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My Benefits | IPERS Retirement Benefits

IPERS

My Benefits

IPERS 101: Learning the basics.

Overview

The Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System (IPERS) is a University Sponsored Retirement plan option that offers a defined benefit at retirement. The guaranteed lifetime monthly benefit payment is calculated using a formula based on years of service and highest average salary. Your payment is not tied to the performance of the stock market and IPERS does all the investing and takes on all the risk. Learn more on the IPERS website.

Eligibility

Non-temporary Faculty and Staff

You are eligible to participate in IPERS if you meet both of the following:

  • Hold a full or part time appointment for 6 months or longer.
  • Work 1,040 hours in a calendar year.

New Hires

Have You Reviewed Your Retirement Plan Choices?

Side-by-Side Retirement Plan Comparison

Overview of UNI Retirement Options

Temporary Faculty

You are eligible to participate in IPERS when you meet one of the following:

  • Teaching half time or more for a second consecutive semester.
  • Teaching half time or more for the entire academic year.

Temporary Staff

You are eligible to participate in IPERS when you meet one of the following:

  • Appointed more than six months.
  • Wages paid are $1,000 or more in two consecutive quarters at the university.
  • Hours worked in a calendar year are 1,040 or more.

Regents Police Officers Who Provide Security

In addition to meeting the general eligibility requirements, Iowa Regents employees who meet the definition of Regents Police Officers must contribute at the protection occupation and be reported to IPERS under Occupation Code 26 for wages paid on or after July 1, 2016. Protection occupation rates can be found below.

Definition of a Regents Police Officer
A peace officer employed by an institution under the control of the state board of regents whose position requires law enforcement certification pursuant to section §262.13.

J-1 Visa Holders with a Social Security Number

  • May only elect TIAA during the first two calendar years that they are a non-resident alien.
  • Once two calendar years have concluded, visa holders, who are exempt from paying Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes (for Social Security and Medicare) when they are nonresident aliens for tax purposes, will become resident aliens and non-exempt from FICA taxes.
    • At that time visa holders will have 60 days in which they can elect the IPERS (Iowa Public Employees Retirement System) plan.

Benefits Coverage

IPERS Benefits Coverage Effective Date
Life EventCoverage Starts
New HireFirst day of employment.
Qualifying Employment EventEffective the first of the month after the event.
IPERS Benefits Coverage End Date
Life EventCoverage Starts
No Longer EligibleEffective the last day of the month the appointment is no longer eligible.
Separation of EmploymentEffective the last day of the separation month.

Employees Meeting Eligibility Requirements for IPERS & TIAA

Once eligible for a University Sponsored retirement plan you may elect to participate in either IPERS or TIAA.

You are eligible to participate in IPERS when your assignment is one of the following:

  • Non-temporary appointment of half-time or greater.
  • Temporary assignment of six months or longer.
  • Earn $1,000 or more in two consecutive quarters.

This decision is irrevocable and will continue through your active employment at the university. If no decision is made within your enrollment time frame you will automatically be enrolled in IPERS.

Know Your Current Elections

Contribution percentages will be deducted from paychecks on a pre-tax basis.

Learn about your current benefit elections through e-Business Suite, and using the many features of UNI Employee Self-Service.

View your Benefit Enrollments

IPERS Contribution Rates - Percentage of Your Pre-tax Pay
Contributions EffectiveYour ShareUNI's ShareTotal
7/1/18 –6.29%9.44%15.73%
Regents Police Officers IPERS Contribution Rates - Percentage of Your Pre-tax Pay
Contributions EffectiveYour ShareUNI's ShareTotal
7/1/18 – 6/30/196.81%10.21%17.02%
7/1/19 – 6/30/206.61%9.91%16.52%
7/1/20 –6.41%9.61%16.02%

Vesting

You are always 100% vested in your contributions to IPERS. Vesting entitles you to a portion of the employer contributions and additional benefits, such as death and disability. For more information visit the IPERS website.

