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SURS offers resources to answer pension questions

April 15, 2014

SURS: State Universities Retirement System of Illinois logoThe end of the fiscal year is raising many questions for employees at or near retirement age.

Changes made by legislators last year to the State University Retirement System could have dramatic – and expensive impacts for some of those employees.

Especially at risk are those whose SURS annuity calculation is higher under the money purchase formula. Reforms approved last December could significantly reduce the amount of their retirement annuity should they choose to retire on or after July 1, 2014.

To help those employees (and others) sort out how changes in retirement rules might affect them, SURS has provided a variety of resources.

The SURS website provides a comprehensive collection of articles and tools to help state university employees decipher what the law means for them. The page includes a list of frequently asked questions, a fact sheet on the money purchase option and a link to register online for upcoming webinars on the impact of changes in pension law. A recording of a recent webinar, and the accompanying handouts, is also available on the SURS site.

The website also provides a link to a presentation given by SURS at Southern Illinois University to answer questions about this issue. A similar presentation is planned at NIU at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 24, in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium of the Holmes Student Center.

To get an idea of how the changes might affect retirement earnings, employees eligible to retire before the June 30 end of the fiscal year also can use the SURS Benefit Estimator. To see the impact of the new rules, employees should run two sets of calculations, one utilizing an effective date prior to July 1, 2014, and a second utilizing July 1, 2014.

SURS has also created a five-page document that summarizes many of the issues related to pension changes for all university employees.

Photo of gold pocket watch and retirement greeting cardEmployees who are most likely to be impacted by those changes are:

  • Those age 55 or older with eight or more years of service, with applicable age reduction
  • Those age 62 or older with five or more years of service
  • Those employees of any age with 30 or more years of service.

Human Resource Services has outlined a series of steps that employees falling within those groups should take as soon as possible. HRS has also scheduled a series of workshops to help employees complete retirement paperwork, due to the unusually high number retirements expected due to changes in the law.

A schedule for those sessions can be viewed online. For more information, contact Human Resource Services at (815) 753-6000.