Purchasing Service Credit

Purchasing Service Credit Overview

STRS Ohio members may purchase service credit for certain types of past employment and leaves of absence. Purchasing service credit may increase the amount of your retirement income and/or enable you to retire sooner. The information that follows applies to STRS Ohio members who are enrolled in the Defined Benefit Plan.

Because records are sometimes difficult to obtain, it is advisable to certify the service credit as soon as possible. Certifying credit does not obligate you to buy the credit, but it does verify the credit amount and current cost. Once credit is certified, cost statements from STRS Ohio can be updated at any time for most types of purchasable credit.

You may receive a maximum of one year of service credit for each STRS Ohio fiscal year. Service concurrent with your Ohio public service or other purchasable service would not be eligible for purchase.

Certifying Purchasable Credit

Members who plan to purchase credit should review the Purchasing Service Credit brochure and talk to an STRS Ohio benefits counselor for further details on purchasing service credit, certification of credit and payment options. Information about other changes related to legislation can be found on this website. Follow these steps to ensure proper certification of your service.

  1. Request the appropriate certification form by:
  2. Review the Purchasing Service Credit Fact Sheet that will accompany the certification form.
  3. Have the certification form completed by an official record keeper where the service was performed. Because records are sometimes difficult to obtain, it is advisable to certify service credit as soon as possible.
  4. Submit the completed certification form to STRS Ohio at 275 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215.

If service is purchasable, an initial cost statement will be mailed to you. This cost statement does not obligate you to buy credit, but it does verify the credit amount and current cost. A payroll deduction cost, if available, will be included with the cost statement. Before purchasing service credit, an individual counseling session with an STRS Ohio benefits counselor is strongly recommended.

Methods of Payment

All purchasable service credit must be paid in full within three months following your effective retirement date, or earlier if you allow your retirement to become final. Purchasing service credit within three months after retirement will delay the finalization of your retirement benefit and it may delay partial payments. You may purchase service credit up to three months after your retirement but before the final benefit determination only if:

  • Certification forms have been received in the STRS Ohio office before your retirement date, and
  • A cost statement for the purchase is issued before your retirement date.

If credit is not purchased before your retirement date and the above criteria for purchasing credit following retirement are not met:

  • The retirement date will be changed to the first day of the month following the purchase, or
  • Your service retirement will be canceled if you are not eligible to retire without the purchase.

The following methods may be used to purchase service.

Lump-Sum Payment

  • Cost statements are prepared for the total amount and by cost per year of service credit, if applicable.
  • The minimum payment is $200 or the cost to purchase .01 of a year of service credit, whichever is higher.
  • Costs are valid only for the period indicated.
  • Purchasable service calculated at 100% liability cost will be refunded if the full cost to purchase one year of credit or total eligible credit, whichever is less, is not paid by the earlier of the end of the month following the 90th day of first payment or June 30.

Members may purchase service credit in a lump-sum payment by rolling over tax-deferred funds from:

  • A traditional IRA, SEP-IRA or SIMPLE IRA account, excluding Roth and certain inherited IRAs.
  • A qualified employer plan including 401(a), 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b) governmental plan, excluding Roth plans.

If your employer is purchasing the credit for you, the employer must send its check to STRS Ohio with a letter certifying how the money is to be treated for tax purposes.

Contact STRS Ohio directly for specific rollover forms and procedures.

Payroll Deduction

STRS Ohio offers employers two payroll deduction options. Your employer may elect to use one or both methods. Payment may be submitted with money that has already been taxed (after-tax) or with money that has not been taxed (pretax). Leave of absence credit, school board credit, credit for interrupted teaching due to military service and restored service with Cincinnati Retirement System cannot be purchased through payroll deduction.

Contact STRS Ohio to initiate payroll deduction. The cost form must be completed and given to your treasurer or payroll officer. In addition:

  • You must be employed in a position that allows for regular year-round monthly deductions. (If you are paid on a nine-month schedule or other seasonal pay schedule, contact STRS Ohio regarding payroll deduction.)
  • You must specify a monthly dollar amount or designate a specific period of time.
  • For purchasable service calculated at 100% liability cost, payroll deduction can only be established for one year of credit at a time and a member can purchase the credit over a maximum of three years.
  • Payroll deductions are terminated in the month before your retirement date. You will have up to three months after retirement to purchase any remaining service through a lump-sum payment paid directly to STRS Ohio.
  • Payroll deduction, whether pretax or after-tax, can be used to purchase service credit represented on only one cost statement at a time.
  • Interest rates are subject to change. In the event of an interest rate change, the amount of your monthly payroll deduction or the time period of your payroll deduction may be affected.

Limitations of Pretax Payroll Deduction Plan

The pretax payroll deduction plan is irrevocable. Once started, the plan cannot be canceled or converted to an after-tax plan. The monthly payment amount cannot be stopped or changed even in the case of unforeseen circumstances or financial hardship. Extra payments may not be submitted on the pretax plan. The plan must continue until the member terminates employment or the credit is fully purchased.

Partial Lump-Sum Option Plan (PLOP) Payment

At retirement, members have the option of electing a PLOP payment which would result in a permanent reduction of the monthly benefit amount. A member can use a PLOP payment to replenish funds that were used to purchase service credit. The monthly reduction for the PLOP payment may be less than the increase resulting from the purchase. PLOP payments cannot be paid earlier than 91 days after your retirement date or the date all necessary information is received and your retirement benefit is finalized, whichever is later.

Because credit must be purchased before the PLOP payment is issued, you must use funds from some other source to purchase credit and use the PLOP payment to replenish those funds. There are two ways you can use the PLOP payment to replenish funds used to purchase credit:

  1. You can roll money from an IRA, qualified plan, or eligible employer plan to purchase credit and take a PLOP payment to cover the amount needed to replenish the account.
  2. You can take a PLOP payment to pay yourself back directly for any service credit purchased. You will need to request a PLOP payment amount that also covers the taxes that will be withheld on payments paid directly to you.

