The information on this page applies to participants of all IMRF plans.
credit is your total time under IMRF, stated in years and months. Service
is credited monthly while you are working, receiving IMRF disability benefits
or while you are on IMRF's Benefit Protection Leave.
earn one month of service credit for each month:
work in a qualified position and make an IMRF member contribution
(4.50% of salary for regular IMRF members, 7.50% of salary for Sheriff’s
Law Enforcement Personnel and Elected County
worked in a qualified position prior to your employer joining IMRF.
(Member payment may be required.)
receive an IMRF disability benefit.
are on an IMRF Benefit Protection Leave (limited to 12 months, member
payment may be required).
past service credit you purchase.
cannot earn more than one month of service credit for any given calendar
types of IMRF service credit (but not all types) are explained below.
Service is credited monthly.
details on the information presented here, contact IMRF at l-800-ASK-IMRF
(1-800-275-4673), Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
your employer wishes to provide you with IMRF service credit and
IMRF disability and death benefit protection while you are not
working (taking a leave of absence), your employer’s governing
body would grant and file with IMRF an IMRF Benefit Protection
The total service you can establish under the IMRF Benefit Protection
Leave is limited to a maximum of 12 months during your lifetime, e.g.
you may be granted a one-time leave of 12 months or several leaves
totaling no more than 12 months. To establish the service, you must
pay the member contributions that would be due on your unpaid earnings.
One type of concurrent service occurs when you reported under the
same plan by more than one employer for the same month. Under this
type of concurrent service, your wages for the month are combined,
and, by law, you are credited with one month of service.
Although you receive only one month of service credit, your salaries
are combined for that month. Therefore, if the concurrent service
occurs during your “final rate of earnings” (FRE)
period, it can increase the amount of your pension. FRE is one
factor used to calculate the amount of an IMRF pension.
If you perform services for your IMRF employer every month but you
are not paid every month, you can receive irregularly paid service
Members who receive irregularly paid service credit are paid bi-monthly
(every other month), quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. These
members receive service credit for the unpaid months, provided they
are paid at least once during the year.
One example of members who receive irregularly paid service credit
are elected officials who are in office and work each month during
the year, but are not paid each month. These elected officials receive
service credit for the months they are not paid. (This assumes the
elected office qualifies for IMRF coverage and the necessary enrollment
documents have been filed with IMRF.)
may qualify for military leave service credit under the Illinois Pension
Code or under a federal law.
Under the federal law
you left your IMRF participating employment because you were drafted,
enlisted for regular military service, or performed active duty in
a reserve or national guard unit of the United States Armed Forces,
you may receive military leave service credit if you:
Return to IMRF participation with the same employer within the
number of days required under this law following your discharge
(The number of days required depends upon your circumstances.)
the appropriate documents to IMRF.
Pay the appropriate member contributions plus interest.
the Illinois Pension Code:
left your IMRF position to serve in the Armed Forces:
will be eligible to purchase your military service if:
The employer you left when you entered the military submits a resolution
to IMRF authorizing IMRF to grant service credit for military leave.
returned to IMRF participation within 90 days of your discharge.
(You don’t have to return to the same employer or to the
submit the appropriate documents to IMRF.
do not make any member contributions toward the military leave service
credit . Also, such military service cannot be used toward a military
The military service occurred before you
began participation in IMRF, or you did
not return to IMRF participation within 90 days of discharge or
the service is not covered by state or federal law, such as inactive
or military reserves
You will be eligible to purchase that service if:
Your current IMRF employer adopts a resolution making its IMRF members
eligible to purchase military service credit prior to IMRF participation.
Employer adoption of the resolution is optional.
were participating in IMRF on the date your employer adopts the
You would pay member contributions,“normal” employer
contributions, plus interest. (“Normal” employer contributions
do not represent the entire employer cost.) Such military service
can be used toward a military pension.
an employer incorrectly omits a member from IMRF coverage. In some
cases, the employee is not enrolled in IMRF or the employer does
not report a member’s wages to IMRF for a certain month(s).
If you were not enrolled in IMRF and you should have been, or if your
employer did not report your wages to IMRF, you can receive omitted
service credit. To do so, your employer would have to correct the
error by submitting the appropriate form and you would have pay the
member contributions (interest charges may apply). Also, to receive
omitted service you must be participating in IMRF or in another public
pension system covered under the Illinois Reciprocal Act.
If you have service credit with a public pension system in another
state, you may be able to transfer that service to IMRF.
you must have worked for your IMRF employer for at least two years.
Second, your IMRF employer must agree to grant the service. Out-of-state
service credit is authorized at the employer’s discretion
on a case-by-case basis. You may receive a maximum of 120 months
of out-of-state credit. Also, once you transfer the service, you
give up your right to a pension from the out-of state system.
you were already working for your employer when it joined IMRF, you
received prior service credit. The prior service you received was
equal to the years and months you worked for that employer (assuming
your position qualified for IMRF participation).
Under current law, you can receive five years of your prior service
credit or 20% of your total prior service, whichever is less, at no
cost You can purchase any remaining prior service by paying the member
contributions based on your current salary, plus interest.
If you previously worked for an employer and you return to work for
the same employer after it has joined IMRF, you may receive prior
service credit after two years of service with that employer.
If you stop working for your IMRF employer and take a refund of your
contributions, you may redeposit those withdrawn contributions and
reinstate your years of service credit.
To do so, you would have to participate for two years in IMRF or
another Illinois public pension system covered under the Illinois
Reciprocal Act. You could redeposit the withdrawn contributions,
plus interest, either in a lump sum or installments.
IMRF members can purchase service credit for time they worked in an
IMRF-covered position before the member was enrolled in IMRF. The
most common examples are elected officials who held an office that
qualified for IMRF but chose not to participate and city hospital
employees who worked in an IMRF-covered position before they were
enrolled in IMRF. They may purchase up to 50 months (over their lifetime)
of retroactive service credit.
Elected officials may be eligible to purchase more than 50 months
of retroactive service credit if their governing body adopted the
your job requires you to work at least six consecutive months during
the year, you may receive service credit for the off-season months
(the months you don’t work).
If you are a seasonal employee of a school district, a special education
cooperative, a park district, or a forest preserve district, you automatically
receive 12 months of service credit if you are employed for the entire
If you are a seasonal employee for any other IMRF employer, you can
receive 12 months of service credit if you are employed the entire
year and your job is identified as seasonal when you enrolled in IMRF.
IMRF Online provides
a brief summary of IMRF benefits and the adminstration of those benefits.
and employers' rights and obligations are governed by
of the Illinois Pension Code.
Statements in these publications are general,
and the Illinois state law governing IMRF is complex and specific.
conflict arises between information in these publications and the law, all
decisions are based on the law.