Employees Hired Before July 1, 2012

You are eligible to participate in IPERS when you meet one of the following:

  • 16 quarters (4 years) of reported wages.
    or
  • When you reach age 55 while still employed at an IPERS covered employer.

Employees Hired on July 1, 2012 or After

You are eligible to participate in IPERS when you meet one of the following:

  • 28 quarters (7 years) of reported wages.
    or
  • When you reach age 65 while still employed at an IPERS covered employer.

Regents Police Officers Who Provide Security

You are eligible to participate in IPERS when you meet one of the following:

  • 16 quarters (4 years) of reported wages.
    or
  • When you reach age 55 while still employed at an IPERS covered employer.

Accessing Your Online Account

Items needed to access:

  • Member ID number, (if you don't have it call IPERS at 800-622-3849)

If you are a first-time user:

  1. Visit IPERS.org
  2. Click on Member login
  3. Click on Register
  4. Accept the Terms of Service
  5. Enter your Member ID number, last name, and date of birth
  6. Click Verify
  7. Create Username and Password
  8. Enter security questions and personal information
  9. Click submit

If you are a first-time user:

  1. You may click on Member log in and enter your username and password

Leaving Employment Before Retirement (Under Age 55)

If leaving employment and will no longer be employed with an IPERS eligible employer, you may:

  • Leave your funds in IPERS until you are eligible for retirement benefits, return to work for an IPERS-covered employer or elect another option.
  • Roll your funds over to another qualified retirement plan.
  • Take a refund of your funds.
    • Refunds are cash withdrawals and will be subject to taxation.
    • If you withdraw funds prior to age 59 ½, you may be subject to an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty.
  • For more details, visit IPERS website, contact IPERS counselors via phone at 800-622-3849 or meet with your financial professional.

If leaving employment and you will be employed with an IPERS eligible employer:

  • No action is needed your account will continue until you leave employment with an IPERS covered employer.

Leaving Employment Due to Retirement (Over Age 55)

If leaving employment and you qualify for retirement contact IPERS (1-800-622-3849) to discuss your benefit estimate, purchasing service and restrictions with working after retirement.

IPERS also offers a free webinar entitled Ready to Retire? An Overview . This webinar will discuss the benefit formula used, how to read your estimate, how to purchase service and restrictions if you are planning on working after retirement. You may attend a live one-hour session or they do offer a pre-recorded version for you to view 24/7. Visit https://www.ipers.org/webinars for more information.

Eligibility for Monthly Retirement Benefits

  • A vested IPERS member.
  • Age 55 or older.
  • Eligible for a monthly benefit of at least $50.

Retirees Returning to Work

TIAA Participant

  • If a retiree returns to work at UNI, and previously participated in TIAA, they cannot return in a TIAA eligible position and receive distributions.
  • If the retiree is now participating in IPERS.
    • The retiree cannot hold a non-temporary appointment of half-time or greater, and earn an annual salary of $7,800 or more at the university and receive TIAA distributions.

IPERS Participant

  • If a retiree who is age 55-65 returns to work at UNI, and previously participated in IPERS at UNI or another state agency, they cannot receive IPERS distributions if they earn an annual salary of $30,000 or more at any state agency. You will be required to pay back a portion of your IPERS benefits if you earn more than $30,000 a year.
  • It is necessary to establish a clear separation (bona fide retirement) from IPERS-covered employment after retirement for retirees age 55-70.
    • A bona fide retirement period is a legally required time of separation from IPERS-covered employment and IPERS-covered employers. 
    • For more information on retirement restrictions with IPERS members returning to work, please visit the IPERS website.

Independent Contractors

  • An employee may not return to work as an independent contractor during the bona fide retirement period. (The first four months the employee receives an IPERS retirement benefit payment)
  • The employee may not enter into a written or oral agreement to perform services as an independent contractor until at least one benefit payment has been received from IPERS.

IPERS Online Resources to Help You