The Alternative Formula applies to members in certain positions with 20 years of alternative service. Members eligible for the alternative formula may retire at age 60 with 20 years of service.

Benefit Claims

In order to receive any benefit, you must apply for it and provide proof of age. All benefit claims should be made to the Claims Division. Your agency’s Retirement Coordinator can assist you in filing a benefit claim. After you begin receiving benefits, you should notify SERS if you change your name, address, or if you wish to change your beneficiary(ies) for the lump sum death benefit. All SERS records are maintained according to your Social Security number. Make sure your Social Security number is correct when filing a claim.

All benefit claims and appeals are reviewed by the SERS Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. If your claim is denied, or you question the payment of any benefit, you or your representative may file a written appeal or request a hearing before the Executive Committee.

Final Average Compensation

For an alternative formula employee, pension increase of 3% or one-half of the Consumer Price Index for the preceding year, whichever is less, following your first full year of retirement after age 60. These increases are not limited by the 80% maximum.

Unused Sick Leave

Unused and sick leave can be used to meet service eligibility requirements and increase your retirement benefit. This additional service credit does not affect final average compensation (11-21 days sick & vacation leave equals one month of service credit). unused sick leave chart

Paid Vacation Time

If you receive a lump-sum payment for vacation, or personal days when you retire, you may establish credit for this time to meet service eligibility requirements and increase your retirement benefit by making the required contributions on a pre- or post-tax basis (11-21 days of sick, vacation and personal leave equals one month of service credit). unused sick leave chart

Positions Eligible for Benefits Under the Alternative Formula

  • State Policeman
  • Fire Fighter
  • Security Employee with the Department of Corrections or Juvenile Justice

Normal Form of Payment

Your retirement benefit is paid monthly for your lifetime, but you can choose several optional forms of payment.

Optional Forms of Payment

Level Income: This option allows members who have paid into SERS and Social Security to receive their benefits at a level amount throughout their retirement years by combining their Social Security and SERS benefits. The Level Income option can be helpful when a member retires before the age when (s)he qualifies for a Social Security benefit.

Under the Level Income Option

A member retires at age 60 with a monthly pension of $1,800 from SERS. The member is also eligible for a monthly Social Security benefit of $1,000 at age 66.

At Age 60

The member’s monthly SERS benefit would be $2,323.50, and increase 3% each year to $2,774.38 per month by age 66.

At Age 66

The member’s monthly SERS benefit would be reduced to $1,774.38, because the Social Security benefit of $1,000 per month would begin. The member’s combined monthly benefit would still total $2,774.38.

Reversionary Annuity

Reversionary Annuity: This option reduces your monthly retirement benefit to provide a lifetime income for your designated dependent after your death. The monthly amount paid to your dependent after your death, may not be less than $10, and may not exceed the amount of your reduced benefit. This benefit is in addition to the survivors’ benefit.

Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO) (QILDRO forms)

A QILDRO allows for the division of a retirement benefit or a refund of contributions due to divorce. It 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.

Returning to Employment After Retiring

If you return to state employment after retirement, you must notify the SERS Claims Division immediately. If you return to state employment on a contractual basis or to the private sector, your SERS benefit is not affected.

Nonpermanent Reemployment

If your employment with the state lasts less than 75 working days during a calendar year (any part of a day is counted as a full day), you will continue to receive your pension payment. During your employment, you make no contributions to SERS but you must contribute to Social Security. If you work more than 75 working days, your pension benefit will end on the 76th day, and you will resume contributing to SERS.

Permanent Reemployment

If you are reemployed by the state on a permanent basis, you will not be eligible for pension benefits while working. You will make contributions to both SERS and Social Security during your employment, and earn additional credited service. After you again retire from state employment, you must reapply for a pension. Your new pension amount will be the total amount before reemployment, plus the amount earned during your reemployment.

If you reenter state service within three years after the date you retired, you may qualify to have your new retirement benefit computed as though you never retired. To qualify, you must repay all of the money you received, plus interest. This repayment may be made in a lump sum, by installments paid within five years after your reemployment, or before your next retirement date, whichever is first. If you choose not to complete installment payments before retirement or the end of the five-year period, your installment payments will be refunded and your pension will not be recomputed.