For additional information, see the Service Retirement and Plans of Payment brochure.

Important Considerations Before Buying Service Credit

When evaluating the purchase of STRS Ohio credit, it is important to understand how various benefits will be affected. Most purchases increase the amount of the retirement benefit, but some types of credit can have a greater impact on the amount of the benefit than others.

Certified service credit may be purchased up to three months following your retirement date. Although the cost of credit may increase because of interest rates or a change in the liability factor, it is not always best to buy credit early. In fact, a variety of circumstances may arise before retirement that would make such an investment unwise, such as:

  • The death of the member before qualifying for retirement. (Survivor benefits may be determined without regard to service credit.)
  • Acceptance of disability benefits.
  • A short Ohio public career.
  • Purchasing service credit calculated at 100% liability cost to reach retirement eligibility and then working longer than expected.
  • Better investment options. In some situations, the money may be invested in long-term savings where it may net a higher return (after taxes) than the interest STRS Ohio is charging to buy the credit.
  • A possible negative impact on Social Security. Many STRS Ohio retirees have potential benefits as the spouse of a Social Security wage earner or because of their own employment under Social Security.

Social Security may reduce or eliminate its benefit because of your eligibility for STRS Ohio benefits. We cannot calculate your Social Security benefit or predict future legislative changes regarding Social Security. For more information, contact Social Security directly toll-free at 800‑772‑1213.

Types of Credit and Impact on Benefits

Type of Credit Service Credit Used for Retirement Eligibility Used to Qualify for Access to Health Care Coverage Determines Rate of Interest or Eligibility for Matching Funds When Account is Withdrawn
Absence due to pregnancy or adoption (3307.771*)    
Earned OPERS or SERS (145.47 and 3309.47*)  
Earned STRS Ohio (3307.53*)
Interrupted teaching due to military service (3307.752*)  
Leave of absence (3307.77*)  
Military (3307.75 and 3307.751*)    
Ohio noncontributing public teaching service (3307.72*)  
Other Ohio public service (3307.76*)    
Police, Fire and State Highway Patrol (3307.761*)  
Restoration of STRS Ohio service credit (3307.71*)
Restoration or transfer of earned service credit between STRS Ohio and other retirement systems (3307.761 and 3307.763*)  
School board (3307.78*)    
Teaching and public service (3307.74*)    
Waived service (3307.73*)    

*Represents applicable section of Ohio Revised Code.

Buying Credit While Receiving a Disability Benefit

You can buy purchasable service while receiving a disability benefit. Purchasing credit will not increase your disability benefit, but it may be used to calculate survivor benefits for your spouse or qualified beneficiary. It may also enhance any future service retirement benefits.

Purchasable Service Calculated at 100% Liability Cost

Members who purchase the following types of service credit pay 100% of the liability that is created by the purchase of the additional credit.

  • Out-of-state teaching and public service
  • Private teaching service
  • Federal civilian service
  • Waived service
  • Prior military service
  • Other Ohio public service for which contributions were not made
  • Leaves or resignations due to pregnancy or adoption before July 1982
  • School board service

Cost information

A purchase of service credit can impact a member’s benefit in one of the following three ways:

  • Increase the retirement benefit — A member who is already eligible for an unreduced retirement benefit without the purchase of credit may purchase credit to increase the amount of that benefit. For example, a member purchases one year of service credit to receive an additional 2.2% of the final average salary every year for the member’s lifetime.
  • Eliminate or lower the early retirement reduction — Members may retire early with an actuarially reduced benefit based on years of service credit and age at retirement. Purchasing additional credit could help the member reach eligibility for unreduced benefits or lessen the actuarial reduction the member will incur due to an early retirement.
  • Create retirement eligibility — A member who is not yet eligible for a retirement benefit may purchase credit to reach eligibility. For example, a member who is one year away from reaching 32 years of service and retirement eligibility buys 1.00 year of credit during the 31th year of service to become eligible for retirement a year sooner. This type of purchase results in the highest cost.

Because purchasing credit may increase the amount of your retirement income and/or enable you to retire sooner, the amount you pay to purchase the credit reflects the additional liability to STRS Ohio resulting from your purchase.

Purchasable service calculated at 100% liability cost must be purchased in whole-year increments. A member who certifies and purchases only a partial year of credit has the option to certify and receive the balance of that year at a later time for no additional cost.

The cost for service credit is based on your salary multiplied by a factor that is based on your age and years of service credit.

Disability & Purchasing Credit

While receiving disability income from STRS Ohio, you may buy any purchasable service. Purchasing credit will not increase the disability benefit, but it will be used to calculate survivor benefits for a spouse or qualified beneficiary. It may also enhance any future service retirement benefits.

Types of Purchasable Credit

Below are the types of purchasable service. Click on the type of service to learn about eligibility, maximum credit and cost. Contact STRS Ohio by email or by phone (toll-free) at 888‑227‑7877 if you have any questions. Please note that email submissions on this site are unsecured, so only include your name, the last four digits of your Social Security number or STRS Ohio account number with your message.

Members who plan to purchase credit should review the Purchasing Service Credit brochure and talk to an STRS Ohio benefits counselor for further details on purchasing service credit, certification of credit and payment options.

Military Service in the U.S. Armed Forces: Regular & Interrupted

Regular Military Service in the U.S. Armed Forces

Section 3307.75 and 3307.751, R.C. including:

  • Regular active military service;
  • Full-time service with the American Red Cross in a combat zone; and
  • Prisoner-of-war periods within regular duty military service dates.

