Faculty & Staff

State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA)

As you think about today, tomorrow, and many years down the road, it’s important you understand who is here working on your behalf to ensure your financial future is safe and secure. The State Universities Retirement System (SURS) and the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) are strong partners for you and your family.

Why You Should Join SUAA

SUAA is your voice in the State Capitol: through voice, action, mission and visibility. Our work is often done behind the scenes, but here is how we are working every day to make a difference for our members.

Legislative Difference

Stopped Constitutional Threats

  • Represented all SURS participants and beneficiaries by suing the State of Illinois over Senate Bill 1 (Public Act 98-055), pension reform. The Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional, saving the average pensioner HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS over the course of their retirement
  • Led the charge to defeat adding a new section to Article XIII of the State Constitution, which would have been an attack on SURS employees and retirees
  • Continue to actively lobby the Legislature to prevent changes to the Constitution that would harm SURS retirees and active members, such as the “pension clause”

Promoted Higher Education’s Future

  • Stopped legislation that would create a slippery slope toward abolishing tuition waivers for university personnel, that ultimately could target community colleges next
  • Continuing to support legislation to strengthen health care and pension benefits for SURS members in Springfield
  • Advocating for protecting and preserving the College Insurance Program (CIP health benefits)
  • Protected faculty forced to take furloughs during the state’s budget crisis
  • Working to preserve Illinois’ higher education system as a critical, quality commodity for Illinois, through the Higher Education Creates Jobs campaign and other advocacy

Keeping You Informed

  • Using SUAA Mini-Briefings and our website and social media pages to provide regular updates from legislative and court action that affects you: your workplace, your healthcare, your retirement, your future

How SUAA Serves Community College Members

Our No. 1 goal at SUAA is to provide clear, meaningful benefits for every member – whether they’ve been retired after a 30-year university career, or just started on the job a few months ago. Here is a look at how SUAA helps community college employees and retirees who are members of SUAA under the various SURS plans.

All Members

In the Know

  • Committed to monitoring all legislation that would affect higher education

More Funding

  • Lobbying for increased support for higher education, including spearheading a statewide advocacy campaign called “Higher Education Creates Jobs.” The campaign, emphasizing how higher ed is critical for creating jobs and a healthier Illinois economy, earned kudos from the IL Press Association

Employment Issues

  • Working on employment issues for community colleges, such as the 6 percent salary increase cap

In the Courts

  • If we can’t stop legislation from passing, we go to court and win to protect your benefits

Tier 1 (hired before January 2011)

Protecting Your Jobs and Benefits

  • Won the lawsuit in 2015 to defeat the pension reform legislation that would end your annual cost-of-living increase (COLA) and keeps thousands of dollars in your pocket each year from your Tier 1 retirement plan
  • Fight in every legislative session proposals that would threaten your pension and COLA. We will fight for you at every step
  • Put up a strong fight against anyone who wants to change the “pension clause” in the Illinois Constitution that ensures you get the retirement you are entitled to have
  • As a Tier 1 member, you are entitled to health insurance. We will keep you updated on health insurance changes and make sure the College Insurance Plan (CIP) is there when you need it

Tier 2 (hired in January 2011 and after)

Protecting Your Jobs and Benefits

  • Taking on the unfair Tier 2 pension plan to ensure newly hired employees have the retirement benefits they deserve
  • Making sure the Tier 2 plan meets the standards required by the Social Security Safe Harbor Provision
  • Tier 2 members are entitled to health insurance at retirement. We will be vigilant to provide updates on plan changes, and will ensure the College Insurance Plan (CIP) will be there when you need it

Self-Managed Plan (SMP)

Protecting Your Jobs and Benefits

  • When you retire in the self-managed plan, you have the option to change your plan to an annuity – and then you are entitled to health insurance. We will be vigilant to provide updates on plan changes, and will ensure the College Insurance Plan (CIP) is there when you need it
  • Self-managed plan participants must make investment decisions offered by SURS when you retire. If you don’t, your funds are then invested in a default investment fund. We have worked to provide you with the ability to transfer balances out of default investment funds during select time periods designated by SURS
  • We advocate for equitable employer retirement contributions. The state’s contribution averages about 9.1 percent of the total earnings of all SURS participants in the Traditional and Portable plans. But the state contributions toward SMP equal 7.6 percent of earnings. Up to 1 percent of that is used to provide you with eligibility for disability benefits.