(1) Under such rules and regulations as the Division of Retirement shall adopt, each teacher upon becoming a member shall file with the division an application showing date of birth and such other necessary information as the division may require for the proper operation of the retirement system. Until such application is filed no teacher or his or her beneficiary shall be eligible to receive any benefits under this chapter. If a member has been a teacher in Florida, he or she shall itemize on such application all service as a teacher rendered prior to the date of establishment of the retirement system, including service in a similar capacity in other states rendered by him or her prior to July 1, 1939, for which he or she claims credit. Persons not eligible to membership in the retirement system as of July 1, 1939, and now eligible to membership shall file with the division an application and shall meet with all other requirements prescribed above. All such persons shall be entitled to prior service credit for the years prior to July 1, 1939, as prescribed in subsection (4). Any person made eligible to membership in the retirement system by provisions of this law may elect:
(a) To make no contributions for the school years between 1939-1940 and 1952-1953, inclusive, and if he or she so elects, shall be entitled to no membership credit for those years except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
(b) To make contributions with accumulated regular interest to the retirement system on or before the time of retirement of such member for such years after July 1, 1939, as he or she served as a teacher, at the prescribed rate on the basis of his or her salary for those years, and if such contributions are made, he or she shall be entitled to membership service credit for such years.
(2) With respect to plans A, B, C, or D as set forth in s. 238.07, any member of the retirement system may elect to contribute to the retirement system an amount which shall be equivalent to the difference between the amount such member has contributed and the amount he or she would have contributed had the provisions of s. 238.01(13) been in effect July 1, 1939, and such election must be made and the amount paid into the retirement system on or before the time of the retirement of such member.
(3) The division shall fix and determine by appropriate rules and regulations how much service in any year is the equivalent of a year of service, but in no case shall it allow any credit for a period of absence without pay of more than a month’s duration nor shall it allow credit for more than 1 year of service for all service in any school year.
(4) Subject to the above restriction and to such other rules and regulations as the division shall adopt, the division shall verify, as soon as practicable after the filing of the application, the statement of service therein claimed and shall issue to each person who becomes a member or any person with prior teaching service in the state who becomes a member of the retirement system, a prior service certificate certifying the length of service with which he or she is credited on the basis of his or her statement of service. Such prior service credit shall include credit for service rendered prior to date of establishment as a teacher within the state or in a similar capacity outside the state but not more than 10 years of credit for service outside the state shall be included. Credit for prior service outside the state may be claimed only by a person employed as a teacher in the state prior to July 1, 1939; provided that any person who became a member of the system after July 1, 1939, but prior to July 1, 1955, and remained a member for 10 years shall be entitled to receive out-of-state prior service credit for a period not exceeding 10 years; provided that any person with out-of-state service who became a member of the system after July 1, 1939, but prior to July 1, 1955, and remained a member for 10 years shall be entitled to receive membership service credit for a period of not exceeding 10 years, including credit for the period covered by service in the Armed Forces of the nation during World War II; provided such member was a public school teacher within 1 year before entering the armed services; and provided he or she resumed teaching, if such member shall, prior to retirement, make contribution to the retirement system with accumulated regular interest thereon in an amount equal to the contribution he or she would have made if such service had been rendered in the state subsequent to July 1, 1939; provided that no member who receives, or who is entitled to receive, a pension or annuity from any other state or county or municipality or other taxing district shall receive out-of-state prior service credit or membership service credit as set forth above; provided, however, that the change in this subsection shall not affect the rights of persons who have retired when this amendment to the law takes effect; provided, however, that any person who becomes a member of the system on or after July 1, 1955, and who has moved from another state to Florida, and becoming employed in a category covered by the Teachers’ Retirement System, must teach in the state for 5 years before being entitled to receive any out-of-state service credit. After having been employed within the state for a period of 5 years, a teacher may establish and receive credit for 1 year of out-of-state service for each additional year of service credit within the state, with a maximum of 10 years