Pension Options & Refunds at Retirement

for Original ECO Plan Members
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IMRF wants to start your pension payments as soon as possible after you retire, so your initial payment amounts are estimated and based on:

Once we receive final wage information from your employer, we calculate your final pension amount. 

If you are retiring reciprocally, you must apply for retirement with each of your reciprocal systems at the same time. We cannot approve your IMRF pension until we have confirmation from all of your reciprocal systems that you have filed an application with them. 

Pension Options

At retirement, you are always eligible for the Standard pension option. If you are eligible for any additional pension payment or retirement refund options (in addition to the Standard pension option):

Standard Pension

Under the standard pension you receive a payment every month after you retire for the rest of your life. This payment is increased by 3% of the original amount annually.

Optional Pension

If you retire under age 62, you are eligible to choose an optional pension. The optional pension is a lifetime pension where you receive a larger pension until age 62 but a reduced pension once you reach age 62.

Often the decrease in your pension once you turn 62 results in a much smaller monthly pension amount. You should think carefully before you choose this option.

Your Option Letter will give you details about your monthly pension amounts and annual increases under the optional pension choice.

Special Needs Annuity

With the Special Needs Annuity option, you choose to receive a smaller IMRF pension so you can provide a lifetime pension for someone else upon your death. With a Special Needs Annuity, you can:

You must choose this option by returning a completed “Special Needs Annuity Application” by the time you return your retirement application or this choice will not be included in your Option Letter.

If you choose a Special Needs Annuity:

Read the Special Needs Annuity brochure for more information

Retirement Refund Options

Voluntary Additional Contributions

If you participate in the Voluntary Additional Contribution (VAC) program and leave your VAC on deposit with IMRF until retirement, you may choose to receive your VAC as either:

Surviving Spouse Contributions

If you do not have an eligible spouse when you retire (married or in a civil union for at least one year before you stopped participating in IMRF, and still married to this spouse on your pension effective date), IMRF will refund your surviving spouse contributions, with interest. You can either:

SLEP or ECO Service Contributions

If you have SLEP and/or ECO service credit but do not qualify for a pension under one or both of these plans at retirement, these contributions will be refunded to you with interest. You can either:

Additional Information About Converting Lump Sum Refunds into Annuities: