The American workforce is not the same as it used to be. There are more opportunities available for the average worker, and the competition out there for good employees is fierce. People move around more and change jobs more frequently. This means the notion of getting a job when you enter the workforce and staying there until retirement is not the norm for most people.
If you leave LAGERS covered employment, you still have options and may still receive a benefit at retirement. Here's what you need to do:
Make Sure You're Vested In order to be guaranteed a benefit at retirement, you have to be vested, meaning you must have work 60 months (5 years) for a LAGERS covered employer. This can be at one LAGERS employer or at multiple LAGERS employers.
If you've reached the 5-year mark in LAGERS and become vested, then leave LAGERS employment, you become what we call a "Deferred Member" meaning that you are eligible for a benefit when you reach LAGERS Retirement Age. If you decide to come back to LAGERS employment at any time you will just continue to add to your service credit until you retire.
If you have contributions in the LAGERS system you can also look into the option of getting a refund of those contributions.
If you are a vested member leaving the LAGERS system who have less than 10 years of service credit and are more than 10 years from normal retirement age you may be eligible for a lump sum of the present value of your benefit.