General Assembly Retirment System

JB Pritzker, Governor

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   Frequently Asked Questions 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If I retire and receive pension payments amounting to more than my contributions, will my spouse still be entitled to survivor benefits if I die?

A: Regardless of the pension payments made to you, your spouse will be entitled to a survivor benefit, assuming he/she is otherwise qualified.

Q: What is the Retirement Systems' Reciprocal Act?

A: The Retirement Systems' Reciprocal Act provides that if an employee has at least one year of pension credits established in more than one Retirement System covered under the Reciprocal Act, that service will be considered together at the time of retirement or death of an employee. The purpose of the Act is to ensure full and continuous pension credit for service in public employment in the State of Illinois, and the transfer of employment from one governmental unit to another.

Q: As a Legislator or Constitutional Officer I do not contribute to Social Security. When I retire, will my GARS benefit be affected?

A: No, your GARS benefit will not be reduced. However, you may want to contact the Social Security Administration, making reference to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), the impact of not contributing to Social Security as a Legislator or Constitutional Officer. This situation may result in an offset to your Social Security benefits.

Q: Will my pension benefit cease after I have received payments equal to the contributions I made to GARS as an active Legislator or Constitutional Officer?

A: No. Pension benefits are payable to a retired member for life, regardless of contributions.

Q: How soon should I request an application for a GARS pension?

A: Approximately 30-60 days prior to your retirement, you should contact the General Assembly Retirement System and request a pension application.

Q: When will I receive my future pension checks?

A: Continuing pension payments are mailed on the 19th of each month, unless the 19th is on a weekend or holiday. In this case, payments are mailed on the last business day before the 19th.

Q: Can my pension benefit be divided because of a divorce?

A: Yes, if a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order has been issued by an Illinois Court. A QILDRO does not establish a new benefit, nor does it create a new member or beneficiary.
Generally, the QILDRO orders the payment of a benefit to the spouse as the alternate payee. It may also be payable to a child or other dependent as the alternate payee. ( To download information and forms for a QILDRO, click here.)

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