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Returning to Work After Retirement

The effect of returning to work on your IMRF pension

Performing work for any unit of government that participates in IMRF after you are receiving an IMRF pension—even as an independent contractor—can affect your pension status.

It is your responsibility to contact IMRF if you return to employment or compensated elected office with any unit of government that participates in IMRF.

Public Act 98-0389 changed retiree return to work rules effective August 16, 2013. The new rules are outlined in the table below. However, you should ALWAYS contact IMRF if you return to work for an IMRF employer in any capacity.

If you retire under an Early Retirement Incentive and you return to work for any IMRF employer in any position, even as an independent contractor, you will lose the ERI enhancements and pay IMRF the difference between the ERI enhanced pension and the pension you would have received without the ERI--less the amount you paid for the ERI.

Print a version of this chart.

If you return to work for an IMRF employer after retirement:

In a position that qualifies for IMRF participation:

You would be immediately enrolled in IMRF andyour pension suspended.


In a position that is not expected to qualify for IMRF participation:

In the 12 months following your most recent start date with that employer,
You work below 599/999 hours Your pension payments continue
You reach 599/999 hours

If you want your pension payments to continue, you would:

  • Stop working for that employer until the one year anniversary of your employment date

  • On that date, the return to work period is reset for the next 12 months.

    You could then return to work for that employer until you again reach 599/999 hours in the following 12 months.
You work 600/1,000 hours or more
  • You are re-enrolled in IMRF and your pension payments are suspended (stopped) until you stop working for that employer.

  • When you retire again, your pension would be recalculated using the additional service credit.

  • Once you stop working for that employer and your pension payments resume, the earliest date you could return to work for that same employer without stopping your pension is one year from the last date you stopped working for the employer.

    For example, if you left your employer on October 2, 2014, the earliest you could return to work for that employer without an effect on your pension would be October 2, 2015.

  • If you return to work for that same employer sooner than one year
    • You must be re-enrolled in IMRF immediately regardless of expected hours of your position and
    • Your pension payments are again suspended.

You unexpectedly work 600/1,000 hours or more.

(One example of when this might happen is if you cover for another employee and unexpectedly work extra hours)

If you want your pension payments to continue, you would:

  • Immediately terminate your employment relationship with that employer.
  • You must terminate employment in the same month you exceed 599/999 hours.

If you continue working


Regardless of what your employer tells you regarding your pension status, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to contact IMRF to report your return to work and to confirm that you may continue to receive your pension or to determine the date the pension will be suspended.Failure to inform IMRF of a return to work that qualifies for IMRF participation could result in significant financial repercussions for you.

If there is something you do not understand or can't find here, contact IMRF Online or call an IMRF Member Service Representative at 1-800-ASK-IMRF (1-800-275-4673).

Note that if you are a retired Tier 2 member, your return to work rules are different than those listed above and in the publications linked on this page. If you are a retired Tier 2 member returning to work, make sure to contact IMRF to find out the rules that apply to 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.

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Page Last Updated by elc on 01-03-14