Armed forces include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or:

  • Auxiliary Corps established by Congress;
  • Army Nurse Corps, Navy Nurse Corps or Red Cross nurse serving with the Army, Navy, Air Force or hospital service of the United States of America;
  • Personnel of the Ohio National Guard, the Ohio Military Reserve and the Ohio Naval Militia; and
  • The reserve components of the armed forces listed above who are called to active duty.
Eligibility Requirements

Following is a list of the basic eligibility requirements:

  • Credit cannot be purchased if the regular military service is or will be used in any other retirement program, including a career military pension. Credit is purchasable even though a Social Security or military reserve retirement benefit is paid based on the same service. Military reserve retirement refers to retired pay for nonregular service under Chapter 67 of Title 10, United States Code.
  • Eligibility to purchase credit is evaluated by the retirement system — STRS Ohio, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) or School Employees Retirement System (SERS) — in which you plan to purchase the military service.
How Purchasable Credit is Determined

Purchasable credit for regular military service is determined on a 12-month basis per fiscal year. Total service credit cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year.

Maximum Credit

The maximum credit you can buy is:

  • Five years — Regular military service or American Red Cross service in a combat zone. This maximum includes Ohio National Guard and reserve military service.
  • Five years — Prisoner-of-war periods (can be concurrent service that is purchased as regular military service).

For each year of purchasable credit, you must have at least one year of service in STRS Ohio.

Certification

To obtain a certification form for regular military service in the U.S. armed forces, call STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

A copy of your DD-214 discharge papers or NA Form 13038 must be submitted with the certification form.

Cost

The cost for this type of purchasable service is based on 100% of the additional liability resulting from the purchase.

Interrupted Teaching Due to Military Service

Section 3307.752, R.C.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requires retirement plans to allow members to purchase credit for periods of employment missed due to being activated for military service. In many cases, STRS Ohio’s benefits provide for free credit for military service. Credit that does not qualify as free may be purchased as interrupted teaching due to military service.

This includes performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or one of the following:

  • Reserve components of military;
  • National Guard;
  • Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service;
  • Army Nurse Corps, Navy Nurse Corps or Red Cross nurse serving with the Army, Navy, Air Force or hospital service of the United States of America;
  • Full-time service with the American Red Cross in a combat zone; or
  • Any other category of persons designated by the president in time of war or emergency.

This service can consist of active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard duty or physical examination for fitness to perform such duty.

Eligibility Requirements

Following is a list of the basic eligibility requirements:

  • Less than a full year of service credit was earned in the STRS Ohio fiscal year (July 1–June 30) that was interrupted by the military service.
  • Normal STRS Ohio employment was interrupted by the military service.
  • You began military service within five months of leaving STRS Ohio-covered employment and returned to the same employer within three months of ending military service.
  • STRS Ohio membership was not withdrawn during the military absence.
  • You were honorably discharged or released.
How Purchasable Credit is Determined

Purchasable credit for interrupted teaching due to military service is determined on a 12-month basis per fiscal year. Total service credit cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year.

Maximum Credit

The maximum credit you can buy is five years.

Certification

To obtain a certification form for interrupted teaching due to military service, call STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

Submit this form to STRS Ohio along with military documentation that reflects the exact dates of service.

Once the certification form is submitted, STRS Ohio will contact the employer for earnings and verification of departure and return dates.

Free military credit — Up to 10 years of retirement credit are free if you entered regular military duty in the U.S. armed forces within five months of Ohio public teaching service and returned to Ohio public teaching service within two years of discharge (unless delayed one year by continuous professional training). One year of contributing service credit must be established following your return to Ohio public service, and an honorable discharge or transfer to inactive duty is necessary to qualify for free military credit.

Cost

Member pays contributions and interest (if applicable) on earnings he or she would have earned if not in military service. The interest rate is currently 8% and is subject to change.

  • No interest is charged if the purchase is completed within three times the length of the member’s period of military service (five years maximum). Time is calculated from the date of reemployment.
  • If purchase is completed after the interest-free period, interest is calculated from the date of reemployment or the effective date of Section 3307.752 R.C. (Oct. 29, 1996), whichever is later.
  • Payroll deduction is not available for this type of service credit.

Employer pays employer contributions (no interest).

Example:

Assume a member was employed during the 1994–95 school year at an annual salary of $20,000. He taught the first 45 days of school before he was activated for full-time service with the Ohio National Guard from Nov. 10, 1994, until March 27, 1995. The member then returned to his teaching position on April 1, 1995, and completed the last 41 days of the school year. The member earned .48 of a year of STRS Ohio service credit for the 86 days taught during the 1994–95 school year.

To estimate the cost to purchase .52 of a year of credit for interrupted teaching due to military service:

Step 1: Using the table below, find the STRS Ohio member contribution rate in effect during the 1994–95 school year and multiply it by $20,000.

$20,000 x 9.30% = $1,860

Member Contribution Rate and Salary Base
9/1/1920–8/31/1945 4.00% up to first $2,000
9/1/1945–8/31/1951 5.00% up to first $3,000
9/1/1951–8/31/1959 6.00% of total compensation
9/1/1959–6/30/1968 7.00% of total compensation
7/1/1968–12/31/1973 7.80% of total compensation
1/1/1974–6/30/1977 8.00% of total compensation
7/1/1977–12/31/1983 8.50% of total compensation
1/1/1984–6/30/1988 8.75% of total compensation
7/1/1988–6/30/1990 8.77% of total compensation
7/1/1990–6/30/1994 9.25% of total compensation
7/1/1994–6/30/2003 9.30% of total compensation
7/1/2003–6/30/2013 10.00% of total compensation
7/1/2013–6/30/2014 11.00% of total compensation
7/1/2014–6/30/2015 12.00% of total compensation
7/1/2015–6/30/2016 13.00% of total compensation
7/1/2016–6/30/2018 14.00% of total compensation

Step 2: Using the table below, find the 8% annual compound interest factor for 22 years (1996 until 2018) and multiply it by the answer from Step 1.

