To: Faculty and Staff
From: University of Illinois Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits
Re: Q & A for Reconsidering Retirement
The following applies to employees who may be considering retirement or who may have submitted applications for retirement due to the pension changes enacted by PA98-599.
On May 15, President Robert Easter sent an email inviting employees to reconsider plans to retire after a judge postponed the June 1 implementation of the state’s new pension law until courts rule on its constitutionality.
The Q&A below outlines the steps that faculty and staff should follow if they want to explore continuing their service to the University, and the considerations involved in rescinding retirement plans.
What should I do if I’m reconsidering my retirement?
If the only action you’ve taken is submitting your retirement application to SURS, but you’ve not yet had the opportunity to notify your unit/department, then your primary action is to notify SURS via signed letter of your change in decision.
If you notified your unit of your intent to retire, contact your supervisor and unit HR representative as soon as possible. If you recently submitted an application for retirement to SURS, and you are interested in exploring the possibility of rescinding your retirement and continuing to work, your first step is to make your wishes known to your unit/department. DO NOT take steps to rescind your retirement with SURS unless and until you have received approval from your unit/department.
What is the process and deadline with SURS?
If you already have a submitted retirement application on file with SURS: Once you’ve received approval from your unit/department to continue employment, then you can contact SURS to rescind your retirement. You will need to provide your intentions to SURS in writing via a signed letter. If you already retired, you will need to repay all annuity payments (if any) that have been distributed to you. For a May retirement date, you must submit your signed letter to SURS to rescind your application no later than July 1, 2014. For a June retirement date, the deadline to rescind is no later than August 1, 2014.
What if I submitted forms to defer my final vacation and/or compensable sick leave payout to a 403(b) or 457 account?
If you rescind your retirement, you must also contact the University Payroll & Benefits (UPB) office if you already submitted forms to direct a Terminal Benefit Payout into either the 403(b) or 457 plan.
What if I recently retired and received a payout of my final vacation and/or compensable sick leave time?
You must pay back this amount in order to have sick and vacation balances restored. Contact your campus/central HR office to determine the amount and discuss your options.
How does my decision related to retirement impact health insurance?
If you elect to continue working: If you are actively employed during the current Benefit Choice period (May 1 – June 2), and you wish to make a Benefit Choice change for your health, dental, life or dependent coverage effective July 1, 2014, then you should complete the NESSIE Benefit Choice Enrollment form. In the event that you would choose to retire in the next few months, then UPB would transmit the Benefit Choice enrollment form to SURS on your behalf.
If you elect to retire: If you wish to elect health insurance coverage as a retiree, you must complete and submit the State of Illinois Group Insurance Program Participation Election Form that you will receive in your retirement packet from SURS. Please note:
- Employees who work the last pay period immediately prior to their retirement, and pay premiums for that pay period, will not have a break in health insurance coverage.
- Employees who did not work the last pay period immediately prior to their retirement, or did not pay premiums, may need to elect COBRA in order to avoid a break in coverage before their SURS health insurance coverage goes into effect. Retiring employees who may need to elect COBRA will automatically be notified by the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services.
Please be aware that if you do not elect health insurance coverage as a retiree, then your employee health insurance coverage terminates at 12:01 a.m. on the day following your last day of employment at the University.
Please contact SURS for specific eligibility criteria for health insurance after retiring from the University.
How does retirement impact the Flexible Spending Accounts?
Please note that retirees/annuitants are not eligible for the Medical Care Assistance Plan (MCAP) or Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP).
If you anticipate terminating state service, retiring, or going on an unpaid leave of absence during the FY2015 benefit plan year, then you are not eligible to participate in the MCAP or DCAP.
If you are undecided about an upcoming retirement and wish to participate in MCAP or DCAP if you are working on July 1, then you should complete the Benefit Choice NESSIE MCAP and/or DCAP enrollment forms to ensure participation during the FY2015 plan year.
Who can I contact with benefits and insurance questions?
While you are still working at the University, you may contact University Payroll & Benefits (UPB) with any questions about Benefit Choice, transitioning from health insurance as an employee to health insurance as a retiree, or the MCAP/DCAP plans. After retirement, you need to contact SURS with insurance questions.
Where can I get assistance to help me make my decision about retirement?
If you are eligible for retirement and need an annuity calculation/estimate (i.e., you have not had one yet this year), please visit the SURS website or contact SURS at 800-275-7877 to schedule an appointment. If you already had a SURS counseling appointment and received an estimate for an annuity date prior to July 1, then you do not need a new estimate. Please note that the University’s Benefits and HR offices cannot provide retirement counseling. Only SURS can provide retirement counseling.