3309.022 Purchasing uniformed services credit.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Service in the uniformed services" means the performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service under competent authority and includes active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time national guard duty, and a period for which a person is absent from a position of employment for the purpose of an examination to determine the fitness of the person to perform any such duty.

(2) "Uniformed services" means the army, navy, air force, marine corps, coast guard, or any reserve components of such services; national guard; the commissioned corps of the United States public health service; service as a red cross nurse with the army, navy, air force, or hospital service of the United States, army nurse corps, navy nurse corps, or serving full-time with the American red cross in a combat zone; and any other category of persons designated by the president in time of war or emergency.

(B) On re-employment of a member with the same employer that employed the member prior to the member's service in the uniformed services, the member may apply to the school employees retirement system on a form provided by the system to purchase service credit for service in the uniformed services that shall be considered the equivalent of Ohio service credit. On receipt of the application, the retirement system shall request from the employer that employed the member prior to the military service a certification that the member was employed by the employer prior to, and returned to employment with the employer within three months of honorable discharge or release from, service in the uniformed services. If the employer can so certify, it shall do so and shall pay to the retirement system the employer's contribution required by this section. The service credit shall be granted the member if all of the following requirements are met:

(1) The member was a member of the school employees retirement system prior to the service in the uniformed services and has maintained membership without interruption;

(2) The member was out of active service as an employee by reason of service in the uniformed services;

(3) The member was honorably discharged or released from service in the uniformed services;

(4) The member pays contributions to the retirement system in accordance with this section.

(C) Credit may be purchased pursuant to this section at any time prior to receipt of a retirement allowance. The member may choose to purchase only part of the credit in any one payment, subject to board rules. The retirement system shall grant service credit under this section, not to exceed five years, for each period of service in the uniformed services for which contributions have been received.

(D) For service purchased under this section, the member and the member's employer, subject to board rules, shall pay to the retirement system for credit to the member's accumulated account an amount equal to the contributions that would have been paid pursuant to sections 3309.47 , 3309.49 , and 3309.491 of the Revised Code if the member had not been out of active service as an employee by reason of service in the uniformed services. If a member pays all or any portion of the member's contributions required by section 3309.47 of the Revised Code later than the lesser of five years or a period that is three times the member's period of service in the uniformed services beginning from the later of the member's date of re-employment or the effective date of this section, an amount equal to compound interest at a rate established by the board from the later of the member's date of re-employment or the effective date of this section to the date of payment shall be added to the remaining amount to be paid by the member to purchase service credit under this section.

(E) This section does not cancel any military service credit or service in the uniformed services earned or granted under this chapter prior to the effective date of this section.

(F) If a member purchased service credit under section 3309.021 of the Revised Code prior to the effective date of this section, is not receiving a retirement allowance, and would have been eligible to obtain service credit pursuant to this section had it been in effect at the time of purchase, the retirement system shall refund the amounts paid by the member for the purchase if both of the following requirements are met:

(1) The member makes a written request for a refund on a form provided by the retirement system;

(2) The member pays to the retirement system the contributions required by this section.

(G) If the member meets the requirements of division (F) of this section, the employer shall pay to the retirement system the employer's contributions required by this section.

Effective Date: 10-29-1996