Vesting is an important milestone on the road to retirement. To become a vested member, you need to work for IPERS-covered employment for:
- Seven years or have wages reported during the month you turn age 65 or older as a Regular member.
- Four years or have wages reported during the month you turn age 55 as a Protection Occupation and Sheriffs/Deputy Sheriffs (Special Service) member.
Becoming a vested member gives you access to several benefits, including:
Upon your retirement, you are eligible to receive monthly retirement benefits or a lump sum benefit payment.
You are always entitled to 100% of your own IPERS contributions and interest earnings. As a vested member, if you leave IPERS-covered employment and take a refund, you will also receive a portion of your employers’ contributions made on your behalf, plus interest.
Portability of Benefits
If you leave IPERS-covered employment, you can choose to keep your money in IPERS. This may be helpful if you return to public service. You can also take a refund or roll over all or a portion of your money to a qualified plan such as a 401(k) or an IRA.
At retirement, members vested through years of service may “purchase service,” which essentially means buying additional quarters of time to increase the amount of your benefit. To learn more about purchasing service, see the Purchasing Service brochure or contact IPERS.
Vested members who leave IPERS-covered employment and receive Social Security* disability benefits may qualify for disability benefits from IPERS. Disability benefits allow you to receive benefit payments before you are normally eligible for retirement. See the Understanding Your Disability Benefits booklet for more information.
*Includes disability benefits from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board.
IPERS provides death benefits to your designated beneficiaries if you die before you receive IPERS retirement benefits. If you designated one person as your beneficiary, they may receive a lump-sum payment or a lifetime monthly benefit. If you selected more than one beneficiary, those beneficiaries will receive a lump-sum payment.