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The Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS)

Is A Defined Benefit Plan

The Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS) is a Defined Benefit pension for qualified full-time and part-time permanent state employees. Employees automatically become members of IPERS when they start work for an IPERS-covered employer.

Membership in the IPERS pension is mandatory unless your state employment position is exempt by law. Or, if your state employer has another retirement savings program in place you can opt out of IPERS coverage.

As a Defined Benefit pension plan, the lifetime monthly benefit you receive is predictable because it is calculated using a formula that includes your highest five-year annual salary and a multiplier based on your years of credited service. IPERS also provides benefits in the event of death or disability.

Both you and your employer contribute to IPERS. Contributions are invested by IPERS and held in a Trust Fund exclusively for paying benefits to members and their beneficiaries. Approximately 96% of IPERS members are Regular members while the other 4% are Special Service members who work in public safety jobs.

IPERS Vesting Requirements

For Regular IPERS members vesting requirements changed on July 1, 2012. 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.

As of 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.

Other Iowa Pension Plans

The State of Iowa funds three other Defined Benefit pension plans. These include:
  • 1.Municipal Fire & Police Retirement System of Iowa (MFPRSI)
  • 2.Peace Officers Retirement System (PORS)
  • 3.Iowa Judicial Retirement System (JRS)
Iowa Pension Plans

IPERS FAQs

How long do I need to work before I am vested in IPERS?

For Regular IPERS members vesting requirements changed on July 1, 2012. 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.
As of 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.

What is the IPERS retirement Age?

In general, the IPERs retirement age is 65. You can retire at age 62 if you have 20 or more years of service (Rule of 62/20). Or, when your years of service plus your age equals or exceeds 88 (Rule of 88).

Do I have to pay Federal Income Taxes on IPERS retirement benefit?

Yes – once you retire and start receiving your IPERS retirement benefits as income, those payments become subject to Federal taxes. If you continue to reside in Iowa in your retirement your IPERS retirement benefit is also subject to state income tax.

Will my IPERS retirement benefits be reduced by Social Security Benefits I receive?

No – IPERS does not reduce your benefit once you become eligible for Social Security.
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Pension Navigators is an educational organization dedicated to helping State Employees make informed decisions when planning their retirement. The educational resources we provide are designed to provide them with the most current information on their State Pension Benefits plus strategies for achieving their retirement income goals.

This website provides an overview of what we can provide to State Pension Agencies to help their employees stay current on the latest rules and requirements of their pension plans.

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