5.44 x $1,860 = $10,118

Annual Compound Interest Factors by Years
Years 8%
1 1.08
2 1.17
3 1.26
4 1.36
5 1.47
6 1.59
7 1.71
8 1.85
9 2.00
10 2.16
11 2.33
12 2.52
13 2.72
14 2.94
15 3.17
16 3.43
17 3.70
18 4.00
19 4.32
20 4.66
21 5.03
22 5.44
23 5.87
24 6.34
25 6.85
26 7.40
27 7.99
28 8.63
29 9.32
30 10.06
31 10.87
32 11.74
33 12.68
34 13.69
35 14.79
36 15.97

Step 3: Multiply the number of years of purchasable credit by the answer from Step 2.

.52 x $10,118 = $5,261

In this example, the cost to purchase .52 of a year of credit in October 2018 for interrupted teaching due to military service is approximately $5,261.

Ohio National Guard or Reserve Military Service

Section 3307.751 R.C. including:

  • Ohio Army National Guard;
  • Ohio Air National Guard; and
  • Reserve military service with the U.S. armed forces.

Armed services include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Eligibility Requirements

Total service credit cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year (July 1–June 30).

How Purchasable Credit is Determined

Purchasable credit for Ohio National Guard and reserve military service is determined by dividing the number of days of active duty by 365.

Maximum Credit

The maximum credit you can buy is five years. This includes regular military service and Ohio National Guard and reserve military service. For each year of purchasable credit, you must have at least one year of service in STRS Ohio.

Certification

To obtain a certification form for Ohio National Guard and reserve military service, call STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

Submit this form to STRS Ohio along with military documentation that reflects the actual dates of service or a summary of retirement points.

A copy of your DD-214 discharge papers or NA Form 13038 must be submitted with the certification form to certify regular full-time military service, such as basic training.

Cost

The cost for this type of purchasable service is based on 100% of the additional liability resulting from the purchase.

Teaching & Public Service

Section 3307.74, Revised Code

  • Teaching in a public school, college or university in another state, territory or possession of the United States.
  • Teaching or nonteaching service at a public college or university where the member was also a student at the same time if work was performed before July 1, 1978, or after July 1, 1978, if membership in either STRS Ohio or that school’s state retirement system was established before the service to be purchased.
  • Teaching in a private school, college or university in the United States.
  • Teaching in a school or entity operated primarily for U.S. citizens.
  • Other paid public service: service with a governmental agency or subdivision of another state or with the U.S. government.

Eligibility Requirements

Following is a list of the basic eligibility requirements:

  • You can buy credit for full-time or regular part-time employment. All service must span at least 12 consecutive weeks with the same employer.
  • No purchase can be made if the service:

    — Is being used in the calculation of any retirement benefit currently being paid or payable in the future, or has already been used in the payment of a retirement benefit, except Social Security, or

    — Is being used in the calculation of a retirement currently being paid or payable in the future under a retirement program or annuity (e.g., TIAA).

  • Public teaching service and other public service outside Ohio must be such that, if rendered in Ohio, it would have been covered by STRS Ohio, SERS, OPERS, Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, or the Highway Patrol Retirement System.
  • To purchase private teaching service, both the school and the position must qualify.
  • The school, college or university must:
    • Be recognized by an established accrediting association or governmental agency.
    • Have educational credits that are recognized by a public school, college or university in Ohio.
    • Be primarily oriented toward preparation for high school graduation, an advanced degree in higher education or an advanced certification in higher education. (Preschools, day care centers, community organizations, private schools oriented primarily to trades and occupations and self-improvement schools do not qualify.)
    • On a school level, the position must be matched by a position in a public school in Ohio during the time the service was performed.
    • On a college or university level, the position must have had faculty rank or status and the institution must have been accredited at the time the service was performed.

Maximum Credit

The maximum credit you can buy in STRS Ohio, OPERS and SERS is five years. You can purchase all five years under one category or a total of five years as a combination of those listed under Section 3307.74, R.C. and comparable provisions of law governing OPERS and SERS. For each year of purchasable credit, you must have at least one year of service in STRS Ohio.

Certification

  • Out-of-state /private teaching service — K–12.
  • Out-of-state/private teaching service at a college or university.
  • Out-of-state public, nonteaching or government service.

Cost

The cost for this type of purchasable service is based on 100% of the additional liability resulting from the purchase.

Other Ohio Public Service

Section 3307.76, R.C.

STRS Ohio has two certification forms for other Ohio public service:

Eligibility Requirements

Below is a list of the basic eligibility requirements:

  • You can purchase credit for service under the following Ohio retirement systems:
    • Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS)
    • School Employees Retirement System (SERS)
  • Provided:

    — Such service is not used in the calculation of any retirement benefit currently being paid or payable in the future, or has not already been used in the payment of a retirement benefit;

    — You have not contributed to OPERS or SERS for the service; and

    — You are not eligible to purchase credit for this service in those systems.

Maximum Credit

There is no limit to the amount of credit you can buy, except that total service credit cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year.

Certification

To obtain the following certification forms for other Ohio public service, call STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

  • SERS — for nonteaching service in a public school in Ohio.
  • OPERS — for other Ohio public service.

Cost

The cost for this type of purchasable service is based on 100% of the additional liability resulting from the purchase.

Absence Due to Pregnancy or Adoption

Section 3307.771, R.C.

You may purchase STRS Ohio service credit for either a resignation due to pregnancy or adoption of a child, or a leave of absence due to pregnancy or adoption of a child, that began before July 1, 1982.

Eligibility Requirements

Below is a list of the basic eligibility requirements:

  • The resignation or leave must have begun before July 1, 1982, and you must have been regularly employed in an STRS Ohio-covered position at the time.
  • You were pregnant or in the process of adopting a child at the time the resignation or leave began.
  • The leave or resignation was from an STRS Ohio employer, not from an out-of-state employer.

