Get a Refund of My Contributions

As a member of a North Carolina Retirement System, you contribute 6% of your monthly salary to your pension. The North Carolina pension is a 401(a) Defined Benefit Plan, does not have a provision that allows for you to take a loan from your account,  and you cannot  receive a partial refund.

If you leave your current employer and do not go to work for another participating employer, you have a some options to consider.

  1. If you have five or more years of membership service, you are vested and may be entitled to a monthly retirement benefit (and health insurance, if applicable) once you reach an age that qualifies you. This potentially extends to your elected beneficiaries and survivors.
  2. If you think you may return to work as a North Carolina public servant for a participating employer in the future and do not take a refund, your contributions, employer contributions, interest, time and service accrued will remain in your account. Your new position will continue to add to your previous pension balance and service.
  3. You may request a refund of your contributions.

Consequences of Taking a Refund of Contributions

If you withdraw your contributions (receive a refund), you will forfeit all rights to your retirement service credit and any

  • pending or accrued benefits, including any state-paid health coverage, if applicable, provided by the Retirement System, and/or
  • the Disability Income Plan of North Carolina.

If you have 5 or more years of retirement service credit, you may be

  • forfeiting your potential monthly retirement benefit for yourself, once your age qualifies you, as well as any survivor and/or beneficiary benefits.

As a contributing member who is no longer employed with a participating employer, you are eligible to receive a refund for the contributions you have made each month to the North Carolina Retirement Systems and 4% interest on those contributions.

You are not eligible to receive a refund of employer contributions made on your behalf.

By law, no refund checks can be issued until 60 days after your effective date of termination.

Your refund will not be reviewed or processed until your application has been completed correctly and all necessary information and documentation has been received from you and/or your employer.

Below you'll find some information that will help inform your decision. If you have any additional questions after reading this material, please email the Retirement Systems Division at or call 919-814-4590.

We encourage members who are considering a refund to consult with their tax preparer for more information before making a decision.