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SERS members have recently been targeted by a variety of phishing scams, including emails, phone calls, and text messages that attempt to impersonate or imply affiliation with SERS.

The fraudulent emails may provide links, including DocuSign, and allege to provide the member with the option to sign up and receive their monthly SERS benefit payments four days early by providing personal financial information, including bank account information.  SERS does not offer an early benefit payment option or request personal or banking information by email or use of DocuSign.  Please note that our emails are always sent from an email address.

Phone calls and Text messages
Several members have recently reported receiving unsolicited phone calls and text messages from individuals claiming to be associated with SERS.  These individuals initially contact the member by phone call or text message and attempt to set up counseling appointments with the member, generally through a follow-up email and/or text message.  These phone calls have been received on State landlines and State issued cell phones.  SERS does not contract with anyone outside of the agency to contact members about retirement counseling appointments or other financial services. SERS does not cold call members for retirement consultations, and only schedules retirement counseling appointments at the request of the member.

If you receive a suspicious email, call, or text message that purports to be SERS that you suspect is a scam, please report this activity to the SERS call center at 217-785-7444. Information that you provide can help SERS prevent and detect schemes that impact our members. 

Optional Service FAQs

1. I want to purchase my military service time. How much of this time can I purchase and what forms do I need to start the process?

You can buy up to 48 months of active duty time. We must have a legible copy of your DD-214, or the appropriate separation or discharge papers verifying active duty. For more information, refer to pages 10 & 11 of your SERS handbook.

2. What other service credit can I purchase?

You may purchase qualifying periods, short periods, leaves of absence of less than one year that began on or after 1-1-82, emergency and temporary employment, and repayment of a refund(s).

3. What if I retire before I finish buying back service credit?

Optional service credit must be paid in full before retirement. You should contact the Service & Refund Division prior to retirement to have your payment recalculated.

4. I disagree with the amount of service credit listed on my annual Benefit Statement. Can I get a record of my service on a month-by month basis?

You can request a service credit report by calling the Accounting Division at (217) 785-7191. You should receive your service credit breakdown within 5-7 working days.

5. I am applying for a loan and my bank wants a current copy of my contributions with SERS. Can I get a letter from SERS showing this amount?

You can order a Statement of Account with SERS by calling the Accounting Division at (217) 785-7191. You should receive your Statement of Account within 5-7 working days.

6. Can I use my Deferred Compensation money to purchase optional service credit?

Yes, as long as you have enough money in your Deferred Compensation account to cover the full amount owed to SERS.

7. Can I purchase the time when I worked under a public reciprocal system?

Not with SERS. Instead, contact the respective reciprocal system. You must have at least one full year of service credit to make use of the Reciprocal Act.

8. Can I purchase the time when I was laid off from state employment?

Under current law, you cannot purchase the time when you were laid off.

9. I came into some money. Can I pay off an irrevocable payroll agreement before the end date?

You may not pay off a payroll agreement early unless you leave the state payroll.

10. Can I purchase contractual employment?

Under current law, you cannot purchase contractual time.

11. If I purchase optional service credit that requires the payment of contributions and interest, what happens if I request a lump sum refund at a later date?

Your would receive the employee contributions only.