Maximum Credit

The total service credit purchased under this section, and all other previous open window periods for purchasing absences and resignations due to pregnancy, may not exceed a combined total of two years.

Certification

To obtain a certification form for this service, contact STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

Cost

The cost for this type of purchasable service is based on 100% of the additional liability resulting from the purchase.

Restoration or Transfer of Earned Service Credit to STRS Ohio from Other Ohio Retirement Systems

Section 3307.761 and 3307.763, R.C.

STRS Ohio members who are members of the Cincinnati Retirement System, Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, or Highway Patrol Retirement System may restore or transfer credit from the other systems to STRS Ohio.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You are a member of another Ohio retirement system and STRS Ohio and:

    — You are not receiving a pension or other type of benefit from one of these systems; and

    — You are not currently contributing to another Ohio retirement system and have accumulated contributions in STRS Ohio; or

  • You are a former member of another Ohio retirement system, have withdrawn contributions from that system and have at least 1.50 years of contributing service in STRS Ohio.
  • To transfer or restore service credit from the Cincinnati Retirement System:

    — You must have more service credit with STRS Ohio; and

    — You must be eligible for a service retirement or disability benefit with the transferred or restored service credit; and

    — You must retire within 90 days of when the transfer or restoration is complete.

Maximum Credit

The maximum credit you can buy is the total earned credit and purchased military credit that was withdrawn and can be used to increase your benefit. Total service credit cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year.

Certification

Call STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877 or send an email to [email protected] to request a cost statement. Upon request, a certification form will be mailed to you for purchasing STRS Ohio credit for service withdrawn from another Ohio retirement system, or to transfer inactive service.

Since information must be obtained from another retirement system, please allow eight weeks to receive a cost statement.

Cost

If you have not withdrawn your account, there is no cost to you in the event of a transfer. You may elect to have the credit transferred directly from the other Ohio retirement system to STRS Ohio. Once the contributions and interest are transferred, the credit will be posted to your account. For more information about transferring your account, call STRS Ohio.

If the account was refunded, the cost to restore is based on the amount refunded by the other Ohio retirement system, plus 8%* annual compound interest (subject to change) from the date of the refund through the month of purchase.

Example:

Assume a member withdrew 6.00 years of credit from another Ohio retirement system on March 23, 2002, receiving a refund payment of $14,574.

To estimate the cost to purchase 6.00 years of credit withdrawn from the other Ohio retirement system:

Using the table below, find the 8% annual compound interest factor for 16 years (2002 until 2018) and multiply it by $14,574.

3.43 x $14,574 = $49,989

Annual Compound Interest Factors by Years
Years 8%
1 1.08
2 1.17
3 1.26
4 1.36
5 1.47
6 1.59
7 1.71
8 1.85
9 2.00
10 2.16
11 2.33
12 2.52
13 2.72
14 2.94
15 3.17
16 3.43
17 3.70
18 4.00
19 4.32
20 4.66
21 5.03
22 5.44
23 5.87
24 6.34
25 6.85
26 7.40
27 7.99
28 8.63
29 9.32
30 10.06
31 10.87
32 11.74
33 12.68
34 13.69
35 14.79
36 15.97

In this example, the cost to purchase 6.00 years of withdrawn credit from the other Ohio retirement system in February 2018 is approximately $49,989.

Current & Past Leaves of Absence

Section 3307.77, R.C.

This section outlines the requirements for STRS Ohio members to obtain Ohio-valued credit for:

  • A current absence or leave (occurring within the same year of leave) by completing deposits directly with the employer within the same year the absence or leave occurred, and
  • A past absence or leave by completing deposits, plus interest, directly with STRS Ohio.

Completing deposits on a current or past leave may provide:

  • Up to a full year of service credit for the school year, and
  • The use of the full salary that would have been earned had the absence or leave not occurred for final average salary calculations.

Eligibility Requirements

Below is a list of the basic eligibility requirements:

  • The absence or leave must be from an STRS Ohio employer, not an out-of-state employer.
  • You must be under contract during the period of absence or leave.
  • A nonpaid professional leave of absence from a university, community college, technical college or institute must comply with the specific procedural requirements.

Maximum Credit

The maximum purchasable credit is two years for each period of absence or leave.

Type of Absence or Leaves of Absence

Board of Education Employer:

  • Absence for a nonteaching period due to personal illness or injury.
  • Partially paid professional leave (Section 3319.131, R.C.).
  • A leave for any reason approved by the board of education (Section 3319.13, R.C.).

University Employer:

  • Absence for a nonteaching period due to personal illness or injury.
  • Partially paid professional leave (Section 3345.28, R.C.).

    Notification Form 3345.28 must be completed by all college or university faculty who are granted a sabbatical leave. See your employer to obtain and complete this form before the leave.

    If you were previously granted a partially paid leave of absence, please review your STRS Ohio Annual Statement of Account to determine if a full year of service credit was reported in error. If so, contact us immediately to correct the service credit. Information will be provided to complete full contributions.

Completing Deposits on a Current Absence or Leave

If a member changes employers, the employer responsible for determining the amount of contributions owed to STRS Ohio for the leave is the employer who granted the absence or leave.

A member can complete deposits directly with his or her employer within the year in which the absence or leave occurs.

Payment must be received by STRS Ohio no later than June 30 of the same fiscal year in which the leave occurred.

Cost for Current Absence or Leave

The cost is based on the annual compensation that would have been received had the member remained in the position, multiplied by the STRS Ohio member contribution rate in effect at the time the absence or leave occurred. This is the same amount the member would have contributed to STRS Ohio had he or she actually been employed during that period.

The employer who granted the leave is required to pay employer contributions on the annual compensation used in determining the member’s cost.

