79-991. Employees retirement system; member; prior service credit; how obtained.

(1) An employee who becomes a member without prior service credit may purchase prior service credit, not to exceed the lesser of ten years or the member's years of membership service, for the period of service the member was employed by a school district or by an educational service unit and which is not used in the calculation of any retirement or disability benefit having been paid, being paid, or payable in the future to such member under any defined benefit retirement system or program maintained by such other school district or educational service unit. The purchase of prior service credit shall be made in accordance with and subject to the following requirements:

(a) A member who desires to purchase prior service credit shall make written application to the administrator of the retirement system that includes all information and documentation determined by the administrator as necessary to verify the member's prior service and qualification to purchase the prior service credit. Such application shall include the member's written authorization for the administrator to request and receive from any of the member's former employers verification of the member's prior service, salary, and other information for determining the member's eligibility to purchase prior service credit. Before prior service credit may be purchased, the administrator shall have received verification of the member's salary in each year with the other school district or educational service unit and confirmation that the prior service to be purchased by the member is not also credited in the calculation of a retirement or disability benefit for such member under another defined benefit retirement system or program. The member's application to purchase prior service credit may be made at any time before the fifth anniversary of the member's membership in the retirement system or, if earlier, the member's termination of employment with the school district;

(b) The member shall pay to the retirement system the total amount he or she would have contributed to the retirement system had he or she been a member of the retirement system during the period for which prior service is being purchased, together with interest thereon as determined using the rate of interest for the purchase of prior service credit. Such payment shall be based on the most recent years' salary the member earned in another school district or educational service unit if the salary is verified by the other school district or educational service unit or, if not, the payment shall be based on the member's annual salary at the time he or she became a member;

(c) Payments by the member for the purchase of the prior service credit shall be paid as the board of trustees may direct through direct payments to the retirement system or on an installment basis pursuant to a binding irrevocable payroll deduction authorization between the member and the school district over a period not to exceed five years from the date of membership. Interest on delayed payments shall be at the rate of interest for determining interest on delayed payments by members to the retirement system. In the event the member terminates employment with the school district for any reason before full payment for the prior service has been made, the remaining installments shall be immediately due and payable to the retirement system. Prior service credit may be purchased only in one-tenth-year increments, and if payments are made on an installment basis, the prior service will be credited only as payment has been made to the retirement system. If the prior service to be purchased by the member exceeds the member's membership service at the time of application or any subsequent date, such excess prior service shall be credited to the member only as the member completes and is credited additional membership service, in one-tenth-year increments, notwithstanding the member's payment for such prior service credit. If the member retires or terminates employment before completing sufficient membership service to permit all of the excess prior service that has been purchased by the member to be credited to such member, the retirement system shall refund to the member, or to the member's beneficiary if the member's termination is due to his or her death, the payments that have been made to the retirement system for such uncredited prior service, together with regular interest on such refund; and

(d) The school district shall contribute to the retirement system an amount equal to the amount paid by each member for the purchase of prior service credit at the time such payments are made by such member.

(2) Any employee who became a member before July 1, 2014, and who has five or more years of creditable service and any employee who became a member for the first time on or after July 1, 2014, and who has ten or more years of creditable service, excluding in either case years of prior service acquired pursuant to section 79-990, 79-994, 79-995, or 79-997, or subsection (1) of this section, may elect to purchase up to a total of five years of additional creditable service under the retirement system, and upon such purchase the member shall be given the same status as though he or she had been a member of the retirement system for such additional number of years, except as otherwise specifically provided in the Class V School Employees Retirement Act. Creditable service may be purchased only in one-tenth-year increments. The amount to be paid to the retirement system for such creditable service shall be equal to the actuarial cost to the retirement system of the increased benefits attributable to such additional creditable service as determined by the retirement system's actuary at the time of the purchase pursuant to actuarial assumptions and methods adopted by the board of trustees for this purpose. The election to purchase additional creditable service may be made at any time before the member's termination of employment, and all payments for the purchase of such creditable service must be completed within five years after the election or before the member's termination or retirement, whichever event occurs first. Payment shall be made as the board of trustees may direct through a single payment to the retirement system, on an installment basis, including payments pursuant to a binding irrevocable payroll deduction authorization between the member and the school district, or by such other method approved by the board of trustees and permitted by law. If payments are made on an installment basis, creditable service will be credited only as payment has been made to the retirement system to purchase each additional one-tenth-year increment. Interest shall be charged on installment payments at the rate of interest for determining interest on delayed payments by members to the retirement system.

Source:Laws 1951, c. 274, § 14, p. 918; Laws 1953, c. 308, § 3, p. 1029; Laws 1982, LB 131, § 5; Laws 1987, LB 298, § 8; Laws 1988, LB 551, § 4; Laws 1992, LB 1001, § 23; Laws 1993, LB 107, § 5; Laws 1995, LB 505, § 6; R.S.Supp.,1995, § 79-1045; Laws 1996, LB 900, § 626; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 24; Laws 1998, LB 497, § 15; Laws 2005, LB 364, § 13; Laws 2013, LB263, § 24; Laws 2014, LB1042, § 10; Laws 2016, LB447, § 29.