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State Of Illinois Retirement Benefits

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TRS Retirement Eligibility and Pension Options for Tier I Members

The University of Illinois offers a comprehensive retirement package to help employees plan for future financial stability. This includes participation in the State Universities Retirement System and two optional retirement plans: 403 and 457.

For information about retirement and investment plans, as well as additional planning tools and information, visit the University of Illinois Systems Human Resources website Retirement and Investment Plans page.

Retirement planning at UIC has gone virtual making information and links available 24/7 as you prepare for your retirement from UIC. Below you will find timelines and links to important websites and action items for you to complete to support your post-working days.

SURS Money Purchase Factor ChangesFor SURS members who first became participants on or after July 1, 2005.The Money Purchase factors used to determine monthly annuity benefits will change July 2, 2022.

You May Be Eligible To Participate In The Trs Supplemental Savings Plan

The Supplemental Savings Plan is an option for active TRS members who are full-time or part-time contractual employees. Retired and inactive members are not eligible to participate in the SSP.

The SSP is an optional savings plan that allows you to dedicate a portion of every paycheck to a 457 deferred compensation plan administered by Voya Financial, a national leader in retirement security for millions of Americans.The SSP is designed to supplement your existing TRS pension – not replace it. As an SSP member, when you retire and start receiving your monthly pension, you also will be able to draw on the money you’ve saved in your SSP account as you see fit.

Employers must adopt the TRS Supplemental Savings Plan for their eligible employees to participate. View the list of Participating Employers who have adopted the SSP.

May I Receive A Refund Of My Contributions

A refund of contributions should be carefully considered because it terminates your benefits and will be costly to repay if you return to teaching service. If you terminate teaching with a TRS employer, you may apply for a refund of your retirement contributions four months after your last day of teaching. This refund consists of the portions used to pay the retirement annuity and the annual increases in the annuity.If you receive a refund of retirement contributions, you are not entitled to any other refunds. The contribution for the Teachers Health Insurance Security Fund is not refundable.

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Scheduling A Counseling Session With Surs

Scheduling a SURS Retirement Savings Plan Counseling Session To schedule a counseling session for the SURS RSP, visit the SURS RSP Defined Contribution Plan Scheduler and login to schedule an appointment. You may also call 800-613-9543 or TDD 800-579-5708 to speak with a defined contribution center service associate.SURS Retirement Counseling Appointments Traditional and Portable Counseling with SURS to receive an estimate of your benefits is only available to employees within four years of retirement eligibility. For more information, see SURS Retirement Counseling. Telephone and virtual counseling appointments are available and can be scheduled via the SURS Member website after you complete and submit the Retirement Estimate Request form online or call SURS to obtain a form. For a virtual appointment, members must have a computer/tablet with a camera, microphone and speakers/headphones, or a smartphone, a reliable internet connection, and the Microsoft Teams app installed.

Effect Of Receiving A Refund

How Well

When you receive a refund of your survivor benefit contributions, you waive all rights to your beneficiaries receiving survivor benefits. However, your remaining accumulated retirement contributions, if any, still remain payable to your beneficiaries upon your death. The survivor benefit refund may be repaid with interest if you return to teaching and earn one year of creditable service.

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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Illinois Secure Choice

For businesses that dont have the budget or the resources to sponsor a retirement plan on their own, Secure Choice may be a good option because:

  • Registration is easy
  • There are no fees charged to the business
  • Employers have a limited role in plan administration
  • Retirement plans help attract and retain talent

Yet, even with minimal responsibilities, plan administration can sometimes be burdensome.

Will I Receive A Benefit Statement

The TRS Benefit Report is available online by signing into your secure member account . You will gain access immediately after setting up the account and logging in. This report will be available in late November and you will be notified via email when it is ready for viewing. Your report contains important information about your earnings, years of service, sick leave, optional service credit and designated beneficiaries.

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Am I Required To Make Defined Benefit Contributions

Yes, as an active TRS member, you are required to contribute 9.0 percent of your gross earnings toward retirement each year. Your contributions are used as follows:

  • 7.5 percent for retirement annuities
  • 0.5 percent for automatic annual increases in annuities
  • 1 percent for death benefits

You also contribute to the Teachers Health Insurance Security Fund, which finances the health insurance program for retired teachers.