Purchasing a Past Absence or Leave

A member may purchase a past absence or leave by completing deposits, plus interest, directly with STRS Ohio.

An absence or leave of absence is considered “past” if payment is received after June 30 of the year in which the absence or leave ended.

The member pays directly to STRS Ohio the member contribution, plus interest on both member and employer payments. Leave of absence credit can only be purchased in a lump sum. Payroll deduction is not permitted.

The employer at the time of the absence, or the employer who grants the leave, is required to pay employer contributions on the base annual compensation used in determining the member’s cost.

Certification for Past Absence or Leave

To obtain a certification form for a past absence or leave, contact STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

Cost for Past Absence or Leave

The cost is determined by:

  • Multiplying the annual compensation for the last year of service before the absence or leave by the member contribution rate in effect at the time the absence or leave began,
  • Adding interest on both member and employer payments. Interest at 8% (subject to change) is compounded annually beginning with the year following the year in which the absence or leave terminated and ending the last day of the month in which payment is made.

Example:

Assume a member earned $22,000 and 1.00 year of STRS Ohio credit for teaching service during the 1999–2000 school year, then took a leave of absence during the 2000–01 school year. The member returned to full-time STRS Ohio-covered teaching service on Aug. 27, 2001.

To estimate the cost to purchase 1.00 year of credit for a leave of absence:

Step 1: Using the table below, find the STRS Ohio member contribution rate in effect at the beginning of the 2000–01 school year and multiply it by $22,000.

$22,000 x 9.30% = $2,046

Member Contribution Rate & Salary Base
9/1/1920–8/31/1945 4.00% up to first $2,000
9/1/1945–8/31/1951 5.00% up to first $3,000
9/1/1951–8/31/1959 6.00% of total compensation
9/1/1959–6/30/1968 7.00% of total compensation
7/1/1968–12/31/1973 7.80% of total compensation
1/1/1974–6/30/1977 8.00% of total compensation
7/1/1977–12/31/1983 8.50% of total compensation
1/1/1984–6/30/1988 8.75% of total compensation
7/1/1988–6/30/1990 8.77% of total compensation
7/1/1990–6/30/1994 9.25% of total compensation
7/1/1994–6/30/2003 9.30% of total compensation
7/1/2003–6/30/2013 10.00% of total compensation
7/1/2013–6/30/2014 11.00% of total compensation
7/1/2014–6/30/2015 12.00% of total compensation
7/1/2015–6/30/2016 13.00% of total compensation
7/1/2016–6/30/2018 14.00% of total compensation

Step 2: Using the table below, find the 8% annual compound interest factor for 17 years (2001 until 2018) and multiply it by the answer from Step 1.

3.70 x $2,046 = $7,570

Annual Compound Interest Factors by Years
Years 8%
1 1.08
2 1.17
3 1.26
4 1.36
5 1.47
6 1.59
7 1.71
8 1.85
9 2.00
10 2.16
11 2.33
12 2.52
13 2.72
14 2.94
15 3.17
16 3.43
17 3.70
18 4.00
19 4.32
20 4.66
21 5.03
22 5.44
23 5.87
24 6.34
25 6.85
26 7.40
27 7.99
28 8.63
29 9.32
30 10.06
31 10.87
32 11.74
33 12.68
34 13.69
35 14.79
36 15.97

Step 3: Using the table below, find the STRS Ohio employer contribution rate in effect at the beginning of the 2000–01 school year and multiply it by $22,000.

$22,000 x 14% = $3,080

(This is the employer’s cost.)

Employer Contribution Rate & Salary Base
9/1/1920–8/31/1923 5.57% up to first $2,000
9/1/1923–8/31/1924 4.70% up to first $2,000
9/1/1924–8/31/1926 3.70% up to first $2,000
9/1/1926–8/31/1927 3.60% up to first $2,000
9/1/1927–8/31/1930 3.57% up to first $2,000
9/1/1930–8/31/1938 3.45% up to first $2,000
9/1/1938–8/31/1939 3.82% up to first $2,000
9/1/1939–8/31/1941 4.44% up to first $2,000
9/1/1941–8/31/1945 4.00% up to first $2,000
9/1/1945–8/31/1946 5.00% up to first $3,000
9/1/1946–8/31/1947 4.75% up to first $3,000
9/1/1947–8/31/1948 5.75% up to first $3,000
9/1/1948–8/31/1949 7.50% up to first $3,000
9/1/1949–8/31/1951 7.25% up to first $3,000
9/1/1951–8/31/1952 8.50%
9/1/1952–8/31/1955 8.00%
9/1/1955–8/31/1958 9.25%
9/1/1958–8/31/1959 9.33%
9/1/1959–8/31/1964 10.41% up to first $18,000
9/1/1964–8/31/1965 11.00% up to first $18,000
9/1/1965–12/31/1965 11.00% up to first $25,000
1/1/1966–7/1/1968 11.50% up to first $25,000
7/2/1968–8/31/1969 11.50%
9/1/1969–12/31/1973 12.90%
1/1/1974–6/30/1977 12.55%
7/1/1977–12/31/1983 13.50%
1/1/1984–Present 14.00%

Step 4: Using the Annual Compound Interest Factors by Years table above, find the 8% annual compound interest factor for 17 years (2001 until 2018) and multiply it by the answer from Step 3.

3.70 x $3,080 = $11,396

Step 5: Subtract the employer contributions (calculated in Step 3) from the number calculated in Step 4.

$11,396 – $3,080 = $8,316

Step 6: Add the answer from Step 2 to the answer from Step 5.

$7,570 + $8,316 = $15,886

In this example, the member cost to purchase 1.00 year of credit in June 2018 for a leave of absence is approximately $15,886.

College or University — Nonpaid Professional Leave of Absence

Section 3307.77, R.C.

