PERF Hybrid Plan Member Handbook: Service and Leaves of Absence

Creditable Service

Service credit is earned in monthly increments. One month of service credit will be awarded for each month that you work at least one day and contributions are made.

You receive service credit for each period of continuous employment in a covered position. You may also be entitled to service credit during military service and certain types of leave. More information is available in the Military Service section.

A school corporation employee who works the full school term or contract period receives credit for one year of service. Otherwise, service credit for school corporation employees is granted for actual time worked.

If you have past service as an employee of the state or participating political subdivision in a position not covered by the retirement fund, you may receive credit for this service. You must have worked before Jan. 1, 1985 in PERF or TRF and the position became covered prior to Jan. 1, 1985. You will need to submit proof of this service to INPRS.

If you have past service in a position not covered by the retirement fund, you may receive credit for this service if the position was covered after Dec. 31, 1984 by PERF or TRF and you were employed in the position prior to Jan. 1, 1985. You would need to remain in that position or another position with the same employer at least until the position became covered. You will need to submit proof of this service to INPRS. For more information, see IC 5-10.2-3-1.

TEACHING SERVICE

If you have service credit in both PERF and TRF, you will need to choose the fund you will retire from. You receive a single, combined benefit from the fund you choose to retire from. Your retirement benefit will be calculated based on your combined creditable service from the two funds. If you have overlapping service, you cannot receive service credit in both plans at the same time.

For example: Tom serves as a school teacher during the day in a TRF-covered position. He drives a snow plow at night in a PERF-covered position. Tom has accounts with both TRF and PERF. Even though he is a member of both funds, at retirement his service is merged so that he only gets one day of service credit for the concurrent service in PERF and TRF.

OTHER CONCURRENT SERVICE

If you serve in a position covered by another governmental plan, you cannot participate in PERF while you are serving in the other position.

For example: Lindsay is a firefighter in a '77 Fund-covered position for Carmel. She’s also a council member for Fishers. Due to her membership in the '77 Fund, she is excluded from membership in PERF.

If you retire from or leave another governmental plan, and then work in a PERF-covered position, you can participate in PERF.

MILITARY SERVICE

If you served in the U.S. Armed Services, you qualify for PERF service credit that equals your actual military service.  The following conditions apply. You:

  • were in a PERF-covered position prior to entering the military,
  • left a PERF-covered position for active duty in the U.S. Armed Services,
  • did not withdraw your DC, and
  • left military service and returned to the same employer in a PERF-covered position within 120 days after receiving an honorable discharge.

You may also qualify for service credit if the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA) covers your military service. The following conditions for USERRA apply. You:

  • have applied for or currently hold a civilian job,
  • gave written or verbal notice to the civilian employer before leaving the job for military training or service except when military necessity didn’t allow it,
  • didn’t exceed the five-year cumulative limit on periods of service, subject to certain exceptions,
  • weren’t released from service under dishonorable conditions, and
  • reported back to the civilian job in a timely manner or submitted a timely application for re-employment.

HEART Act

The Heroes Earning Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (HEART) provides a survivor benefit for a member who dies while performing qualified military service.

Purchasing Additional Service Credit

You must be a PERF member working in a covered position to purchase service.

You may buy more service credit if you worked in a similar position(s) in another state, for a quasi-state agency before it was PERF-covered or have prior military service. You may also buy service if you are vested in PERF and/or TRF. All service is purchased in one month increments. The cost of additional service is calculated based on your age, years of service, and salary. Minimum service requirements may apply. If you end service and withdraw your DC before vesting, the cost of the additional service plus interest will be returned to you. If you end service and re-employ in a PERF- or TRF-covered position later, you can buy the service again at the updated cost. Download this form here.

For example, if you buy one year of service credit you will end up with 11 years of service when you complete your tenth year in the Hybrid plan.

PURCHASING “AIR TIME” SERVICE CREDIT

Once vested, you can buy an additional one year of service credit for every five years of actual earned service. For example, if you have 15 years of service, you could buy an additional three years of credit. Your retirement benefit would be calculated using a total of 18 years. This service cost depends upon your age, years of service, and salary. You can pay for the service in a lump sum or annual payments over five years. Download this form here.

PURCHASING OUT-OF-STATE SERVICE CREDIT

You can buy out-of-state service credit with PERF if you:

  • have at least one year of service in a PERF-covered position,
  • have prior service in another state in a similar position that would be creditable service if you had been in Indiana, and
  • no longer qualify to use those years to claim a retirement from any other retirement system.

Download this form here.

PURCHASING MILITARY SERVICE CREDIT

If you are an active PERF member who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, you may buy up to two years of military service credit at actuarial cost. This is added to any other military service credit that is granted by law. Download this form here.

You can buy service after you have been in the fund for one year. To determine the cost of buying this military service, call PERF at (844) GO-INPRS. Or, log in to your online account and use the service credit purchase calculator.

If you purchase service, it cannot be used for vesting. You need 10 years of actual PERF-covered service to qualify to retire and receive a retirement benefit. See 35 IAC 1.2-3-13 for more information about PERF’s process for buying service.

Leaves of Absence from PERF-Covered Employment

Few employees remain with the same employer their entire career. Even if you do, situations may force you to take time away from your job. You may take certain types of leave from a covered position and still earn or keep service credit. A leave of absence does not qualify as ending service.

You can check with PERF or your employer about how your leave will affect your creditable service and eligibility.

UNPAID LEAVE

You may be entitled to service credit for unpaid leaves of absence of six months or less during any four consecutive years. For more information, contact your employer or call our toll-free number at (844) GO-INPRS.

FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA)

You may also receive credit for up to 12 weeks of leave taken during a calendar year under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Authorized unpaid leave in excess of six months over a 4-year period will not be used in the benefit calculation, but it may be used for vesting purposes.

ADOPTION LEAVE

You can receive up to one year of service credit for Adoption Leave.

PAID LEAVE

During a paid leave of absence, employer and employee contributions will be made and creditable service will be granted.


Section Six: Retiring from PERF