Tier 1 FAQs
May I work after I retire and still receive my Judge's pension?
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 accept employment in a public school district, junior college or university unless the position contributes to SERS. You may also work for the state in any temporary position except as a judge for 75 days or less per calendar year.
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?
Regardless of the pension payments made to you, your spouse will be entitled to a survivor benefit, assuming he/she is otherwise qualified and you have contributed to the survivor’s annuity provision.
What is the Retirement Systems' Reciprocal Act?
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.
As a judge I do not contribute to Social Security. When I retire, will my JRS benefit be affected?
No, your JRS benefit will not be reduced. However, you may want to contact the Social Security Administration because you may be affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) because you did not contribute to Social Security as a judge. This situation may result in an offset to your Social Security benefits.
Will my pension benefit cease after I have received payments equal to the contributions I made to JRS as an active judge?
No. Pension benefits are payable to a retired member for life, regardless of contributions.
How soon should I request an application for a JRS pension?
Approximately 90 days prior to your retirement, you should contact the Judges' Retirement System and request a pension application.
When is my first pension check paid?
Benefits are generally paid within six to eight weeks following your last day of employment and all required information and forms have been received by you and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. If you are retiring reciprocally, your benefit may take longer to process but will always be paid retroactive to the date you were first eligible.
When will I receive my future pension checks?
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. If you have signed up for direct deposit, your benefit will be electronically deposited on the 19th of each month, unless the 19th is on a holiday or weekend. In this case, the payment will be deposited on the last business day before the 19th.
Can I set up an appointment with a JRS representative to calculate my benefits?
Contact JRS at
(217) 782-8500 or by
email to request a benefit estimate or schedule an individual counseling session. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, JRS is currently offering telephone conferences instead of face-to-face appointments. We recommend that you request a benefit estimate prior to meeting with a JRS representative.
Can my pension benefit be divided because of a divorce?
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 survivor annuities or disability benefits. ( To download information and forms for a