A member employed by a university, community college, technical college or institute may, with State Teachers Retirement Board approval, complete retirement contributions and secure retirement credit for nonpaid periods of absence, other than for personal illness or injury, by complying with the requirements below.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must have an annual contract for service covered by STRS Ohio during the year of absence.
  • A leave of absence must have been granted by the employer for the purpose of accepting an assignment related to a member’s professional duties, responsibilities or activities that are expected to improve the service rendered upon return to employment. Leaves will not be recognized for a period greater than a total of two fiscal years for each period of leave.
  • Approval by the employer for the payment of the employer cost without reimbursement from the member.
  • Contributing service covered by STRS Ohio, OPERS or SERS must resume no later than 12 months following termination of the leave.
  • Retirement Board approval for the member to make retirement contributions covering the period of absence.

The administrative and procedural requirements to establish retirement credit are officially governed by Administrative Code Rule 3307:1-3-05.

To establish full retirement credit for the leave period, contributions are required on the full salary that would have been earned if the leave had not occurred. Contributions are not permitted in excess of that salary.

Procedural Requirements

Following the termination of the leave, the member must file a completed certification form with the Retirement Board that will include the following information:

  • A statement showing the nature and purpose of the assignment during such absence.
  • A written request by the member to the Retirement Board for approval of payment of member contributions.
  • Certifications from the member’s employer which provide:

    — Member’s annual contract salary in effect for each year or part of year (July 1 through June 30) in which there was such absence.

    — Official action of the employer granting the leave, stating the beginning date and the termination date.

    — Official action of the employer approving the payment of the employer cost without reimbursement.

    — Statement by the employer indicating the date the member returned to contributing service after the termination of the leave.

If the member’s request to complete contributions is approved by the Retirement Board, payment by the member must be made within 60 days of written notification.

To request the certification form for a nonpaid professional leave of absence from a college or university, contact STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

Cost

If payment is received by STRS Ohio no later than June 30 of the year in which the absence or leave ended, the member shall pay the difference between the contributions deducted from salary payments during the leave period, if any, and the contributions due based on the contract salary.

If payment is received by STRS Ohio after June 30 of the year in which the absence or leave ended, the member shall pay the sum of the following for each year of credit purchased:

  • An amount determined by multiplying the employee rate of contribution in effect at the time the leave commenced by the contract salary the member would have received for the leave less salary payments made during the leave period, if any.
  • Adding interest on both member and employer payments. Interest at 8% (subject to change) is compounded annually beginning with the year following the year in which the absence or leave terminated and ending the last day of the month of purchase.

The employer who granted the leave is required to pay employer contributions on the annual compensation used in determining the member’s cost.

Restoration of Withdrawn Ohio Service Credit

Section 3307.71, R.C.

Request for Restoration of OPERS or SERS Credit in STRS Ohio Through Payroll Deduction

Eligibility Requirements

You can restore withdrawn Ohio service credit after accumulating at least 1.50 years of Ohio contributing service in any of the following Ohio retirement systems after the date of withdrawal:

  • State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS Ohio)
  • Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS)
  • School Employees Retirement System (SERS)
  • Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund
  • Highway Patrol Retirement System

If you are not a member of STRS Ohio and are eligible to purchase this service with the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund or the Highway Patrol Retirement System, you must purchase the service with that system.

Withdrawn Ohio service credit in a Defined Contribution Plan or Combined Plan is not eligible to be restored.

Maximum Credit

The maximum credit you can buy is the total withdrawn credit.

Certification

No certification is necessary for withdrawn Ohio credit. Contact us directly by calling toll-free 888‑227‑7877 or email us at [email protected] to request a cost statement. Please note that email submissions on this site are unsecured, so only include your name, the last four digits of your Social Security number or STRS Ohio account number with your message.

Cost

The cost is the amount withdrawn plus 8% annual compound interest (subject to change) from the date of withdrawal through the month of purchase.

Example:

Assume a member withdrew 7.00 years of service credit from STRS Ohio on Aug. 15, 1995, receiving a refund payment of $17,400.

To estimate the cost to restore 7.00 years of withdrawn STRS Ohio credit:

Using the table below, find the 8% annual compound interest factor for 23 years (1995 until 2018) and multiply it by $17,400.

5.87 x $17,400 = $102,138

Annual Compound Interest Factors by Years
Years 8%
1 1.08
2 1.17
3 1.26
4 1.36
5 1.47
6 1.59
7 1.71
8 1.85
9 2.00
10 2.16
11 2.33
12 2.52
13 2.72
14 2.94
15 3.17
16 3.43
17 3.70
18 4.00
19 4.32
20 4.66
21 5.03
22 5.44
23 5.87
24 6.34
25 6.85
26 7.40
27 7.99
28 8.63
29 9.32
30 10.06
31 10.87
32 11.74
33 12.68
34 13.69
35 14.79
36 15.97

In this example, the cost to restore 7.00 years of withdrawn STRS Ohio credit in July 2018 is approximately $102,138.

Withdrawn Service in OPERS or SERS

If you have withdrawn service from OPERS or SERS, contact those systems directly for restoration requirements and costs:

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System 277 E. Town St. Columbus, Ohio 43215-4642 Telephone: 800‑222‑7377
School Employees Retirement System 300 E. Broad St., Suite 100 Columbus, Ohio 43215-3746 Telephone: 866‑280‑7377

You may restore withdrawn OPERS or SERS credit through an STRS Ohio payroll deduction plan if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You are a former member of OPERS or SERS or you are inactive in those systems;
  • You have at least 18 months of service credit in one or more of the Ohio public retirement systems; and
  • You are currently contributing to STRS Ohio.

You can obtain more information concerning payroll deduction by calling STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

When retirement benefits are paid, the accounts in STRS Ohio, OPERS and SERS can be combined. The benefit will be paid by the system in which the member has the greatest service credit. Total service credit cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year.