What Do Employers Need To Do To Administer The Illinois Secure Choice Plan

Death and Survivor Benefits Explained

Businesses that participate in Secure Choice generally must perform the following tasks:

  • Send an annual employee census to the state
  • Track which employees are eligible for the plan
  • Distribute enrollment information to new hires within 30 days
  • Automatically enroll employees at the default contribution rate
  • Track and honor opt out requests
  • Process contributions via payroll deductions each pay period

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State Universities Retirement System

Learn about retirement plansSURS offers a series of seminars and webinars for employees who are new, mid-career, and considering retirement. See SURS Seminars & Webinars. Please contact SURS directly with questions or registration for these SURS sessions. SURS has a recording of their presentation available as a webinar on their website that employees can access at any time: Understanding Your SURS Benefits SURS Retirement Resources you will find forms, FAQs, Retirement Preparation checklist, Videos

Scheduling a Counseling Session with SURS

What Death Benefits Are Provided

TRS pays two death benefits: a refund of your accumulated contributions and survivor benefits. Each benefit may be paid to separate beneficiaries or both benefits may be paid to the same beneficiaries. Your completed Beneficiary Designation form determines how death benefits are distributed. If we do not have a Beneficiary Designation form on file and no dependent beneficiary survives you, we will pay the death benefits to your estate.

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Research Teaching And Faculty Affairs


Retired academic staff members may be provided with research assistance on an annual basis and are required to submit a report on that work to the Chancellor.


Faculty who offered graduate courses before their retirement may offer conferences with graduate students providing approval is obtained from their unit head, the dean of the Graduate College, and the Chancellor.


Retired faculty members may participate, without vote, in meetings of their college or unit faculties. They continue to be eligible for full participation in the Urbana-Champaign Senate.


Retired faculty may be granted the title Emeritus on the recommendation of their unit and concurrence by the dean of their college, the Chancellor, the President, and the Board of Trustees. Rights and privileges for emeritus/emerita faculty are defined via Provost Communication #12, Section V. Additional rights and privileges may be granted by the dean/director and faculty of the college/school.


Tips To Help Your Retirement Planning

Pension reform plan for Illinois: Right under its nose
  • A pension is nice because you can expect to receive a certain payment each month. But with the SRS being so underfunded, its still vital for employees to take control of their own savings. If you want to put yourself in a position for a comfortable retirement, consider working with a financial advisor. An advisor is an expert who can look at your whole financial situation with you and then help you make the best decisions. SmartAssets financial advisor matching tool will pair you with as many as three advisors in your area.
  • Not sure how youre tracking for retirement? Our free retirement calculator will help you by showing how your current savings may grow between now and your retirement. You can also see how long that money will last after you retire.

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Retirement Taxes In Illinois


As mentioned above, contributions that you make to SERS are pre-tax. Taxes are deferred until you withdraw the money . So even though you dont pay income taxes as you earn the money, you will still need to pay those taxes.

The federal government collects income tax on all of your pension income. When you receive that money as benefits in retirement, you may have the option for the IRS to withhold income tax. This option is the easiest for you but may result in the IRS withholding more than is necessary. If that happens, you will receive a tax refund come tax season.

If you want more control over how much you pay in taxes, you can make estimated tax payments. These are taxes that you pay quarterly based on your income throughout the year.

Its also worth noting that you may need to remove money from the SRS before you retire. If this happens, consider making a rollover. This is simply when you move money from one retirement account into another In this case, you may want to rollover into a 401 or individual retirement account . These are both tax-deferred accounts and allow you to maintain the tax-deferred status of your money.


As youll see on our Illinois retirement friendliness page, the state is a very friendly place for retirees. Illinois does not require you to pay income tax on any retirement income. That includes Social Security benefits, SERS benefits and any IRA or 401 income you may have.

Uic Suaa State Universities Annuitants Association

The UIC chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association , with over 1,500 members, exists to promote the individual and collective interests and welfare of its members and of all UIC retirees. It endeavors, in association with 52 other chapters in Illinois, to achieve legislation favorable to retirees and to keep members informed of pending legislation that can be of importance to them. In addition, the Chapter disseminates current information on issues of general concern to senior citizens, provides a liaison between retirees and the campus administration, provides opportunities for socializing among members, and works to assure adequate funding for the Illinois State Universities Retirement System . The Chapter seeks ways in which retirees can help further the goals of the campus throughvolunteering, re-employment, financial support, or other activities. Membership is open to all SURS members, including current faculty, staff, annuitants, their spouses, and survivors. Annual dues can be paid once a year or by deduction from monthly U. of I. payroll or SURS benefit checks. See the website for membership details.For information, visit SUAA or contact UIC SUAA at

Q) May I return to work at the University after I retire?

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How Can I Increase My Service Credit

You can increase the amount of service credit you have by purchasing optional service. Types of optional service include:

  • out-of-system public school service
  • military service and post-military teacher retraining
  • leave of absence and involuntary layoff
  • service canceled by a refund
  • recognized Illinois private school service

Please contact TRS for assistance in establishing optional service.

How The Illinois Retirement Systems Works

TRS Tier II Eligibility and Benefits

The SRS is the retirement system of Illinois. However, it divides further into three smaller retirement systems. Each system covers employees in specific occupations, but they all work similarly.

