Applying for Your Pension

for Tier 1 Regular Plan Members

The fastest way to apply for your pension is online. One month before you want to retire:

  1. Sign in to your Member Access account
  2. Select the Tools tab
  3. Select Secure Online Forms

You can also complete a paper "Application for IMRF Pension" form and mail or fax it to IMRF one month before you want to retire.

Steps After We Receive Your Retirement Application
1. IMRF processes your application.

Unless we tell you otherwise, you do not need to do anything else at this time.

Note: 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.

2. Your pension effective date is determined.

Your pension effective date is the official date that you are considered an IMRF retiree. This date is used when determining other IMRF benefits, such as the 13th payment and surviving spouse eligibility.

Your pension effective date is the first day of the month after you stop working for your employer. For example, if you retire on September 15:

You will receive service credit for the month of September
Your pension will be effective on October 1

Your pension effective date will probably not be the date when you receive your first pension payment.

3. You begin receiving your pension payments.

In most cases, you will get your first pension payment about two to three weeks after your pension effective date. (This may take longer if you are retiring reciprocally.) Your initial pension payments are based upon an estimated amount:

IMRF wants to start your pension payments as soon as possible, so your first few pension payments will be estimated amounts until we receive your final wage information from your employer.

This estimated amount uses the current wage and service credit information we have at the time of your retirement, and is based upon IMRF’s Standard pension payment option.

We will continue to adjust this initial amount as needed, as we receive additional wage information from your employer.

4. IMRF receives your final wage information and Calculates your final pension amount. After we receive your final wage information from your employer, we can calculate your final pension amount.
5. IMRF sends you your retirement Option Letter.

Once we have calculated your final pension amount, we will send you your Option Letter. Your Option Letter will tell you which pension payment options you are eligible for and any refunds at retirement you may be eligible for.

Note: If you are over age 62 when you retire and are not eligible for any refunds at retirement, you will not receive an Option Letter.

6. You return your Option Letter to IMRF. You let us know which payment option you want by selecting your choice on your Option Letter and returning it to us.
7. IMRF makes any additional adjustments needed to the estimated amount we have been paying you. Depending upon your final pension amount and which payment option you choose, we may have either overpaid you or underpaid you during the time you received estimated payments. We will make any final adjustments as needed to “true up” the amount you should have received.