Service credit is one of the factors used to calculate the allowance you will receive when you retire. The other factors are your retirement plan, age at retirement, and final compensation. There are two types of service credit: earned and purchased.
Calculating Your Retirement Benefit
Log in to My LACERA to use the retirement benefit estimate (RBE) calculator. You can input potential retirement dates, service credit amounts, and retirement options to see how it will affect your monthly amount.
Earned Service Credit
You earn service credit for each payroll period in which you work and a retirement contribution is made. Since years of service credit are one of the factors that determine the monthly allowance you receive when you retire, the more years of service credit you have, the higher your monthly retirement allowance will be.
Service credit also affects the cost of your LACERA-administered retiree healthcare benefits. The County subsidizes retiree medical/dental insurance based on a member's years of service credit; the more service credit you have, the more the County pays toward your premiums (certain exceptions apply).
Plan E members have different requirements for earning service credit than contributory plan members. Consult the Understanding the Variables > Earning Service Credit section of your plan book for more info.
Purchasable Service Credit
Service credit may be purchased for certain types of County service and non-County government service performed prior to LACERA membership (various eligibility requirements apply).
Plan E members may not purchase County and non-county employment prior to LACERA membership.
Purchasable County service may include:
- Temporary County service
- Permanent County time prior to LACERA membership
- Redeposit of withdrawn contributions
- Sick without pay (SWOP)
- Conversion of prior general service to safety service
Other purchasable government service may include employment with:
- U.S., state, or other public entities located within the state of California
- Federal government and military service
Purchasing non-County service will increase your total years of service credit, but will not count toward meeting the minimum service credit requirement to retire or to be eligible to apply for a nonservice-connected disability, pre-retirement survivor benefits, or to defer your retirement.
For more information about payment options and contracts, read our Purchasing Service Credit page.