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How Do I…

Get Credit for Previous Public Service?


If you have performed active government service, you may be eligible to establish this service credit. Prior service falls into three categories:

Buyback Refunded TMRS Service

If your membership in TMRS is terminated for any reason, any prior service you have established becomes void. Prior service can only be used for vesting and retirement purposes.


If you previously worked for a TMRS city and left your account intact, do nothing. Your account automatically reflects the service of all TMRS cities for which you have nonrefunded service.

If you refunded your service with a previous TMRS city, you may be eligible to buy back your service. Advantages:

  • You increase your service for vesting and retirement purposes by the number of months you buy back.
  • You increase the amount in your account by the refunded amount (plus a 5% reinstatement fee); this increases your account value, and the reinstated money will be matched by the city when you retire.

To be eligible, you must have at least 24 consecutive months of service and you must be an employee of the city at the time the city adopts the buyback. Upon adoption of ordinance, TMRS issues letters and applications to employees who qualify.

To make a buyback:

  • This option must be adopted by your current employing city (see 2).
  • You must have previously refunded service credit.
  • You must redeposit the amount previously withdrawn plus a 5% per year withdrawal fee.
  • Buyback must be made with a single payment. It may be purchased by a rollover from a qualified plan (see 3).
  • You must complete the application and submit it to TMRS.

Restricted Prior Service Credit

Establishing Restricted Prior Service Credit helps you reach vesting and retirement eligibility sooner. Only your service TIME is counted under RPSC. You do not receive any monetary credit (no buyback is involved).

To be eligible to get Restricted Prior Service Credit, your city must offer this option (See 2). RSPC may be established if you have previous full-time employment with any of these entities:

  • A public authority or agency created by the U.S. government
  • A U.S. state or territorial government
  • Any political subdivision of any state
  • Any public agency or authority created by a state or territory of the U.S.
  • Any law enforcement entity that employed you as a college campus security employee at a Texas institution of higher education
  • Any of the Statewide Proportionate Retirement Systems (See 1) in which you have refunded your account

To apply for RSPC, complete an Application for Restricted Prior Service Credit (TMRS-35R) .

  • Fill out the Member Information and Member Certification sections completely.
  • Your correct, full mailing address is important, and your signature in longhand is required.
  • The social security number must be legible and match that on file for you.
  • Have your former employer certify the middle portion (or attach a DD214 for military service credit).
  • Have your employing city certify the bottom portion of the form.
  • You must not have received credit for the same service in another statewide retirement system
  • Send or fax (not both) the form and accompanying documents to TMRS.

What Happens Next?

  • After we receive your form, we verify the information is correct.
  • We update your member account to add the additional service. This will change your total credited service.
  • We send you a letter confirming the credit has been added to your records. You will see this reflected on your Annual Statement and it will factor into your total time for vesting and retirement purposes.

Proportionate Retirement

This program allows you to combine service credit in two systems to meet retirement eligibility. If you previously worked for one of the Statewide Proportionate Retirement Systems (see 1) and left your account intact, you need do nothing. You are building two separate retirements with the two systems. The proportionate “sharing” comes in when counting time. If you have one year with TRS and two with TMRS, you have accrued three years toward both retirements.

Each participating System has its own procedures for administering retirement benefits. Contact each System for information about each retirement.

Proportionate Buyback

If you are currently a member of TMRS and you refunded your service with another participating system, you may be eligible to buy back your service. Advantages to making a proportionate buyback are:

  • You increase your service for vesting and retirement purposes by the number of months you buy back.
  • You effectively create a separate retirement account; this account will grow according to the specific system’s rules.

If you are a member of a proportionate system other than TMRS, and have previously refunded service credit in TMRS, you may establish credit for your TMRS time by notifying us of your intention to establish this credit. Service credit in TMRS established using Proportionate Buyback has no monetary value and counts only as time and cannot be used for vested death benefits. Download the TMRS Proportionate Buyback Application.

1

Statewide Retirement Systems

TMRS
Teacher Retirement System of Texas
Employees Retirement System of Texas
Judicial Retirement System of Texas (Plan 1 or 2)
Texas County & District Retirement System
City of Austin Employees Retirement System
2
For information about your city’s plan, go to www.tmrs.com, click on City Plan Provisions, and choose your city from the pulldown menu.
3
Federal tax law allows you to use money from some deferred compensation plans and IRAs to purchase service credit. Contact TMRS if you are interested in using this option to purchase service credit.