Earning an IMRF Pension
Your IMRF pension gives you life-long income protection. You earn service credit toward a Tier 1 SLEP Plan IMRF pension by:
- Working for an IMRF employer in an IMRF-eligible position
- Contributing 7.5% of your salary toward your future pension
You will continue to earn service credit if you are on IMRF Disability or on an IMRF Benefit Protection Leave.
You must have at least 20 years of SLEP service credit to receive a future SLEP pension. Once you have at least 20 years of SLEP service credit, you are guaranteed a pension for life. The more service credit you earn, the larger your pension will be.
Receiving an IMRF Pension
To begin receiving a Tier 1 SLEP Plan pension, you:
- Must have at least 20 years of SLEP service credit
- Cannot be working in any position which qualifies for IMRF participation
- Must be at least age 50
The following cannot be counted toward the 20-year requirement for a SLEP pension:
- Unused, unpaid sick days converted to service credit
- Regular service credit not converted to SLEP
- Service credit in an Illinois reciprocal retirement system
- Service credit in a local police pension plan
- Federal law enforcement service
How Much Will Your Pension Be?
The amount of your pension is based on your earnings and your service credit. The Tier 1 SLEP formula applies if you have at least 20 years of SLEP service and are at least age 50. To calculate the amount of your pension, IMRF uses a formula that includes:
- Your Final Rate of Earnings (FRE). Your FRE is your highest average earnings over a certain period of time.
- The total amount of your service credit
The formula to calculate a Tier I SLEP pension is 2.5% of your FRE for each year of SLEP service credit. Your total pension at retirement cannot exceed 80% of your final rate of earnings.
Final Rate of Earnings (FRE)
Your highest average earnings will most likely come later in your IMRF career. If this is the case, the FRE used to calculate your pension will be your highest total earnings during any 48 consecutive months within your last 10 years of IMRF service, divided by 48. Usually, this is the average of the last 48 months of service.
Alternative FRE formula: Lifetime FRE
If you have higher earnings at the beginning of your career, an alternate FRE is used. The Lifetime FRE is an average of all your earnings reported by all your IMRF employer(s) over your entire IMRF career.
When you retire, IMRF will calculate your FRE using both methods and will use the FRE that provides you with the larger pension.
Service credit is your total time under IMRF, stated in years and months.
Create Pension Estimates in Member Access
Use the Pension Calculator in your Member Access account to create your own pension estimates. You can customize your estimates using a variety of different situations, such as different ages at retirement, different amounts of future service credit you think you might earn, etc.
If You Vest for SLEP and Have Other IMRF Service
If you retire with 20 or more years of SLEP service credit plus other periods of non-SLEP service under IMRF, you will receive a Regular pension in addition to your SLEP pension.
If You Do Not Vest for SLEP
The SLEP pension formula applies only to SLEP Tier 1 members with 20 or more years of Sheriff's Law Enforcement service. If you do not earn 20 years of SLEP service credit, your pension will be calculated under the Regular plan tier that corresponds to your first IMRF participation date. Your SLEP contributions will be refunded with interest. You qualify for a Regular Tier 1 pension if you first participated in IMRF or a reciprocal system before January 1, 2011 and you have at least 8 years of total service credit.
Annual Pension Increases
Under Tier 1, your pension is increased by 3% of the original amount on January 1 every year after you retire.
Your first annual increase is based upon the number of months you are retired in your first year. If your pension effective date is January 1, your first year increase will also be 3%. Otherwise, your first year increase will be less than 3%.
|First Year Increase Calculation Example|
|This example uses a pension of $800.00 per month with an effective date of July 1, 2014|
|The full 3% annual increase on 12 months of pension payments is $24.00||$800.00 x 3% = $24|
|$24.00 divided by 12 months = an increase of $2.00 per month|
|However, the pension was in effect for only 6 months in the first year of retirement (July through December), so the first annual increase is applied to only 6 months of pension payments:|
|6 months = 1/2 of 12 months||Full increase of $24.00 x 1/2 = $12.00|
|$12.00 = an increase of $2.00 per month for the first six months of retirement|
|The annual increase for January 1, 2015:||$12.00|
|The annual increase for January 1, 2016, and every year after:||$24.00|
|Annual increases are always based on the original pension amount and are not compounded|
Supplemental Benefit Payment ("13th payment")
After you have retired and have received pension payments for at least 12 months in a row, you will be eligible for a supplemental benefit payment every July. When you first retire, you must have retired on or before June 30 to receive a 13th payment the next year. For example:
|If you retire…||You will receive your first 13th Payment in…|
|On or before June 30, 2015||July of 2016|
|After June 30, 2015||July of 2017
You will receive this supplemental payment approximately one week after your usual July pension payment. The amount varies every year, but it will always be less than your monthly pension amount.