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Member FAQs

IPERS’ definition of retirement means you have applied for and begun receiving IPERS retirement benefits. You must live into your first month of entitlement to receive benefits, regardless of your age. To qualify for IPERS benefits you must terminate all employment with all covered employers (unless you are age 70 or older) and file a properly completed application for benefits, which IPERS must approve.

IPERS assigns personalized member ID numbers to all members. Your member ID number is unique to you. Please use it when communicating with IPERS, rather than your Social Security number. If you are a new member, you will receive a member ID number in the mail after your employer has reported your employment to IPERS. If don't know your member ID number, call IPERS at 800-622-3849.

The Legislature created IPERS to help public employers maintain qualified staff. You must be vested before you enjoy all membership rights and benefits. Vested members may become eligible for disability benefits and increased death benefits. They also gain the right to a lifetime monthly benefit in retirement. Most members become vested after 7 years of IPERS-covered employment.

No, IPERS does not have provisions for loans or hardship withdrawals of contributions.

Contributing to IPERS is mandatory for all IPERS members. All members pay a contributions through paycheck deductions. Contribution rates may change each year on July 1.

Regular member rates were set by the Legislature through June 30, 2012. After that date, they are set by IPERS following an actuarial valuation but cannot change by more than 1 percentage point up or down each year.

Contribution rates for Special Service members are determined by IPERS' actuary. Special Service members include sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, and members in other types of protection occupations.

You must contribute as long as you are working in a job covered by IPERS.

Vesting requirements changed on July 1, 2012, for Regular IPERS members. Before July 1, 2012, you became vested when you had 16 quarters (4 years) of wages reported or when you reached age 55 while in covered employment, whichever came first.

Starting July 1, 2012, you become a vested IPERS member when you have 28 quarters (7 years) of wages reported or when you reach age 65 while in covered employment, whichever comes first.

If you were already vested before July 1, 2012, you remain vested, even if you don't meet either of the July 1, 2012, requirements.

If you are a Special Service member (sheriff/deputy or member in a protection occupation), you become vested when you have 16 quarters (4 years) of wages reported or when you reach age 55 while in covered employment, whichever comes first.

Only public employees of Iowa can be members of IPERS. Most public employees automatically become members of IPERS when they start work for a public employer. If you are covered by IPERS, your employer will enroll you. You can then complete a form naming the beneficiary(ies) of your IPERS death benefits.

IPERS does not cover some public employees because they are members of another public retirement plan. Others can choose to join IPERS or another retirement plan. If you have a choice between IPERS and another plan, your employer should give you information about the available alternatives when you start work.

Learn more about IPERS membership and, if you have a choice between IPERS and another retirement plan, why IPERS may be the best plan for you.

No. IPERS makes all investment decisions and IPERS, not individual members, bears the investment risk. The IPERS Investment Board and a staff of certified investment professionals oversee all investment activities.

IPERS is a defined benefit plan. This means at retirement you will receive a monthly amount guaranteed for life, regardless of how the stock market performs.

It's easy to designate or change your beneficiary through My Account. Designations within My Account are permissible for unmarried members, and married members who designate a spouse as the primary beneficiary. If you are married and want to designate someone else as your primary beneficiary, complete and submit the Beneficiary Designation form.

No, Iowa law does not permit using IPERS as collateral for a loan.

No, contributions are set each year as a percentage of your wages. The only way to contribute more is to make an IPERS service purchase at retirement.

The amount of your monthly pension is based on a formula, not on the amount of your contributions. The formula includes how many years you have worked, an early-retirement reduction if you do not meet normal retirement age and your highest average salary.

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