Withdrawn Service in Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, Highway Patrol Retirement System or Cincinnati Retirement System

If you have withdrawn service from the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, the Highway Patrol Retirement System or Cincinnati Retirement System, please refer to the Restoration or Transfer of Service Credit to STRS Ohio from Other Ohio Retirement Systems section regarding how to purchase STRS Ohio credit for this service.

Ohio Noncontributing Public Teaching Service

Section 3307.72, R.C.

You may be eligible to purchase credit for days of regular or substitute teaching in Ohio public schools, universities and colleges.

Eligibility Requirements

The following is a list of the basic eligibility requirements:

  • You must have service credit with STRS Ohio.
  • Employer certification is required.
  • There are no contributions on account for the service in any Ohio public retirement system.
  • Service after July 1, 1978, as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) in Ohio is purchasable only if STRS Ohio membership was established before the date the GTA service began.

Public University and College Employees

Employees of Ohio’s public colleges and universities who elect to participate in an alternative retirement plan are prohibited from claiming or purchasing service credit under any Ohio public retirement system for the periods the alternative retirement plan was in effect.

Maximum Credit

There is no limit to the amount of credit you can buy, except that total service credit cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year. Service is limited to .34 of a year for each full year of GTA service.

Certification

To request a certification form for Ohio noncontributing public teaching service, contact STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

Cost

The cost is determined by:

  • Multiplying the actual compensation for the service by the STRS Ohio contribution rate in effect at that time; then
  • Multiplying by 8% annual compound interest (subject to change) from the beginning of the STRS Ohio fiscal year following the service to be purchased through the month of purchase.

There is no cost to the employer when you purchase credit for noncontributing employment that occurred before July 1, 1978. The employer will be billed for employer contributions and interest if you purchase service credit that began on or after July 1, 1978.

Example:

Assume a member earned $950 for 23 days of substitute teaching during the 1994–95 school year and no contributions were made to STRS Ohio.

To estimate the cost to purchase credit in this example for noncontributing Ohio public teaching service:

Step 1: Using the table below, find the STRS Ohio member contribution rate in effect during the 1994–95 school year and multiply it by $950.

$950 x 9.30% = $88

Member Contribution Rate & Salary Base
9/1/1920–8/31/1945 4.00% up to first $2,000
9/1/1945–8/31/1951 5.00% up to first $3,000
9/1/1951–8/31/1959 6.00% of total compensation
9/1/1959–6/30/1968 7.00% of total compensation
7/1/1968–12/31/1973 7.80% of total compensation
1/1/1974–6/30/1977 8.00% of total compensation
7/1/1977–12/31/1983 8.50% of total compensation
1/1/1984–6/30/1988 8.75% of total compensation
7/1/1988–6/30/1990 8.77% of total compensation
7/1/1990–6/30/1994 9.25% of total compensation
7/1/1994–6/30/2003 9.30% of total compensation
7/1/2003–6/30/2013 10.00% of total compensation
7/1/2013–6/30/2014 11.00% of total compensation
7/1/2014–6/30/2015 12.00% of total compensation
7/1/2015–6/30/2016 13.00% of total compensation
7/1/2016–6/30/2018 14.00% of total compensation

Step 2: Using the table below find the 8% annual compound interest factor for 23 years (1995 until 2018) and multiply it by the answer from Step 1.

5.87 x $88 = $517

Annual Compound Interest Factors by Years
Years 8%
1 1.08
2 1.17
3 1.26
4 1.36
5 1.47
6 1.59
7 1.71
8 1.85
9 2.00
10 2.16
11 2.33
12 2.52
13 2.72
14 2.94
15 3.17
16 3.43
17 3.70
18 4.00
19 4.32
20 4.66
21 5.03
22 5.44
23 5.87
24 6.34
25 6.85
26 7.40
27 7.99
28 8.63
29 9.32
30 10.06
31 10.87
32 11.74
33 12.68
34 13.69
35 14.79
36 15.97

Step 3: Divide the number of days of service by 180 to determine the amount of credit eligible for purchase.

23 ÷ 180 = .13

In this example, the first part of the cost (member portion) to purchase .13 of a year of credit for noncontributing Ohio public teaching service in June 2018 is approximately $517.

Previously Exempted or Waived Ohio Public Service

Section 3307.73, R.C.

You may be eligible to purchase previously exempted or waived membership for other Ohio public service and/or Ohio noncontributing public teaching service.

Eligibility Requirements

The following is a list of basic eligibility requirements:

  • You must be a member of STRS Ohio with at least 1.50 years of contributing service in STRS Ohio, OPERS or SERS.
  • STRS Ohio members who are also members of OPERS or SERS must purchase credit for previously exempted or waived Ohio public service from the system in which the member has the greatest number of years of service credit.

Maximum Credit

There is no limit to the amount of credit you can buy, except that total service credit cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year.

Certification

To obtain the following certification forms, contact STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

  • OPERS — for other previously exempted or waived Ohio public service.
  • SERS — for previously exempted or waived nonteaching service in a public school in Ohio.
  • For previously exempted or waived noncontributing public teaching service in Ohio.

Cost

The cost for this type of purchasable service is based on 100% of the additional liability resulting from the purchase.

Service as an Ohio Public School Board Member

Section 3307.78, R.C.

Eligibility Requirements

Credit of one-quarter year can be purchased for each year of service as a school board member. Service must occur between Sept.1, 1920, and July 1, 1991. Beginning July 1, 1991, school board members are required to contribute to either SERS or Social Security.

Certification

A letter from the school district which states the dates of service as a school board member is required.

Cost

The cost for this type of purchasable service is based on 100% of the additional liability resulting from the purchase.

Exclusions

Credit cannot be purchased if the member has already contributed to SERS or Social Security on this service. Total service credit in OPERS, SERS and STRS Ohio cannot exceed one year in any STRS Ohio fiscal year.