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Understanding UCRP Service Credit

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As you consider when to retire, it’s important to understand how your timing will affect your retirement income. For members of the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP), one critical factor is your UCRP service credit. UCRP service credit is the measure of time you have participated in UCRP, and it is used to determine your eligibility for UCRP benefits and to calculate your monthly retirement benefits.

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(If you’re a Savings Choice participant, your retirement benefits work differently. See this overview to learn more.)

Not sure how this works? Let’s review some frequently asked questions to take the guesswork out of your UCRP service credit and retirement income.

Q: How does my UCRP service credit affect my retirement income?

Your UCRP pension is based on a formula that factors in your UCRP service credit, your age at retirement and your highest salary (averaged over three years, up to any income limits that apply to you). The exact formula depends on when you became a member of UCRP.

Q: Is my UCRP service credit the same as my years of service with UC, shown on my UCPath account dashboard?

Your UCPath account reflects how many years and months you have been employed with UC. This is not always the same as your UCRP service credit, which you can find in your UCRAYS account. Service credit is earned once you have become a UCRP member, for the time you receive covered compensation (or UCRP-eligible pay) for an eligible appointment.

For example, if you work for UC in a position that isn’t eligible for UCRP benefits, your time in that position will not count toward your UCRP service credit. As a UCRP member, you earn service credit during a paid leave (since that’s considered UCRP-eligible pay), but not during an unpaid leave.

The maximum that you can earn for a year of full-time work is one year of service credit — you don’t get additional service credit if you work overtime. Part-time or variable-time work results in a proportionate amount of service credit. For example, if you work 50% time for one year, you receive one-half year of service credit.

Q: Can I purchase service credit for time I was on leave?

If you took an eligible unpaid or partially paid leave of absence for a minimum of 4 consecutive weeks, you may be eligible to purchase service credit for that time. A service credit purchase must be completed while you are actively employed. You cannot purchase service credit after separating from UCRP employment or retiring.

Q: What if I think the service credit shown on UCRAYS or in my retirement profile is incorrect?

There are a few situations that may result in underreporting of your service credit, such as military leave or a temporary reduction in time. If you think your service credit may not be accurate, it’s a good idea to submit a request (using form UBEN 132) for an inquiry as soon as possible so you don’t risk delays in your retirement process later. An experienced benefits analyst with RASC will research and confirm that you have been awarded all the service credit you earned while actively employed.

If a verification is completed after your UCRP retirement date and uncovers an error, you will receive a “post-retirement adjustment” to your retirement benefit. You will be repaid for any retirement benefits you are owed or made aware of any overpayment that must be repaid to UC.


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