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The Iowa Legislature founded the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System (IPERS) on July 4, 1953, to replace the Iowa Old-Age and Survivors' Insurance System (IOASI). Iowa Code chapter 97B was created to govern IPERS and its trust fund, establishing IPERS as an independent agency within the Executive Branch of the State Government.
IPERS' primary purposes are to provide a secure core retirement benefit to Iowa's current and former public employees, as well as attracting and retaining quality public service employees. To ensure these purposes are accomplished, the IPERS administration:
- Provides counseling services and retirement information to active and retired members.
- Provides retirement, disability and death benefits to members and beneficiaries.
- Provides refunds to members, which may be rolled over to other IRS-qualified retirement plans.
- Collects employer contributions, employee contributions and employee wage information in accordance with state law and IPERS' administrative rules.
- Provides recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on plan design adjustments.
- Oversees the investment of the system's funds in accordance with the Investment Policy and Goal Statement adopted by the Investment Board.
Initially, IPERS was a money purchase system that calculated benefits based on contributions. Today, IPERS is a multiple-employer, cost-sharing, contributory defined benefit pension plan. Benefits are calculated with a specific formula so that, when combined with Social Security benefits and individual savings, recipients are provided a dependable and economical retirement plan. IPERS invests and safeguards billions of dollars in assets, each year collecting over $1 billion in contributions and paying nearly $2.0 billion in retirement, death and disability benefits. Over 88 percent of these benefit payments stay in Iowa.
For over a half century, IPERS has helped public employees maintain their financial independence after retirement, and looks forward to continuing to do so for many years to come.