Military Benefits

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IPERS members may receive free IPERS service credit for certain periods of military leave. 

When You Return to IPERS-Covered Employment

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) provides you with certain reemployment rights when you leave from and return to IPERS-covered employment following military service. Contact your employer for more information about when you need to apply for reemployment under USERRA guidelines.

Maximize Your IPERS Benefit

If you return to IPERS-covered employment following military service, you may be eligible to:

  • Receive free service* credit to cover your active duty military leave from an IPERS-covered employer. 
  • Make up the contributions you would have paid to IPERS  during active duty.
  • Purchase service when you are ready to retire.

*NOTE: Service credits are time spent working for an IPERS-covered employer. At retirement, your benefit is calculated based on your age at retirement, an average of your highest salary and years of service. The longer your work in public service, the larger your benefit.

Free Service Credit and Deemed Wages

To be eligible for free service credit, you must meet these conditions: 

  • Be called to active duty while you work for an IPERS-covered employer.
  • Return to IPERS-covered employment within one year after discharge.

You must apply to receive free service credit. If you qualify, your IPERS account will be credited with the wages you would have earned had you not entered the Armed Forces. These wages may be included in the average of your highest years’ salaries that are part of the calculation IPERS uses to determine your retirement benefit.

Making Up Contributions

When you return to IPERS-covered employment, you may choose to make up the contributions you would have paid to IPERS during active duty. Making up contributions may help if you leave IPERS-covered employment and elect to refund your account or if you wish to maximize your death benefits.

Remember, you have a limited time to apply for service credit and make up your IPERS contributions. Review the IPERS and Military Benefits (PDF, 876 KB) publication for more information.

Purchasing Service

If you are not eligible for free service credit, you may choose to “purchase service,” which means buying additional periods of IPERS-covered employment to increase your benefit amount. Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who meet the following criteria can make a Veteran’s Credit Buy-In Service Purchase:

  • Have worked for an IPERS-covered employer long enough to become vested.
  • Have an application for retirement benefits on file with IPERS.
  • Are not eligible to receive military retirement or disability pay in lieu of military retirement, unless the retirement pay is for non-regular service. (For example, service in the military reserve or National Guard.)

Review the IPERS and Military Benefits (PDF, 876 KB) publication for more information. 

Free Service and Make Up Contributions Example

Jeff is a member of the National Guard and was called to active duty for one year and three months (five quarters) while he worked for an IPERS-covered employer. During active duty, his employer did not report wages to IPERS on his behalf. Upon his return to IPERS-covered employment, Jeff contacted IPERS to apply for free military credit and to make up contributions to IPERS. IPERS approved his application and Jeff’s account was credited with five quarters of service at no cost to him. The example below shows how the military credits and made up contributions affected his IPERS benefits. 

  Refund Value  Increase in Monthly Retirement Benefit  Preretirement Death Benefit 
Without five quarters of service  $42,310.07 Not Applicable $46,744.02
With five quarters of service only $43,840.64 $95.08 $48,713.03
With five quarters of service and made up contributions $45,589.12 $95.08 $50,461.52
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