State Universities Retirement System (SURS)
The State Universities Retirement System of Illinois (SURS) is a qualified 401(a) retirement plan that provides retirement, disability, death, and survivor benefits to eligible SURS participants and annuitants.
Illinois Central College determines your eligibility to participate in SURS. Generally, you will participate if your position requires you to work continuously for at least one academic term of 4 months, whichever is less, and your employment is not temporary, intermittent, or irregular. Your SURS participation ends on the date you retire or terminate employment with a SURS covered employer.
You are NOT eligible to be covered by SURS if, among the criteria:
- You are a student regularly attending classes at a college or university that participates in SURS and are employed on a part-time, temporary basis at that college or university
- You were employed under the Comprehensive Employment Training Act on or after July 1, 1979
- You hold a J-1 or F-1 Visa and have not yet established residency status
- You are currently receiving a retirement annuity from SURS
New members must choose a retirement plan within 6 months from the date SURS receives your employment at ICC. Information is sent to all new members, along with an election form to help you make your choice. If no choice is made within the 6 months, employees are enrolled in the Traditional Benefit Plan. Please note that your enrollment is permanent and cannot be changed.
Types of Plans
SURS members must choose one of three retirement options:
Traditional Benefit Plan
This is the historical SURS defined benefit retirement plan. It provides lifetime retirement benefits and provides for a survivor benefits at no additional cost. However, the separation refund feature is not as generous as the Portable Benefit Plan.
Portable Benefit Plan
This is also a defined benefit retirement plan that has much in common with the Traditional Benefit Plan. It provides a more generous separation refund if you leave the system. However, the provisions for survivor benefits require a reduction to the retirement and each benefits.
This is a defined contribution plan that establishes an account in your name into which your contributions and ICC’s contributions are placed. You decide how your funds are invested, selecting from a variety of mutual funds and variable annuities.
For more information regarding SURS check out the SURS resource page.
Selecting a Plan
After SURS is notified about your employment, they will send you a detailed Choice Packet to your home address.
You have six months from your initial date of employment to select one of the three plans. This is a lifetime, irrevocable decision. Eligible employees who do not choose a plan within six month will be automatically enrolled in the Traditional Benefit Plan.
Your choice of plans will determine the SURS benefits available to you for life and cannot be changed or revoked.
Note: If selecting the Self-Managed Plan, the employer (State) contributions will only begin with the first full payroll period after SURS receives your SMP election.
SURS participants are broken into two tiers based on their start date.
- Tier 1 – SURS participants prior to January, 1, 2011
- Tier 2 – SURS participants on or after January, 1, 2011
See the chart breakdown for differences in tiers.
SURS and Social Security
Federal Social Security does not cover Illinois Central College employees eligible for SURS because the College does not contribute to the Social Security System. No Social Security taxes are withheld from your earnings. The only way to receive Social Security retirement benefits is if you have worked for other employers who have contributed to the Social Security System. However, under the Social Security law, there are two ways your SURS pension may affect or reduce any Social Security benefit.
For more information read the Social Security website regarding information for government employees.
Return to Work – 60 Day Rule
According to the Pension Code Section 15-139, employees who are “retiring” must have a true 60 days of separation between them and their employer before returning to work, if they decide to do so. SURS has become aware of some employees “retiring” on a certain date and then trying to remain at work during the 60 day period. For more information regarding the 60 Day Rule, read the memorandum from SURS COO Andrew Matthews below.
Want more information regarding your retirement? Check out the fact sheets below for easy reference or visit the SURS website at http://www.surs.org/fact-sheets.