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Eligible to retire before July? Better check your SURS benefits!

April 1, 2014

'Road to Retirement' highway signNIU employees eligible for retirement this fiscal year should review their retirement benefits to analyze the impact of recent pension reform changes.

“For employees eligible for retirement whose State University Retirement System annuity calculation is higher under the Money Purchase formula, pension reform changes passed by the state legislature last December could significantly reduce the amount of their retirement annuity should they choose to retire on or after July 1, 2014,” said Bill Nicklas, NIU vice president for Operations and Community Relations.

Retirement eligible employees include all Tier 1 Employees (meaning that they were hired prior to Jan. 1, 2011) who meet the following criteria:

  • Age 55 with eight or more years of service, with applicable age reduction
  • Age 62 with five or more years of service
  • Any age with 30 or more years of service

Anyone who meets those criteria should log on to the SURS website as soon as possible and study their benefits summaries. Directions for doing so can are available online.

SURS: State Universities Retirement System of Illinois logoIn particular, employees should look for the “Projected Retirement Annuity” at the bottom of the page. If it shows “Money Purchase Formula,” they should contact SURS for a counseling appointment to discuss how working beyond June 30 will affect their annuities. These sessions must be conducted by a SURS representative, and sessions are filling up quickly.

To get an idea of how the pension reform changes will affect their annuities, retirement eligible employees can use the Benefit Estimator on the SURS website. When completing the form, enter a date prior to the July 1, 2014 effective date of retirement and then rework the calculation using July 1, 2014 for the effective date.

Because the changes in pension laws are expected to create an unusually large number of retirements, Human Resource Services has scheduled more than 20 sessions where employees planning to retire can get help completing their SURS retirement applications. A complete list of those sessions is available online.

SURS also will hold a meeting on campus to discuss the impact of the pension reform for all employees in Tier I of the SURS pension plan. Tier I are those employees who were hired prior to Jan. 1, 2011. That session will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 24, in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium of the Holmes Student Center.

For more information, call (800) 275-7877.