Your eligible survivors, beneficiaries, or estate may qualify for death benefits. If you contributed to the survivor’s annuity provision, your surviving spouse may be eligible for a survivor’s benefit.
The survivor benefit is reduced by any amounts received under the Workers’ Compensation Act or Occupational Diseases Act.
Death Before Retirement
If you die while a judge and have at least 18 months of service credit, your eligible spouse will be eligible for the survivor’s benefit.
If you die after termination of service, but before receiving a retirement annuity, you must have at least 10 years of service credit for your spouse to qualify for the survivors’ benefit.
If you die with no qualified survivors, your named beneficiary or estate will receive all of your JRS contributions.
Death After Retirement
If you die with no qualified survivors while receiving a permanent disability benefit or after retirement, your named beneficiary or estate will receive your total contributions, less any benefits paid.
Your Surviving Spouse
If you are survived by your spouse age 50 or over, and you were married for at least one year prior to your death, (s)he will receive a survivor’s benefit.
A surviving spouse under age 50 can receive a survivor’s benefit if (s)he supports your unmarried children under age 18 (22 if full-time student), or a disabled child over age 18. This benefit is payable until the last child reaches age 18 (22 if full-time student), marries, dies or is no longer disabled.
At that point, the benefit is suspended until (s)he reaches age 50.
Unmarried children under age 18 (22 if full-time student), or disabled child over age 18, can receive a child’s annuity. Your child may apply for the child’s annuity, even if you did not contribute to the survivor’s annuity benefit. The child’s annuity is equal to 5% of your last annual salary, subject to the Tier 2 annual salary maximum. If multiple children survive, the total benefit may be subject to limitation and cannot exceed the greater of 20% of your last annual salary (Tier 2 annual salary maximum) or 66 2/3% of the annuity received or earned by you.
Annual Survivor Increase
The survivor benefit is increased by 3% or the annual unadjusted percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index-U, whichever is less each January 1 following the first full year of receiving this benefit. The increase is compounded based on the previous year’s survivor benefit. If the deceased member was an annuitant, the increase is effective on January 1 after the benefit began. The survivor’s increase is not payable prior to age 67.
Disabled adult children who receive a child’s annuity will become eligible for an increase equal to the lesser of: 3% or the annual unadjusted percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index-U as determined by the Public Pension Division of the Illinois Department of Insurance. The increase will become payable on the January 1 following the first anniversary of receiving the benefit, but in no event prior to age 67.
Spouse and Child Benefits