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Help a Member Get Credit for Previous Public Service?

As you are enrolling new members in TMRS, inquire if they have performed any previous government service. If so, they may be eligible to establish credit for this service. Prior service falls into three categories:

  • Another TMRS city (Buyback Refunded TMRS Service)
  • A non-TMRS city, or other state, federal or governmental service (Restricted Prior Service Credit)
  • One of the statewide Proportionate Retirement Systems (see Note 1), if previously refunded.
If an employee’s membership in TMRS stops for any reason, any prior service they have established becomes void. Prior service can only be used for vesting and retirement purposes.

Buyback of Previously Refunded TMRS Service

If an employee previously worked for a TMRS city and left his/her account intact, no action is needed. The employee’s account automatically reflects the service of all TMRS cities for which he or she has nonrefunded service.

If they refunded their service with a previous TMRS city, they may be eligible to buy back their service. Advantages to buying back refunded service are:

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

To be eligible, an employee must have at least 24 consecutive months of service and 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 their current employing city (see Note 2)
  • They must have previously refunded TMRS service credit.
  • They must redeposit the amount previously withdrawn plus a 5% per year withdrawal fee.
  • Buyback must be made with a single payment (see Note 3)

Note 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
Note 2
For information about your city’s plan, go to, click on City Plan Provisions, and choose your city from the pulldown menu.
Note 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.