Past Service

for Tier 2 Regular Plan Members

Buying Service Can Increase Your Pension

The amount of your IMRF pension is partially determined by the amount and type of service credit you have. If you have previously taken a refund of IMRF contributions or are eligible for other types of past service credit, you can buy back this service to increase the amount of your pension.

How much will it cost?

To find out how much it will cost you to purchase your past service, you must complete and return a past service application to IMRF. The type of application you fill out depends on the type of service you are eligible to purchase.

After you send in your application you will receive a payment schedule that shows your cost to purchase:

Returning your application does not mean you have to buy this service. After you receive your payment schedule, you can review the cost and decide what you want to do.

When Can You Apply?

To apply to purchase past service:

Several Ways to Pay for Past Service

You can pay for your past service in a few different ways:

Once you stop working for your IMRF or a reciprocal system employer, you may make only one payment to purchase your IMRF service credit.

Reinstated Service (Pay back a 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If you stopped working for your IMRF employer and took a refund of your contributions, you may redeposit those withdrawn contributions plus interest and reinstate your years of service credit.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.

You would complete an "Application for Reinstatement of Service Credit" (paper form or through Member Access). See the instructions on this application to verify you meet the criteria to apply.

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 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. Also, once you transfer the service, you give up your right to a pension from the out-of state system.

You would complete an "Out-of-State Credit Authorization" form.