IMRF and Military Service

for Active IMRF Members
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If you served in the U.S. military prior to becoming an IMRF member, you may be eligible to convert your military service to IMRF service credit. You may also be able to earn IMRF service credit if you are called up to active duty while working for an IMRF employer. Read below to find out more about military service and how it may affect your IMRF benefits.

Active Duty

How is your IMRF service credit affected while you are on active duty?
Under certain circumstances, your employer may be required to continue to provide you your regular salary and benefits when you are called up to active duty. Under other circumstances, your employer is required to reemploy you upon your return from active duty. Your specific circumstances while you are on active duty will determine your rights to IMRF service credit.

1. Your employer continues to pay you

What do you need to do?
If you are called to active duty under circumstances that require your employer to continue paying your salary, your employer will continue paying your salary and your IMRF benefits will continue.

If you have questions regarding whether your employer is required to continue paying your salary while you are on active duty, please contact your employer or an attorney familiar with military leave law. You may also contact the Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau, or the Attorney General’s ISERRA Advocate. Information on these programs can be found on the Illinois Attorney General’s website.

Illinois Attorney General’s Website: www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/rights/veterans.html
Attorney General’s ISERRA Advocate: 1-800-382-3000 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013)

2. Your employer does not continue to pay you

If you are called to active duty under circumstances that do not require your employer to continue to pay your salary, there are other available options for protecting your IMRF benefits for your active duty time.

You apply for an IMRF leave of absence
If you will be on leave and your employer does not continue your salary, but you want to continue your IMRF disability and death benefit protection and continue earning IMRF service credit, you can apply for an IMRF Authorized Leave of Absence (IMRF Form 6.32, "IMRF Benefit Protection Leave").

Disability benefits:
You remain protected by IMRF’s disability benefits if the disability occurs during the leave period and if IMRF Form 6.32 is filed prior to the date of disability. To receive disability benefit payments, you would pay the cost for the months of leave.

Survivor benefits:
Your beneficiaries remain protected by the IMRF active member death benefit (for example: one year’s salary and return of member contributions plus interest) if death occurs during the leave period. The member cost of the leave would be deducted from the IMRF death benefit.

IMRF service credit:
You earn IMRF service credit for the months of the leave period if you pay your member contributions plus interest after returning from the leave.

Please note:

3. You are a School District employee called to active duty

In addition to other applicable state and federal law, school district employees are covered under the School Code (105 ILCS 5/10-20.7b). If this provision of the School Code applies to you (as determined by your employer):

You will continue to earn IMRF service credit and your IMRF disability and death benefit coverage continues. Your school district will continue to report your "usual" salary to IMRF and your final rate of earnings will not be affected. Additionally, you may be entitled to health insurance or other benefits that you were receiving at the time you left employment.

Purchasing Past Military Service

Converting time served in the military to IMRF service credit
Regardless of how you were called to active duty and how long you were on leave, you can convert your time served in the military (for which you did not otherwise earn credit) to IMRF service credit after you return from your military leave. You can convert the service under Illinois law or under federal law.

Under Illinois law
If when you return from active duty you:

Under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA)
If when you return from active duty you:

Note: Under the federal law USERRA, if less than five years have elapsed since your return to work, you may be able to purchase service by paying only the member contributions, with no requirement to pay interest.

What do you need to do?
To determine what military service credit is most appropriate for you, review the "Application for Military Service Credit" (Form 6.02J).

The cost to purchase this type of military service depends upon many different factors. You can use IMRF's spreadsheet to help you estimate the cost of converting your military service:

Refer to the chart below for more information.


UNDER ILLINOIS LAW UNDER FEDERAL LAW
  MILITARY SERVICES EARNED BEFORE IMRF PARTICIPATION OR DID NOT RETURN TO IMRF WITHIN 90 DAYS. MILITARY LEAVE INTERRUPTED IMRF PARTICIPATION AND RETURNED TO IMRF WITHIN 90 DAYS MILITARY LEAVE INTERRUPTED IMRF PARTICIPATION AND RETURNED TO SAME EMPLOYER.
Member participation as related to military leave Military Leave can have occurred at any time, even prior to first date of participation in IMRF.
Must have participated in IMRF before and after military leave; can participate with different IMRF employers. Must return to IMRF participating employment within 90 days of discharge.
Must participate in IMRF before and after military leave with the same IMRF employer. Return to work requirement varies.
Members current participation Must be currently participating in IMRF.
Must be participating in IMRF or in another retirement system covered by the Reciprocal Act.
Must be participating in IMRF or in another retirement system covered by the Reciprocal Act
Member cost
If member has cost, IMRF will calculate your cost and send you a payment schedule. You may purchase the service credit in a lump or on a payment plan.
Member and "normal" employer contributions plus interest calculated from the first date of participation in IMRF. Salary used to calculate cost is first salary earned as IMRF member.
Free
Member contributions plus applicable interest calculated from the end of the military leave period. Salary used to calculate cost is the salary in effect when the military leave began.
Maximum number of years member can purchase Two or four years, determined by employer resolution
No maximum, but employer may limit by resolution.
Five years.
Military documentation A copy of release order or military discharge must accompany your application.
A copy of release order or military discharge must accompany your application.
A copy of release order or military discharge must accompany your application.
Military pension May still use the service in the computation of a pension or retirement pay from the U.S. government.
May not use the service in the computation of a pension or retirement pay from the U.S. government.
May still use the service in the computation of a pension or retirement pay from the U.S. government.
Employer resolution required? Yes, covers all IMRF members under that employer.
Yes, covers all IMRF members under that employer.
No.
Employer cost Through future employer rates.
Through future employer rates.
Through future employer rates.

For more information about purchasing past service, see the Past Service page. Select your plan and tier under "Members" in the menu at the top of this page, and then click on "Past Service."

Questions?

If you have any questions about the impact of your military leave on your IMRF service credit or benefits, please contact IMRF by Secure Message using your Member Access account or by calling an IMRF Member Services Representative at 1-800-ASK-IMRF (275-4673) 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday.