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   Survivor/Death Benefits  

Survivor/Death Benefits

This information reflects the laws governing JRS. Your specific benefits are based on the laws in effect on your last day of employment. In order to receive any benefit, you must apply for it. All benefit claims should be made to JRS. After you begin receiving benefits, you should notify JRS if you change your name or address. All JRS records are maintained according to your Social Security Number.

First Survivor, Widow, Annuity Payment

After JRS receives your survivor application along with the other required information, process your first annuity payment within 45 days.

The first annuity payment is mailed by the Office of the Comptroller directly to your home. A Notice of Benefit Approval containing information about your annuity, and a tax brochure explaining the taxation of your annuity is mailed at the same time.

Attached to the annuity check is a payment stub that shows the amount and all payments made in a calendar year.

Future Survivor, Widow, Annuity Payments

Future annuity payments are mailed on the 19th of each month, unless the 19th is on a weekend or holiday. Then they are mailed on the last working day before the 19th.

Allow up to 10 days to receive your payment. If you don’t receive it in the allotted time, contact our office. Failure to advise JRS of an address change can result in a delay of payment.

Direct Deposit (Electronic Funds Transfer)

When you apply for benefits with JRS, you will receive a Depository Agreement form, along with an explanation of this program. If you choose Direct Deposit, have the form completed by your financial institution and return it along with your application for benefits.

With this Depository Agreement, your first two payments are mailed to your home. All future payments are deposited into your bank account on the 19th of each month, but a payment stub is not generated for each payment.

Instead, the Office of the Comptroller periodically issues earning statements providing you with the information that would appear on the payment stub.

Taxation of Survivor Annuity Payments

Illinois law exempts all Judges Retirement System benefits from state income tax, but federal tax is due. When you initially apply for benefits, JRS will send you IRS Form W-4P, “Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments” as part of your benefit application.

The W-4P lets you elect not to have taxes withheld, or to designate the amount of taxes withheld from your annuity. If the W-4P form is not completed, we withhold taxes at the rate for a married individual claiming three exemptions.

The Office of the Comptroller is also required to issue an IRS Form 1099-R by January 31 of each year. This form shows the annuity amount you received for the past year, the portion that is taxable, and any federal or state income tax withheld. This form is used to prepare your income tax return, and should be attached to the IRS Form 1040 when you file.


Remarriage of a surviving spouse does not disqualify the spouse from JRS benefits.

Lump Sum Death Benefits After Retirement

When an annuitant dies and no survivor annuity is payable, the nominated beneficiary on file with JRS will receive any lump sum death benefit. This payment would consist of the contributions left in the annuitant's account, minus the total amount of pension payments received.

The Office of the Comptroller is required to issue a 1099-R to the beneficiary by January 31 of the year following the receipt of this payment.

The 1099-R will show the taxable portion of the lump sum, the portion attributable to capital gains and ordinary income, and any tax withheld.

Survivor/Death Benefits

First Payment
Future Payments
Direct Deposit
Taxation of Survivor Annuity Payments
Lump Sum Benefit After Retirement
Retiree & Survivor Handbook
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