FAQ Index

    Questings

    A

    Accumulated Contributions: The total contributions made by the member.

    Administrative Rules: Official rules adopted by JRS that identify the meaning of JRS benefit provisions.

    Annuity: Monthly benefit payable to a retiree or survivor.

    Annuitant: Any retired member or survivor receiving a JRS benefit.

    Annual Pension Increase (Tier 1): A 3% pension increase on January 1 following the first full year of retirement. These annual increases are compounded on the previous year’s annuity. Pension increases are not limited to the 85% maximum.

    Annual Pension Increase (Tier 2): At age 67 or over, you will receive a pension increase of 3% or the full increase in the Consumer Price Index-Urban Consumers (CPI-U) on January 1 following your first full year of retirement. The annual increase is compounded on your previous year's annuity. Pension increases are not limited to the maximum retirement benefit.

    B

    Beneficiary: The beneficiary designated by the member to receive JRS lump sum death benefits. This should not be confused with the Group Life Insurance beneficiary or the Deferred Compensation beneficiary.

    Benefit Statement: The annual benefit statement summarizes the judge's personal account and benefits. It includes service credit, projected and accrued pension benefits, disability and death benefits, and lists the judge's beneficiaries. The statements are published annually to SRS Member Services in January for annuitants/survivors receiving monthly benefits and in August for active members.

    Board of Trustees: The Board created to direct the affairs of JRS.

    C

    Credited Service: The total service credited to a judge's account.

    D

    Defined Benefit Plan: A plan which provides a predetermined benefit amount using a formula combining service credit and salary.

    Direct Deposit: By enrolling in Direct Deposit, the retiree/survivor's benefit is electronically deposited into their bank account.

    F

    Final Compensation Tier 1: The judge's final rate of pay (final salary) is used to calculate pension benefits for a judge whose membership date is prior to August 10, 2009. For a judge whose membership date is from August 10, 2009 through December 31, 2010, JRS uses the 48 highest consecutive months of salary within the last 10 years of service as a judge to calculate pension benefits.

    Final Compensation Tier 2: Final average salary is the average of the 96 highest consecutive months of service within the last 120 months of service. The maximum retirement benefit is 60% of your final average salary.

    I

    Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS): The laws of the State of Illinois arranged in a numerical order that classifies the laws by their subject matter. ILCS numbers are used to cite laws in documents. JRS is governed by 40 ILCS 5/18, et al.

    IRS Form 1099-R: The annual tax form issued by the Office of the Comptroller that lists gross contributions, taxable & nontaxable amounts, and federal withholding.

    L

    Limiting Contributions Tier 1: A Tier 1 judge whose membership date is prior to January 1, 2011 can elect to limit contributions once eligible for a maximum 85% retirement annuity and is at least age 60.  Those who qualify and elect to limit contributions no longer pay full contributions to JRS.  Instead, contributions would be based on future salary increases.  Limiting contributions is irrevocable.  Benefits will be based on the final salary at withdrawal from service.

    Limiting Contributions Tier 2: A Tier 2 judge whose membership date is on or after January 1, 2011 can elect to limit contributions once eligible for a maximum 60% retirement annuity and is at least age 67.  For Tier 2 judges, limiting contributions is always based on the annual salary maximum as determined by the Department of Insurance.  Those who qualify and elect to limit contributions no longer pay full contributions to JRS.  Instead, contributions would be based on future salary increases.  Limiting contributions is irrevocable.  Benefits will be based on the final salary at withdrawal from service.

    M

    Maximum Annuity Tier 1: The maximum pension payable to a Tier 1 judge whose membership date is prior to August 10, 2009 is 85% of final salary as a judge.  For a Tier 1 judge with a membership date between 8/10/09 and 12/31/10, the maximum pension payable is 85% of the 48-month Final Compensation Tier 1 using the 48 highest consecutive months of salary within the last 10 years of service as a judge used to calculate pension benefits. 

    Maximum Annuity Tier 2: For a Tier 2 judge with a membership date on or after January 1, 2011, the maximum pension payable is 60% of the 96-month Final Compensation Tier 1 using the 96 highest consecutive months of salary within the last 10 years of service as a judge.

    Member: An active judge, or any former judge who has contributions credited to their account but has not received a refund, or is not receiving a retirement annuity.

    Member Handbook: Provides a general explanation of JRS benefits. It is intended to serve as a supplement to the annual Benefit Statement, which includes a member's personal information.

    Military Service: Service in the United States Armed Forces may qualify as optional service credit that can be purchased.

    O

    Optional Service Credit: Time served while not a member of JRS that can be purchased for additional service.

    P

    Panel: The newsletter for JRS members and survivors which contains timely and pertinent information. The Panel is published online in January for retirees/survivors and in August for active members.

    Pension: Monthly benefit paid to a retiree for life.

    Q

    Qualified Plan: A retirement plan qualified under the Internal Revenue Code allowing JRS and its members certain tax advantages.

    QILDRO: The Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO) allows for the division of a retirement benefit or a refund of contributions due to divorce.

    Qualified Survivor: A spouse or child designated by statute to receive a monthly annuity upon the death of the member.

    R

    Recalled: If you are recalled as a judge, your retirement annuity will be suspended. Upon returning to retirement, your benefit will be reinstated with an increase based on your additional judicial service. If you originally retired with the maximum annuity and return to service as a judge, upon returning to retirement, you will be given the 3% automatic benefit increase for each January during your recall service.

    Reciprocal Retirement Systems: There are thirteen Illinois public retirement systems participating in the Retirement Systems' Reciprocal Act.

    Reciprocity: A member who has at least one year of credited service in one of the thirteen Illinois Public Retirement Systems participating in the Reciprocal Act. Service under that system may be used when determining eligibility for a benefit from JRS.

    Rollover: Postponing taxation of distributions by transferring the payment to another qualified plan or an individual retirement account (IRA).

    S

    Service Credit: Time served with JRS. Service credit is part of the equation used to calculate JRS benefits.

    Survivor Annuity: A monthly benefit payable upon the death of a judge to a qualified survivor.

    T

    Tax-Deferred: Contributions made by a judge that are not taxed until a benefit is paid.

    TDD: Telecommunication Device for the Deaf. A means for our disabled members to communicate with our office.

    Temporary Total Disability: To qualify for this benefit, a judge must have at least two years of service as a judge, and the disability must occur while the judge is actively employed. The Board of Trustees must determine that the judge is totally disabled and temporarily unable to perform the duties of a judge. While receiving temporary total disability benefits, the judge's account is credited with service as if actively employed.

    Term of Office: Length of time elected or appointed for that particular judgeship.

    Termination Refund: A JRS member who terminates service as a judge may apply for and receive a refund of contributions without interest if:

    • Immediate eligibility to receive a retirement annuity has not been established.
    • The member has no immediate plans for returning to service as a judge. If a judge becomes divorced or widowed, he/she is entitled to a refund of contributions made for the survivor’s annuity. He/she must apply in order to receive this refund.

    Tier 1: A member of the Judges' Retirement System who first became a judge prior to January 1, 2011.

    Tier 2: A member of the Judges' Retirement System who first became a judge on or after January 1, 2011.

    W

    W-4P Form: This form is used to designate federal income tax withholding.

    Withdrawal: Severance of employment of a judge by resignation or dismissal.