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   Social Security Offset   

Public Act 095-1043 Removes the Social Security Offset

The General Assembly passed legislation removing the Social Security offset on SERS survivor benefits. This new legislation, signed by Governor Quinn, will take effect July 1, 2009.

How It Works
If an SERS member contributed to SERS and Social Security, a benefit offset is applied to the SERS widow or survivor benefit, when the survivor becomes eligible for Social Security benefits.

Survivors
SERS survivors currently receiving a survivor benefit may have had their benefit reduced by the Social Security offset. This offset will be removed on July 1, thus increasing their survivor benefit.

Pre-’98 Retirees
All SERS retirees who began receiving benefits before January 1, 1998 will have the offset removed from future benefits for their survivor at no cost to the retiree.

Post-’98 Retirees
SERS retirees who began receiving benefits after January 1, 1998 but before July 1, 2009 will have a one-time election period (April 16–May 31) to reduce their retirement benefit by 3.825% monthly, in exchange for removing the offset from future benefits for their survivor.

Future Retirees
Any member who retires after July 1, 2009 will have the option at the time of retirement to remove the offset provision. In exchange for the removal, SERS will reduce the member’s retirement annuity by 3.825% monthly.

SERS will be sending letters to retirees and survivors impacted by this legislation. Approximately April 16, letters will be mailed to members who retired after ‘98. Approximately June 19, letters will be mailed to all survivors and pre-’98 retirees.


Legislation Link to Public Act 095-1043


   Social Security Offset Q & A's   

Social Security Offset Q & A's


Q: If I retired in 1997, will I get a letter explaining my situation?
A: Yes, a letter will be mailed to you on or around June 19, 2009.


Q: If I retired in 2001, will I get a letter explaining my situation?
A: Yes, an explanatory letter and an election form will be mailed on or around April 16, 2009.


Q: If I am currently receiving a survivor benefit, will I be notified of any changes?
A: Yes, a letter will be mailed to you on or around June 19, 2009.


Q: If I retired after 1998 and I elect to participate in the offset removal, when will I notice the 3.825% reduction on my pension check?
A: The reduction will be applied to your July 2009 pension benefit.


Q: If my spouse retired before 1998 and subsequently passed away, is my survivor benefit affected by the offset?
A: Yes, if a Social Security offset is currently applied to your SERS survivor benefit, the offset will be removed on July 1, 2009.


Q: Should I expect to receive a letter from the State Employees’ Retirement System explaining the offset provisions?
A: Not necessarily. Letters will only be mailed to benefit recipients affected by this legislation.

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