Types of Service and How to Apply

for Tier 1 Regular Plan Members

To apply to purchase past service:

For some types of service, you may need to participate in IMRF or a reciprocal system for at least two years following the date of your last refund.

There are several different types of past service:

Reinstated Service (Paying back a refund)

This is the most common type of refund. If you stopped working for your IMRF employer and took a refund of your contributions, you may redeposit those withdrawn contributions plus interest and reinstate your years of service credit.

To be eligible for reinstatement of refunded service credit you must meet both of these criteria:

  1. You must be currently participating in IMRF or another retirement system covered by the Illinois Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act.
  2. You must have completed at least two years of contributing service under IMRF or another retirement system covered by the Illinois Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act following the date of your last refund.

The best way to apply for reinstated service is through Member Access. You can also complete a paper Application for Reinstatement of Service Credit form.

Omitted Service

Occasionally, an employer incorrectly omits a member from IMRF coverage, even though the member worked enough hours to qualify for IMRF. If you were not enrolled in IMRF and you should have been, you can receive omitted service credit. To do so, that employer would have to correct the error by submitting the appropriate form, and you would have to pay the member contributions (interest charges may apply).

You and the employer must complete an Omitted Service Credit Verification form.

Military Service

If you served in the U.S. military, you may be eligible to convert your military service to IMRF service. See the IMRF and Military Service page for details.

Prior Service

If you were already working for your employer when it joined IMRF, you received prior service credit (assuming your position qualified for IMRF participation).

You received 20% of your prior service credit, up to a maximum of 5 years, at no cost to you. You can purchase any remaining prior service by paying the member contributions, based on your annual salary, as of the date your employer joined IMRF, plus interest.

If you previously worked for an employer, left them and returned to work for the same employer after it joined IMRF, you may apply for prior service credit after returning and participating for two years with that employer.

You and the employer can complete an Application for Prior Service Credit.

Benefit Protection Leave

If you are taking an unpaid leave of absence, your employer can provide you with IMRF service credit and IMRF disability and death benefit protection while you are on leave. You can establish a maximum of 12 months of benefit protection leave over your entire IMRF career. You can apply during or after the leave.

Your employer's governing body approves the purchase of Benefit Protection Leave service on a case-by-case basis. Your employer is not obligated to approve your request for a Benefit Protection Leave.

If your employer's governing body approves your request, you and the employer can complete an Application for Benefit Protection Leave.

Retroactive Service

Elected officials and city hospital workers must elect to participate before being enrolled in IMRF. These members may not elect coverage right away but may wish to establish it later. In these cases, members can purchase service credit for time they worked in an IMRF-covered position before the member elected to participate in IMRF. In most cases, retroactive service is limited to a maximum of 50 months (over their lifetime) of service credit.

Elected officials may be eligible to purchase more than 50 months of retroactive service credit if their governing body adopted the appropriate resolution.

You and the employer can complete an Application for Retroactive Service Credit.

Out-of-State Service

If you have service credit earned through working for a local governmental unit in another state, you may be able to transfer that service to IMRF.

To be eligible to transfer out-of-state service to IMRF:

You may receive a maximum of 120 months of out-of-state credit. Once you transfer the service, you give up your right to a pension from the out-of-state system.

You and your employer can complete an Out-of-State Credit Authorization form.

Additional Types of Service

Additional types of service may also be available to purchase. Call an IMRF Member Services Representative at 1-800-ASK-IMRF (275-4673) for more information. Some other situations include: