annuity, or a Governmental 457 Plan, you may be able to roll those funds to SURS for the purchase of service credit. If you are in the Self-Managed Plan, you cannot roll funds from an in-service 403(b) or 457 plan. If the rollover funds are not sufficient to complete the purchase, you may pay for the remaining balance with after-tax funds.
- Installment Contract (if eligible): If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may elect to make the purchase via payroll deductions through your SURS-covered employer.