First of all, they are all defined contribution plans. This simply means that employees contribute a set amount of their salaries into the system. That money goes into a fund and is invested. The goal is for the contributions to grow enough so that when an employee retires, the fund has enough so that the employee can receive lifetime retirement benefits. The group administering the whole retirement system is the SRS Board of Trustees.

All employee contributions are pre-tax money. Employees do not pay income tax until they either withdraw the money from the system or until they receive the money as retirement benefits. Theres more below on how the state and federal government tax this money.

As mentioned, SRS breaks down into multiple occupation-specific systems. The following table breaks down the three smaller systems.

Illinois Retirement Systems
State Employees Retirement System Covers the majority of state employees, including teachers, policemen and firefighters.
Judges Retirement System Includes judges and associate judges of any court
General Assembly Retirement System For General Assembly and state officials of the executive branch who are elected by the people of Illinois

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Vanguard Target Retirement Funds

Get a complete portfolio in a single fund

Vanguard Target Retirement Funds are designed to help manage risk while trying to grow your retirement savings by managing a portfolio designed with a specific target retirement date in mind.

Less risk through broader diversification

Each of the Target Retirement Funds invests in Vanguard’s broadest index funds, giving you access to thousands of U.S. and international stocks and bonds, including exposure to the major market sectors and segments.

A professionally managed asset mix

Which Target Retirement Fund fits your timeline?

Find out by starting with either the number of years until you expect to retire or your current age. Then select the corresponding fund below by year to get details about the Target Retirement Fund we believe best matches that time frame.

Stable Return Fund

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The Fund objective is to produce stable principal balances and a stable and predictable return while avoiding negative returns. It seeks to protect principal, maintain liquidity for participant transactions and, in most market environments, provide a higher return than a money market fund.

Bond Fund

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US Large Company Stocks Fund

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US Small/Mid Company Stocks Fund

Non-US Company Stocks Fund

How To Fix Illinois Pension Crisis

Moving from pensions to defined-contribution retirement plans for government workers is the only way to solve the states colossal pension woes. The Institute has long supported moving all government workers to 401-style retirement plans. In 2013, members of the General Assembly proposed landmark bills that provided that government workers would be paid everything theyve earned so far in the pension system and started a 401-style system modeled on the self-managed plans for state-university professors in which 18,000 employees are enrolled for all benefits going forward.

Unfortunately, in May, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down Senate Bill 1 a modest pension-reform law meant to bring some relief to Illinois fiscal crisis. The court ruled that the Illinois Constitutions pension-protection clause protects both earned and unearned benefits of current state workers ending any chance for significant pension reform involving current workers.

Since the Illinois Supreme Courts ruling on SB1, debate over how to fix Illinois pension crisis has come to a screeching halt. Real, structural reforms to government-worker pension plans will need to wait until the Illinois Constitution can be amended to allow them or until the states government-worker unions agree to pension changes at the bargaining table. However, that doesnt mean the state is without remedies in the meantime.

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Other Information/updates On Pensions And Pension Systems:

Illinois Teachers Retirement System TRS is a public pension plan for Illinois public school teachers and administrators.

State Universities Retirement System of Illinois SURS serves a diverse group of employees with occupations ranging from professors and teachers to clerical, building service workers, groundskeepers and provides retirement, survivor, disability, and death benefits to over 212,000 members throughout the world.

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund IMRF has provided employees of local governments and school districts in Illinois with a sound and efficient system for the payment of retirement, disability, and death benefits.

Complete A Beneficiary Designation Form

Solving Illinoisâ Pension Problem

As a new member, you must complete a Beneficiary Designation form. This form provides us with pertinent biographical information and allows you to designate beneficiaries to whom death benefits will be distributed. The form is located in the secure Member Account Access area.

To create or update your beneficiary designation, download your personalized form by logging into your secure member account. Start by selecting the Member Login button on the top right of this page. After logging in, select Forms & Reports on the left navigation bar. Then select Beneficiary Designation form.

Part of the form will be prefilled with information on file for you. If you cannot access your online account, email and provide your full name, last 4 digits of your Social Security number and mailing address and we will mail the form to your address.To quickly and efficiently send the completed form back to TRS, use the Document Upload feature located on the left navigation bar within the secure area. You may also fax it to 217-753-0964 or mail it to the Springfield office.

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The Need For Real Reform

Illinois growing pension crises at both the state and municipal levels cannot be solved by burdening taxpayers with massive, ever-escalating taxes to bail out a system that is simply not sustainable.

Without real reforms, many pension systems across the state may become insolvent despite taxpayer bailouts, ruining the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of retired government workers.

However, the problem is not insurmountable. Solutions such as the seven reforms above would reduce the severity of the pension crisis and pave the way for bigger reforms.

Ultimately, the Illinois Constitution will have to be amended so the state can enact real reforms that realign the retirement benefits of government workers with what Illinois taxpayers can afford.

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