You are eligible to purchase your prior service at any point while an active VRS member. However, you have a two-year window of time to purchase most types of service at approximate normal cost before the cost changes to an actuarial equivalent cost. If prior service eligibility was added to your member record before January 1, 2017, the cost to purchase will be based on the cost window in effect at the time the service was added.
- Approximate normal cost is the average cost of one year of VRS service credit. The cost is based on a percentage of your creditable compensation or average final compensation at the time of purchase, whichever is higher.
- Actuarial equivalent cost represents the amount of money needed in today’s dollars to pay for the total value of the increase in your future retirement benefit or earlier retirement eligibility date resulting from purchasing prior service. If you purchase prior service after your two-year approximate normal cost window, your cost will be actuarial.
Note: The two-year window does not apply to refunded service, which can be purchased at any time during active membership. Also, see Types and Purchase Amounts of Prior Service for additional service purchased by school superintendents.
Within the Two-Year Window
Your two-year cost window to purchase most types of service at approximate normal cost begins upon employment in a VRS-covered position or following an eligible period of leave.
Note: See variations for refunded service and public service purchased by school superintendents.
If you do not purchase your prior service within the two-year window and leave your job or take a leave of absence without pay, your window temporarily closes until you return to active VRS-covered employment.
Example: You work two years in federal service. You then get a new job with the Commonwealth of Virginia, where you work for one year but do not purchase your previous federal service during that time. You subsequently leave your state job and take a private industry job. A few years later, you switch jobs again, returning to VRS-covered employment. At that point, you would have one year remaining in your original cost window to purchase your federal service at approximate normal cost.
After the Two-Year Window
If you do not purchase the service within your two-year window, your cost shifts to an actuarial equivalent cost.
Prior Service Cost Estimates
Register for or log into your myVRS account for access to a variety of resources to help you in making a purchase decision. You can explore purchase options and evaluate the impact of purchasing service on your future retirement benefit as well as the time it will take to recover your purchase cost in retirement.VRS