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Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act

The information on this page applies to participants of all IMRF plans.

IMRF is one of 13 public pension systems covered under the Illinois Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act.

The Reciprocal Act ensures continuous pension credit for public employment in the state of Illinois by allowing the combination of service credit and wage history within the state’s public retirement systems.

In other words, if you participated with more than one of the pension systems covered under the Reciprocal Act during your public service career, all of your service credit can be “combined” to calculate a pension from each system.

Retiring under the reciprocal act is optional. If you earned service credit under more than one reciprocal system, you can choose to retire under the Reciprocal Act or to retire separately with each system. (If you chose to retire separately with each system, you must meet the service credit requirements for each system without combining your years of service credit.)

In most cases, you will receive a higher combined benefit by retiring under the Reciprocal Act. However, in some cases a member’s combined pension could be higher if he or she retires separately under each system.

What are the benefits to retiring under the Reciprocal Act?

Retiring under the Reciprocal Act offers two main benefits:

  • You are able to combine service credit earned with different Illinois Reciprocal Retirement systems to receive a larger pension, even though you might not have earned enough service credit to retire individually with a single system.
  • Each system uses your highest earnings when it calculates your pension. This can very beneficial if you stopped participating in one system many years ago at a lower salary. When you retire under the Reciprocal Act, both/all of your systems use your highest average salary, then apply the specific plan rules when calculating your pension benefit.
What service credit is eligible to be considered under the reciprocal act?

You can use service credit of one year or more that is on file with a participating reciprocal system.

You must have at least one year (12 months) of service credit with a single retirement system in order to combine service credit under the Reciprocal Act.

The one exception to this rule 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.

Read more about how your IMRF service credit works with the Reciprocal Act in the "IMRF and the Reciprocal Act" booklet.

See the other systems that participate in the Reciprocal Act

Read the brochure published by the Retirement Systems Reciprocal Conference


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 12.01.2010