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   Frequently Asked Questions 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: May I work after I retire and still receive my Judge's pension?

A: Yes, with a few limitations. First, if you work in the private sector, your pension is not affected. Second, you may work for a county if you did not retire under the Reciprocal Act with the county fund. Third, benefits will also continue if you teach at a junior college or university. You may also work for the state in any temporary position except as a judge for 75 days or less per calendar year.

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 judge I do not contribute to Social Security. When I retire, will my JRS benefit be affected?

A: No, your JRS 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 judge. 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 JRS as an active judge?

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 JRS pension?

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

Q: When is my first pension check paid?

A: Benefits are paid as soon as we receive all required information and forms from you and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.

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 I set up an appointment with a JRS representative to calculate my benefits?

A: An appointment is not necessary. You may come to our office Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and a representative will discuss your benefits with you. We recommend that you request a benefit estimate prior to meeting with a JRS representative. Each year, one-on-one counseling sessions are held throughout the state. Please refer to our counseling section for the schedule.

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. The QILDRO does not apply to lump sum death benefits, survivor annuities, or disability benefits. ( To download information and forms for a QILDRO, click here.)

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