Purchasing Creditable Service

General Rules

  • Although creditable service may be purchased for prior membership or qualifying non-membership service, membership rights applicable to prior periods cannot be purchased.
  • All requests for service purchase must be approved by the Hampshire County Retirement Board.
  • All service purchases must be completed prior to any effective retirement date.
  • No service purchase will be approved without adequate and acceptable documentation verifying prior service.  The Hampshire County Retirement Board retains full jurisdiction in determining acceptable documentation.  (Personal affidavits based on the memory of individuals is not adequate or acceptable documentation)
  • Creditable Service shall be calculated and granted based on regulations and rules applicable at time of purchase, not at time of service.  Although creditable service may be purchased, membership rights applicable to prior periods cannot be purchased.
  • Creditable Service shall not be granted unless and until make-up payments are received in full.
  • Purchases not completed within 1 year of approval must be resubmitted and are subject to recalculation of creditable service based on HCRS rules applicable at time of purchase.
  • All service purchases must be approved and paid as lump sum payment prior to any retirement date.

Purchase of Prior Membership Service (Re-deposit of withdrawal of member contributions)

  • Members who had prior membership service with HCRS or with another retirement system covered by MGL c.32, for which the member terminated membership by taking a refund of contributions, may purchase prior membership service by making application to the Retirement Board.
  • Members whose prior service was with HCRS will be granted creditable service based on rules and regulations applicable at the time of re-purchase.
  • Members whose prior service was in another retirement system will be granted creditable service based upon approval and liability acceptance of former retirement system for whom service was provided.
  • Former Members who terminated membership by taking a refund of contributions and who are now members of another retirement system covered by MGL c.32,  will be allowed to re-purchase prior membership service through their current retirement system.  Creditable service will be granted based on HCRS rules applicable at time of re-purchase.
  • The Hampshire County Retirement Board retains full jurisdiction for determining the eligibility and amount of creditable service to be granted for all service purchases.

Purchase of Non-Membership Service (Make-up of prior service as non-member)

  • Purchase of non-membership service is limited to current members  and former members of HCRS.  Members of other retirement systems covered by MGL c. 32, who never became members of HCRS,  will not be allowed to purchase non-membership service.
  • Purchase of non-membership service for which service was rendered to employer not covered by HCRS will only be eligible for purchase based upon the approval and acceptance of retirement board of employer under which service was rendered.  HCRS will not accept liability for service rendered to non-HCRS employers.
  • Purchase of non-membership service will not be allowed without acceptable documentation of service and compensation paid.  It shall be the sole responsibility of the member to obtain, and provide to the Board, verification of this past service rendered, including but not limited to payroll records indicating the amount of compensation received and amount of hours worked.  In the event that any or all of such original documentation is unavailable, the Board may exercise its discretion pursuant to M.G.L. c. 32, § 20(5)(c)(1), on a case by case basis, to accept alternative documentation to verify said service and compensation.   The Board shall retain full jurisdiction relative to what constitutes acceptable documentation.
  • Creditable service shall be granted based on rules applicable at the time of purchase and veracity of documentation provided. The Board shall retain full jurisdiction relative to the amount of creditable service to be granted for non-membership service.
  • Non-membership service for which the employer paid contributions to Social Security or made contributions to another qualified retirement plan is not eligible for purchase.  Allowing such purchase would require the employer to fund two retirements for the same period of employment.  If, however, the employee had contributed to an OBRA plan and the employer did not make any contributions to it or another retirement plan, purchase of such non-membership service may be allowed subject to other rules relative to purchase of such service.
  • Seasonal, Intermittent, Per Diem, Substitute, Fee-based, and services performed as a student are not eligible for purchase.    Service performed as an independent contractor or as an employee of another organization or business are not eligible for purchase.
  • Service provided as Contract Employee, Independent Contractor and other Professional Service Provider is not eligible for purchase.
  • Service for which an employee was compensated less than $5,000 is not eligible for purchase.

Purchase of Military Service

  • In accordance with C.32 § 4(h)(4)  Application for Purchase of Military Service must be made within 180 days of receipt of Notification of Eligibility.   Failure to make application within 180 days of notification of eligibility or failure to provide documentation of Military Service may result in loss of benefit.
  • Military Service for the same period of time during which credit has already been granted under c. 32 § 4(h)(1) cannot be purchased.
  • Creditable service shall not granted for more than four years of Military Service
  • Purchase of Military Service must be made as a lump-sum payment.  Creditable Service shall not be granted unless and until makeup payments have been made for each year of creditable service sought in the amount equal to the ten percent of the regular annual compensation of the member when said member entered or re-entered the retirement system.