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Classes of Service (SERS-150)

Disclaimer
The State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) provides this document for educational and informational purposes. Information in this document is general in nature, does not cover all factual circumstances and is not a complete statement of the law or administrative rules. The statements in this document are not binding; and in any conflict between the statements in this document and applicable law or administrative rules, the law and administrative rules will prevail.

Members’ retirement-related information may be subject to disclosure under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law.

General information about SERS Classes of Service

What is a SERS “Class of Service?”
As an active SERS member, your Class of Service is used to determine your member contribution rate (a percent of your salary), Annual Benefit Accrual Rate or multiplier, Normal Retirement Age and eligibility for a SERS Disability Retirement Benefit. 

  

Service In More Than One Class
If you have service in more than one class, the benefit for each Class of Service is calculated separately, then the benefits are added together to yield the total benefit. 

 

SERS Terms

 

Accumulated Deductions: Total of your Member Contributions plus Credited Interest earned on your Member Contributions.

Annual Benefit Accrual Rate: The percent of Final Average Salary your benefit accrues with each year of Credited Service.

Final Average Salary: The highest average compensation received during any three non-overlapping periods of four consecutive calendar quarters. Typically, it is the average of your last three years of compensation.

Disability Retirement Benefit: An unreduced retirement Annuity payable if the Board determines you are physically or mentally unable to perform the duties of your current position.  Most members must have at least five years of Credited Service to apply for a SERS Disability Retirement Benefit -- exceptions are noted in this pamphlet.

Normal Retirement Age: The age at which you are eligible to receive an Annuity that is not reduced by an Early Retirement Reduction Factor. Normal Retirement Age, also called Superannuation age, is either age 60 or age 50 (depending upon your service classification) with at least three years of Credited Service, or any age upon attaining 35 years of Credited Service. Age 60 is the Normal Retirement Age for most members. 

Class AA and Class A

Prior to July 1, 2001, all State employees, with the exception of Judges and Magisterial Judges, who became members or returned to membership in SERS since March 1, 1974, were members of Class A.   

Act 2001-9 created a new class of service -- Class AA.  Active SERS members, inactive members on leave without pay and Multiple Service members who were school employees and members of PSERS on June 30 and July 1, 2001 (except State Police Officers, members of the judiciary eligible to elect Class E-1 or E-2 and legislators) were eligible to elect Class AA membership. Elections made by December 31, 2001 automatically converted prior Class A service, including prior legislative service, to Class AA. Failure to opt in by December 31, 2001 was a waiver of Class AA for all prior employment and precluded the member from electing Class AA for prospective service unless the member terminates service and is subsequently rehired. 

Subject to the normal optional membership rules, employees hired after June 30, 2001 (except State Police Officers, members of the judiciary eligible to elect Class E-1 or E-2 and legislators) are Class AA members. 

Current employees may purchase prior Creditable Service as Class AA. Creditable nonstate service (except for intervening military service performed after a member’s election into Class AA) will remain Class A service. 

While Normal Retirement Age for most members is age 60, exceptions are either noted in this pamphlet or involve high-risk public health and safety positions.  Similarly, most members must have at least five years of Credited Service to apply for a SERS Disability Retirement Benefit.   

Class C and Class A — Enforcement Officers of the PA State Police (PSP)
All Enforcement Officers of the PSP (and formerly of the Liquor Control Board) are Class C members if they have been continuously employed in this classification since prior to March 1, 1974. All PSP (and formerly LCB) Enforcement Officers who joined SERS on or after March 1, 1974 are Class A members.

  • Member’s contribution rate is 5%.
      
  • No minimum service requirement to qualify for a SERS Disability Retirement Benefit.
      
  • Class multiplier is 1 for an Annual Benefit Accrual Rate of 2%. 
     
  • Class C members receive the basic retirement benefit plus the benefit that Class C Accumulated Deductions would buy as though the member were at least age 60 at retirement, plus any Social Security Integration (SSI) benefit to which the member is entitled.
      
  • Normal Retirement Age is 50. 

Class C and Class A — PA State Police Officers
Officers of the PSP are Class C members if they have been continuously employed in this classification since prior to March 1, 1974.  Officers of the PSP who joined SERS after March 1, 1974 are Class A members.

  • Member’s basic contribution rate is 5%.
      
  • No minimum service requirement to apply for a SERS Disability Retirement Benefit.
     
  • Class A officers with at least 20 years of Credited Service, regardless of age, have the basic benefit calculation replaced by the following calculations:
    • 50% of the highest year’s earnings for those with at least 20 but less than 25 years of service; and
        
    • 75% of the highest year’s earnings for those with 25 or more years of service.
       
  • The highest year’s earnings do NOT include the earnings in the year in which employment terminates.
     
  • Members are entitled to the benefit that their Class C Accumulated Deductions would buy as though they were at least age 60 at retirement, plus any SSI benefit to which they are entitled.
     
