Retirement (Traditional & Portable Plans)

Retirement (Traditional & Portable Plans)

  • Apply for Retirement

  • Receive Preliminary Estimated Payment (PEP)

  • Information Gathering

  • Claim Finalized

  • Time Varies
  • 30-60 days or on elected retirement date, whichever is later
  • 60-90 days
  • 120 days for non-Reciprocal claims or 180 days for Reciprocal claims

Members must complete the required paperwork to apply for retirement, including a Retirement Application, W4P, and insurance paperwork (if applicable).  SURS would like to receive your application at least 60 days prior to the effective date of retirement so we can begin processing your claim. 

To obtain the required SURS paperwork:

  • Dial Toll Free:  800-275-7877
  • Dial Direct:  217-378-8800

 Online: 

The following additional documents are also needed, if not already on file with SURS:

  • Birth verification for member and any eligible survivors:

If a survivor’s birth certificate and marriage certificate are not on file, SURS cannot pay a survivor benefit. For proof of you or your survivor’s birth date, SURS will accept a photocopy of one of the following documents:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport
  • Baptismal Certificate
  • Grade School or High School Records
  • Military Discharge Papers
  • Social Security Verification Letter

If you are married, please submit a copy of your marriage certificate.

If you are divorced or your spouse is deceased, SURS may require a copy of your divorce decree or a copy of your spouse’s death certificate.  SURS will contact you if this documentation is required.

If you have established at least one year of service credit with any of the other 12 reciprocal systems, you must contact those systems to request an application for their portion of the benefit.  You will receive a benefit payment from each system with which you have established service credit.

 A listing of all Reciprocal Systems and their contact information is available here.

SURS attempts to provide the best possible service to its members by processing benefits in a timely manner.  To achieve this goal, SURS will send you a PEP beginning on the date your retirement annuity begins or within 30-60 days of receipt of your application, whichever is later, provided your birth date and Medicare eligibility (if applicable) has been verified by SURS.  This PEP is a portion of what your actual benefit will be.  The PEP is not the same amount as the estimate you may have had calculated by a Member Service Representative and will not include the following:

  • Current year earnings and/or vacation payments
  • Reciprocal credits
  • Additional credit for unused/unpaid sick leave
  • Additional service credit purchased after your Application for Retirement Annuity is received

To finalize your retirement claim, SURS will need to gather information from your SURS-covered employer(s) and any applicable reciprocal systems.  In addition, SURS may request additional information from you. 

Information from employer:

SURS requests information from your employer that is required to finalize your claim. A request may be made for any, or all, of the following:

  • Termination Report
  • Basic Compensation or Academic Contract Information
  • Part-time Service Verification

Information from you:

In some cases, SURS may require additional information from you or require that you complete additional paperwork.   A request may be made for any of the following (if applicable):

  • Copy of your eligible survivor’s birth verification
  • Copy of your marriage certificate
  • Copy of your divorce decree or your spouse’s death certificate
  • Medical documentation for disabled child
  • Application for Refund of Survivor Contributions – Click here for more information
  • Application for Waiver of Excess Contributions/Service – Click here for more information

Information from Reciprocal System(s):

If you are retiring from SURS and another retirement system in Illinois under the provisions of the Reciprocal Act, an exchange of information is needed in order to calculate the retirement benefit.

Average processing time is currently 120 days from the later of the retirement date or the application received date for non-reciprocal claims.  It is 180 days from the later of the retirement date or the application received date for reciprocal claims.

Delays in finalizing retirement claims:  There are many reasons why a claim may not be finalized within the average processing time.  The following are the most common:

  • Receipt of employer information:   The response time of your former employer affects the processing time required to finalize your claim.  If the information reported by your employer is inconsistent with the information SURS has on file, SURS will contact the employer for clarification.
  • Response from you:  If SURS requests additional information or paperwork from you, it must be submitted before your retirement can be finalized.
  • Reciprocal Certifications:  If you elect to retire under the provisions of the Reciprocal Act, the claim generally takes longer because SURS is required to receive a reciprocal certification from the other system(s).