out-of-state credit allowed. In order to establish and receive this out-of-state credit, a teacher, who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 1955, but prior to October 1, 1963, must pay into the retirement system prior to retirement total contributions equal to 8 percent (plus accumulated regular interest thereon), of such out-of-state compensation as the teacher received during those years of out-of-state service for which the teacher receives out-of-state credit, provided, however, that contributions on out-of-state salary received prior to July 1, 1939, will not be required of any member in this category retiring on or after July 1, 1969. In order to establish and receive this out-of-state credit, a teacher who becomes a member of the retirement system on or after October 1, 1963, must pay into the retirement system prior to retirement, total contributions which are in addition to the regular membership contributions and which, when accumulated with regular interest thereon, are equal to the actuarial equivalent at the time of retirement of the monthly benefit which becomes payable at retirement on account of out-of-state credit. In the event that such accumulated additional contributions at time of retirement are less than the actuarial equivalent at time of retirement of the monthly benefit attributable to out-of-state credit, the monthly benefit attributable to out-of-state credit shall be reduced by an amount equal to the product of:
(a) The monthly benefit attributable to out-of-state credit, and
(b) The ratio that such deficiency bears to the actuarial equivalent of the monthly benefit attributable to the out-of-state credit.
If such accumulated additional contributions are in excess of the actuarial equivalent at time of retirement of the monthly benefit attributable to out-of-state credit, such excess shall be paid in a lump sum to the member at time of retirement. No person may receive retirement benefits for less than 10 years of service credit earned in Florida.
(5) Any person who is a member of the Teachers’ Retirement System, and who has been employed as an employee of any county in Florida or any county board of public instruction of Florida or the state or the United States Department of Agriculture at Welaka, Florida, shall upon payment of accumulated contributions for the years subsequent to July 1, 1939, receive credit for both prior and membership service for all years in which such person was employed by any county in Florida or any county board of public instruction of Florida or the state or the United States Department of Agriculture at Welaka, Florida, toward retirement in the Teachers’ Retirement System; provided, such contributions shall be paid on or before the date of the retirement of such member.
(6) So long as membership continues, a prior service certificate shall be final and conclusive for retirement purposes as to such prior service credit, unless modified by the division upon application made by the member within 1 year after the date of issuance or modification of a prior service certificate or upon the discovery by the division of error or fraud.
(7) When membership ceases such certificate shall become void; should the teacher again become a member, such teacher shall enter the system as a teacher not entitled to prior service credit, except as provided in s. 238.07(12)(c); and provided further that if the teacher should so become a member following the first occurrence of cessation of membership, such certificate shall be valid until the membership next ceases.
(8) Creditable service at retirement on which the retirement allowance of a member shall be based shall consist of the membership services rendered by him or her since he or she last became a member, and also, if the member has a prior service certificate which is in full force and effect, the service certified on his or her prior service certificate.
(9) Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), out-of-state service credit shall be allowed for:
(a) Service rendered as a teacher in American overseas dependent schools conducted by the Armed Forces of the United States for children of citizens of the United States residing in areas outside the continental United States, and
(b) Service rendered as a teacher in federally assisted binational schools serving as demonstration centers for methods and practices employed in the United States, as provided in 22 U.S.C. s. 1448.
(10) A member of the retirement system created by this chapter who has been eligible or becomes eligible to receive workers’ compensation payments for an injury or illness occurring during his or her employment while a member of any state retirement system shall, upon his or her return to active employment with a covered employer for 1 calendar month or upon his or her approval for disability retirement in accordance with s. 238.07, receive full retirement credit for the period prior to such return to active employment or disability retirement for which the workers’ compensation payments were received. However, no member may receive retirement credit for any such period occurring after the earlier of the date of maximum medical improvement as defined in s. 440.02 or the date termination has occurred as defined in s. 121.021(39). The employer of record at the time of the worker’s compensation injury or illness shall make the required employee and employer retirement contributions based on the member’s rate of monthly compensation immediately prior to his or her receiving workers’ compensation payments.