Purchasing Service

Do you know that prior service for another California or federal public agency might be able to enhance your Merced County Employees' Retirement Association (MCERA) benefit? California retirement law recognizes the mobility of the workforce, and allows members to move from one public employer to another without losing valuable retirement benefits, and allows you to earn or regain prior service credit.

Ways of Benefiting

As a new MCERA member, take a moment to consider if your past service can be of benefit to you now.


Have you come to MCERA within six months of employment with another California public employer? If so, you may be eligible for the benefits of reciprocity, including possible placement in a different Tier. Reciprocity is an election you make with your former employer. If you think you might be eligible, contact your former employer or pension system, or contact a Benefits Specialist at MCERA.

Extra Help or Part Time

If you worked for a MCERA-covered employer in an ineligible position before your MCERA membership began, be sure to find out how that service could be added to your retirement service credit. The more service credit you have at the time of your retirement, the higher your pension will be. If the time worked was for Merced County or one of its agencies, you may complete a Request to Purchase Service Credit form to have your extra help or part time service certified by your employer.

Federal Service

If you have prior federal service (including military) but are not receiving a benefit for that service, you may be able to purchase that time with MCERA by paying additional contributions for that service. Other California Public Service - Even if you are not able to establish reciprocity, service in another California public agency might still be valuable to you. Please contact MCERA for more information.