  • Normal Retirement Age is 50.
     
  • Class multiplier is 1 for an Annual Benefit Accrual Rate of 2%. 

Class D3 — Members of the General Assembly
Members of the General Assembly in office prior to March 1, 1974, had the option of electing membership in this class. They will continue to be credited for service in this class until they move into a different class or leave State employment.

  • Member’s contribution rate is 18.75%.  Because Class D3 members contribute at a higher-than-normal rate, they receive higher benefits than Class AA members.
     
  • Annual Benefit Accrual Rate is 7.5%.
     
  • Members also may be entitled to an SSI benefit.
     
  • Normal Retirement Age is 50 or any age with 35 years of Credited Service.
     
  • Act 2001-9 eliminated the benefit cap that previously applied to Class D3 members. 

Class D4 — Members of the General Assembly
Act 2001-9 created a new D4 Class of Service, and legislators who were Class A members were eligible to elect Class D4 until June 30, 2001. Those legislators who did not make a timely D4 election could have elected Class AA service by December 31, 2001.  Any legislator enrolling in SERS after June 30, 2001 automatically earns D4 Service Credit. Legislators may not switch between Class AA and Class D4.

  • Member’s contribution rate is 7.5%.  Because Class D4 members contribute at a higher-than-normal rate, they receive higher benefits than Class AA members.
     
  • Class multiplier is 1.5 for an Annual Benefit Accrual Rate of 3%.
     
  • Normal Retirement Age is 50.
     
  • Intervening military service performed while a Class D4 member will earn D4 Service Credit. 

CLASS E1—Judges
Judges have the option of electing Class E1 membership.

  • Member’s contribution rate:
    • 10% for the first ten years of E1 Service.
        
    • After ten years of Class E1 service, the class multiplier is reduced to 1.5 making the contribution rate 7.5% for each year of Class E1 service in excess of 10 years.
        
  • Because Class E1 members contribute at a higher-than-normal rate, they receive higher benefits than Class A and Class AA members.
      
  • Annual Benefit Accrual Rate:
    • First ten years of E1 Service - 4%.
        
    • Years of Service in excess of ten - 3%.
       
  • To estimate the total Class E1 benefit at Normal Retirement Age: calculate the benefit for the first 10 years of service in the class; then calculate the benefit for the number of years of Credited Service over 10 years; then add the two resulting benefits together.
      
  • Normal Retirement Age is age 60, or any age with 35 years of Credited Service.
      
  • Judges who do not elect E1 membership automatically become Class A members. 

CLASS E2 — Magisterial District Judges
Magisterial District Judges have the option of electing Class E2 membership.

  • Member’s contribution rate is 7.5%.  Because Class E2 members contribute at a higher-than-normal rate, they receive higher benefits than Class AA members.
     
  • Class E2 members also may be entitled to an SSI benefit.
     
  • Normal Retirement Age is 60, or any age with 35 years of Credited Service.
     
  • Magisterial District Judges who do not elect E2 membership automatically become Class A members. 

CLASS E2 — Arraignment Court Magistrates (Formerly Bail Commissioners)
Act 2003-40 allowed Arraignment Court Magistrates (formerly Bail Commissioners) to elect Class E2 membership within 30 days of their appointment date. 

  • Member’s contribution rate is 7.5%. 
     
  • Class multiplier is 1.5 for an Annual Benefit Accrual Rate of 3%.  
      
  • Should you purchase any nonstate service (such as military service) the Annual Benefit Accrual Rate for that service is 2%.  
     
  • Normal Retirement Age is 60, or any age with 35 years of Credited Service. 

County-Level Court Administrators
Effective January 1, 2000, Act 1999-12 provided that designated county-level court administrators, their designated deputies, associates, assistant administrators and special court administrators within the State judicial personnel system be compensated by the Commonwealth and provided mandatory SERS membership.  At that time, affected employees entered SERS as Class A members.  New hires enter SERS as Class AA members.  (See “Class AA and Class A” description.)

  • Elections to convert credited county service to State service is final and binding. Any transferred employee who did not elect to convert his or her county service credit to State service credit by January 1, 2000, has the same rights in the county plan as those of an involuntarily terminated county employee.
     
  • Act 1999-12 also added the following Classes of Service to reflect prior county service credit: 

 

Class of Service

Class Multiplier

Annual Benefit Accrual Rate

G

0.417

.834%

H

0.500

1.0%

I

0.625

1.25%

J

0.714

1.428%

K

.834

1.668%

M

1.10

2.2%

N

1.25

2.5%

More information
Members should contact their SERS Regional Retirement Counseling Center toll-free at 1-800-633-5461 for additional information and individual retirement estimates.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
State Employees’ Retirement System
30 North Third Street, Suite 150
Harrisburg, PA  17101-1716
TOLL-FREE COUNSELING
1-800-633-5461
Rev. February 2010



Last published: 08/10/2011 05:09 PM [Back to Top]