Purchase of prior service credit
Active members of the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) may be eligible to purchase qualifying prior service credit, which can increase their retirement benefits or help them reach retirement eligibility earlier. Purchasing service credit under the VRS changes only the amount of service used to determine VRS retirement benefits, and has no effect on employment records, leave accruals, or any other benefits.
Most refunded service credit refunded 1988 and later is already certified as eligible for purchase in the VRS system. In addition, periods of non-covered employment previously certified as eligible for purchase are generally visible in the VRS system. To initiate purchases for these types of service credit, log into your MyVRS account to begin the process.
The following types of service credit purchases require completion of the Application for Purchase of Prior Service Credit form (VRS-26). Follow the instructions on the form for certification and mailing:
- Refunded VRS service credit from prior to 1988
- Service credit for active duty military service
- Service credit for federal government employment
- Service credit for employment covered by another public retirement system
- Service credit for non-covered employment (e.g. wage/hourly, adjunct ) with a VRS-participating employer other than VCU.
Follow the instructions below for purchasing service credit for non-covered employment at VCU that is not already certified as eligible for purchase in the VRS system
Step 1: Complete form and gather documentation
- Employee Certification Form for Purchase of VRS Service Credit (PDF)
- Attach copies of documentation that can identify hours and position
Examples of accepted documentation include timesheets, paycheck stubs, employment contracts, class bulletins, Personnel Action Forms, W-2 statements and hourly rates, Social Security earnings statements (VCU employment only) and letters from deans or department heads with dates of employment, job titles and hours worked or percentages of time. Records of hours worked and pay issued at VCU are generally not kept for more than five years after employment ends. When applying to purchase service credit for non-covered VCU employment prior to a separation more than five years ago, you generally must provide the required records yourself in order for eligibility to be verified.
Step 2: Submit the form and documentation to VCU Human Resources
Return the VCU Employee Certification Form and copies of your documentation to:
VCU Human Resources
Attn: Purchase of Prior Service
Postal Box 842511
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2511
Note: Current VCU employees can return these items attached to an HR support request ticket.
If you are no longer a VCU employee, include a completed VRS-26 "Application for Purchase of Prior Service Credit" form (PDF) along with your submission, selecting "Non-covered service with a former employer that participated in VRS" in Part A. VCU will certify any eligible service on this form, which you must return to VRS for entry into your account. If you are a current VCU employee, any periods certified as eligible for purchase will be entered by VCU into the VRS system and the VRS-26 is not required.
Upon receipt of all completed forms and documentation, VCU Human Resources will respond within three to four weeks.
Step 3: Initiate your purchase through myVRS
Once VCU has entered a period of service into the VRS system as eligible for purchase, you may initiate your purchase request through your myVRS portal.
Step 4: Choose a payment option
There are four payment options for purchasing service:
- Lump-sum payment from your own funds
- Rollover or trustee-to-trustee transfer of funds from another retirement plan
- After-tax payroll deduction
- Pre-tax payroll deduction
Please note that purchasing service by payroll deduction requires requesting a payroll agreement in your myVRS portal that is sent to your current VRS-participating employer for approval. If you are a current VCU employee and would like VCU Human Resources to create a payroll agreement in myVRS for you, enter an HR support request ticket.