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Inactive Member Benefits at a Glance

If you are an inactive IMRF member, it means that you have funds and service credit with IMRF but you are no longer actively contributing to IMRF. Therefore, your benefits differ from those that you were eligible for as a contributing member.

How do inactive and active member benefits differ?

When you stopped actively participating in IMRF you no longer qualified for all of the benefits available to an active IMRF member.

Inactive IMRF members qualify only for pension and death benefits. The following article describes the benefits available to you and your beneficiaries.

The benefits available to you depend on the Tier you participated in IMRF under. Most IMRF members participate in the Regular Plan.

  • If your first participation date in IMRF or any Illinois Reciprocal System is prior to January 1, 2011, you participate in Tier 1 of this plan.
  • If your first participation date in IMRF or any Illinois Reciprocal System is January 1, 2011, or later, you participate in Tier 2 of this plan.

Your IMRF Retirement benefits

Please note: IMRF can “back date” (retroactively pay) a pension benefit only 12 months. If you are vested and no longer participate in IMRF but are eligible to begin your pension, we recommend you apply for your pension.

Your IMRF Death benefits

If you die while you have contributions on deposit with IMRF but are not actively participating, your beneficiaries are entitled to benefits. The benefits depend on your vesting status, plan tier, and age.

Should you take a refund of your contributions?

If you are vested (through IMRF or reciprocal service), having money in IMRF is a valuable asset for your future retirement.

The decision to take a refund should not be made lightly. By accepting a refund of your contributions you forfeit all rights to any future IMRF benefits, although you may repay your refund at a later date if you return to work with an IMRF or reciprocal employer for two years.

If you have at least 12 months in IMRF and have service credit in another Illinois Reciprocal System, this credit may be combined to meet the vesting requirements for both systems.

If you have less than 12 months of service in IMRF and do not plan to return to an IMRF employer, we recommend that you consider a refund or rollover of your IMRF funds.

The one exception to this is if you participated in IMRF as a Teacher Aide and earned less than 12 months of IMRF service credit, and you transferred to a position covered by the Teachers’ Retirement System, you may apply your IMRF service toward a reciprocal pension even though it does not meet the 12-month requirement.

Be aware that you cannot take a refund of your contributions if you are still working for the same IMRF employer, even if you no longer participate in IMRF.

If you are not vested with IMRF and do not have service with a reciprocal system, you can call an IMRF Member Service Representative at 1-800-ASK-IMRF (1-800-275-4673) to find out if taking a contribution refund or rollover is right for you.


If you have questions regarding IMRF, Communicate with Us.

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IMRF Online provides a brief summary of IMRF benefits and the adminstration of those benefits. IMRF members' and employers' rights and obligations are governed by Article 7 of the Illinois Pension Code. Statements in these publications are general, and the Illinois state law governing IMRF is complex and specific. If a conflict arises between information in these publications and the law, all decisions are based on the law.

Copyright Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

Page Last Updated by JC on 11.19.2010