General Assembly Retirement System (GARS)
FOIA Information 5 ILCS 140/4(a)
If you are a GARS member and have questions about your benefits, you do not have to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to receive an answer from GARS. Please contact GARS at (217) 782-8500 for any membership inquiries.
Submitting Requests & Response Time
GARS accepts FOIA requests through mail and email. GARS responds to all public record requests in compliance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140. If any requested records will be used for a commercial purpose, this must be disclosed when submitting the request. GARS responds to non-commercial record requests within five business days and within 21 days for all commercial requests. GARS business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. GARS observes all state holidays. A record request is considered received on the next business day if submitted during non-business hours or on a State holiday.
GARS does not charge a fee for requesting electronic or most paper records. GARS will provide records in an electronic format whenever possible to reduce printing costs associated with FOIA requests.
Brief Description of the General Assembly Retirement System
The following information is provided in compliance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/4.
The General Assembly Retirement System was established as a public employee retirement system by state statute on July 1, 1947 for the purpose of establishing an efficient method of permitting retirement, without hardship or prejudice, of General Assembly members and certain elected state officials who are aged or otherwise incapacitated, by enabling them to accumulate reserves for themselves and their dependents for old age, disability, death and termination of employment. The System's enabling legislation is in the Illinois Pension Code at 40 ILCS 5/2-101.
Key Statutory Provisions
GARS benefits are governed by Articles 1, 2, and 20 of the Illinois Pension Code, 40 ILCS 5/1, 40 ILCS 5/2, and 40 ILCS 5/20. GARS administrative rules are in Title 80, Subtitle D, Chapter IV, Part 1700 of the Illinois Administrative Code. GARS is also subject to other laws, rules and regulations as an agency of the State of Illinois.
GARS members fall into the following categories: active, inactive, annuitant, or survivor. Active members are current General Assembly members and elected state officials that are contributing to the System. As of June 30, 2020, there were 124 active contributing members.
Inactive members have service credit in the System but are no longer contributing. As of June 30, 2020, there were 51 inactive members of GARS.
Annuitants are persons receiving a retirement annuity. Survivors are persons receiving a survivor annuity or reversionary annuity. As of June 30, 2020, there were 318 annuitants and 109 survivors.
The GARS operating budget for fiscal year 2021 is $346,240. During fiscal year 2020, GARS administered $25.8 million in retirement and survivor benefits. At June 30, 2019, GARS had $63 million available for benefits.
The System's main office is located at 2101 S. Veterans Parkway, Springfield, IL 62704.
The GARS Board of Trustees employs a Secretary responsible for the administration of the System. GARS shares 5 full-time staff with the Judges’ Retirement System.
The 7 member Board of Trustees is responsible for the general administration of the System as authorized by 40 ILCS 5/2-127. The Board is composed of the President of the Senate or his designee, 2 members of the Senate appointed by the President, 3 members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker, and one person elected from the member annuitants under rules prescribed by the Board. GARS Board of Trustees.
The Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI) has the fiduciary responsibility for managing the pension assets of the General Assembly Retirement System. The ISBI maintains a wide diversification of investments within the ISBI Commingled Fund which is intended to reduce overall risk and increase returns. The Chairperson of the GARS Board of Trustees serves as a member on the Illinois State Board of Investment.
The Illinois State Board of Investment is located at:
Illinois State Board of Investment
180 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2015
Chicago, IL 60601
List of Records Immediately Available From the General Assembly Retirement System
General and detailed information about GARS is available on the
GARS website: such as retirement publications and fact sheets, financial and actuarial information and reports, tax information, general contact information and office hours, Board meeting minutes and agenda, active member and retiree newsletters, and frequently asked questions pertaining to membership and benefits. In addition, the System makes the following records immediately available to the public:
- Annual Financial Reports
- Financial Report Summaries
- Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes
- Annual Actuarial Valuations
- Member Handbooks & Publications
- Various Benefit Packets & GARS Forms