General Assembly Retirment System

JB Pritzker, Governor

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   Retirement Benefits  

Retirement Benefits


You may retire:

• At age 55 with 8 years of credited service.

• At age 62 with 4 years of credited service.

Your retirement benefit is paid monthly for your lifetime. However, you must apply for benefits in order to receive them. Contact GARS approximately 30 days before your retirement date. Your pension will start on the day following your withdrawal from service.

Your Retirement Benefit

Contributions made before January 1, 1982 were taxed when you received them. Your contributions after January 1, 1982, were not included in your gross income and therefore are not immediately taxable. However, when you begin receiving benefits, you will be taxed on your contributions accordingly.

Your retirement benefit is based on your salary and credited service on your last day of service using the following formula:

3.0% for the first 4 years of service
3.5% for the next 2 years of service
4.0% for the next 2 years of service
4.5% for the next 4 years of service
5.0% for each year after 12 years

The maximum pension payable to a member of GARS is 85% of their final salary with 20 years of service credit.

Example: Assume a member is age 55, has 20 years of credited service, and a final salary of $57,619:

TOTAL = 85.0%
First 4 years x 3.0% = 12.0%
Next 2 years x 3.5% = 7.0%
Next 2 years x 4.0% = 8.0%
Next 4 years X 4.5% = 18.0%
Next 8 years x 5.0% = 40.0%

85.0% x $57,619 = $48,976.15 annually or $4,081.35 a month.

A member terminating service with four to eight years of service credit is eligible for the following pension rates at age 62:

  • 4 Years 12%
  • 5 Years 15.5%
  • 6 Years 19%
  • 7 Years 23%

This table illustrates the percentage of salary that GARS members with 8 to 20 years of GARS service credit will receive at age 55.

Years of Service Percent of Salary
8 27%
9 31.5
10 36
11 40.5
12 45
13 50
14 55
15 60
16 65
17 70
18 75
19 80
20 85

Annual Pension Increases

If you retire at age 60 or over, you will receive a 3% pension increase every year on January 1 or July 1 following your first full year of retirement. These annual increases are compounded on your previous year’s annuity. Pension increases are not limited to the 85% maximum.

Example: A member is age 55, has 20 years of credited service, and a final salary of $57,619. The initial retirement annuity is $48,976.15 (85% of final salary). The automatic 3% annual increase (not payable until age 60) would be: 3% x $48,976.15 = $1,469.28 annually or $122.44 per month


The 3% increase also accrues each January 1st for GARS members who remain in service after age 55 with 20 years of credited service. These increases are payable on January 1 or July 1 following the first full year of retirement at age 60.


Using the table above, a member retires at age 60 in December 2001 with 25 years of credited service. On January 1, 2003, the member would receive a pension increase of 18%.

Reversionary Annuity

This option reduces your monthly retirement benefit to provide a lifetime income for your survivors after your death. This election should be filed with GARS at least two years prior to your contemplated date of retirement. This benefit is paid in addition to survivor benefits.

Returning to State Employment

If you return to work for the General Assembly Retirement System after retirement, your annuity will be suspended. It is your responsibility to notify GARS immediately of your reemployment.

When Benefits are Paid to You

• You pay no state income tax.

• You will pay federal tax on most benefits. Specific information will be furnished when benefits are payable.

The best tax treatment for you depends on your individual financial situation. GARS advises all members to check with a qualified tax consultant or financial planner before receiving benefits or refunds.

Click here to see the list of systems that participate in the Retirement Systems' Reciprocal Act.

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