Return to Work – Employee Restrictions
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If you return to work with a SURS-covered employer, you must notify SURS of this employment, and you must also inform the SURS-covered employer that you are a SURS annuitant.
For Tier I annuitants (participation began before January 1, 2011), there are no limitations on post-retirement earnings if you return to work with an employer who is not covered by SURS.
If you are a Tier II annuitant (participation began on or after January 1, 2011), you must also notify SURS if you obtain full-time employment with an eligible reciprocal system covered under the Illinois Reciprocal Systems Reciprocal Act. You must also inform that reciprocal system you are a SURS annuitant.
Click here to view a list of SURS employers.
Click here to view a list of reciprocal systems.
Retirement Savings Plan: There are no limitations on post-retirement employment.
Traditional/Portable: The following limitations apply to SURS-covered employment. In addition, if you are a Tier II annuitant, full-time employment with an eligible retirement system may lead to a suspension of your SURS annuity during that employment.
- You must wait 60 calendar days from your annuity begin date before you may return to work in any capacity with a SURS-covered employer. You must have a clear separation from SURS-covered employment and no agreement, written or oral, to return to a SURS-covered employer at the time of retirement. If you do not satisfy this requirement, your annuity will be suspended.
- You will be subject to an earnings limitation. The amount of this limitation was provided to you on the Certification of Retirement Annuity. This limit does not apply if you took a Portable Lump Sum Retirement Benefit instead of the monthly annuity option.
- Retirement before age 60: Your base monthly earnings from a SURS-covered employer cannot exceed your current base monthly annuity. The earnings limitation is increased each year by an applicable automatic annual increase.
- Retirement at 60 or later: Your earnings from a SURS-covered employer during any academic year after you retire combined with your annual base annuity from SURS may not exceed your highest earnings during any academic year before your retirement.
If you return to SURS-covered employment or you obtain full-time employment with an eligible reciprocal system (Tier II annuitants only), you must contact SURS. This does not apply to Retirement Savings Plan annuitants.
- Dial Toll Free: 800-275-7877
- Dial Direct: 217-378-8800
SURS will request the following information:
- What your earnings will be when you return to work
- The date you will return to work
- How long you will be returning to work and if you will exceed your earnings limitations
If your post-retirement earnings do not exceed the applicable earnings limitation, no further action is required on your part.
If your post-retirement earnings do exceed the applicable earnings limitation, SURS will request that you follow up this phone call with a letter confirming the information you provided to SURS via phone.
If your post-retirement earnings exceed your earnings limitation, SURS will provide you with an estimate of your options. The average processing time for these estimates is 60-90 days. Review the letter carefully to determine which option best fits your situation. This does not apply to Retirement Savings Plan annuitants or Portable Plan members who elected the Lump Sum Retirement Benefit.
Option 1: You may elect to receive only the portion of your benefit that is based on your employee contributions. The portion of the benefit based on employer contributions would not be paid to you for the period during which you exceed your earnings limitation. Since you would still be receiving an annuity from SURS, you would not contribute to SURS. When your post-retirement employment ends, the employer portion plus the associated automatic annual increases will resume.
Option 2: If your post-retirement employment will continue for at least nine months, you have an additional option. You may elect to suspend your entire annuity and resume contributing to SURS. The additional contributions and service credit will provide you with an additional annuity. When your post-retirement employment ends, you will “re-retire.” At that time, the original annuity plus associated automatic annual increases will resume and be increased by the amount of the additional annuity. Two different Final Rate of Earnings (FRE) and formula calculations will be performed.
Points to consider:
Taxable Income: Under Option 1, you will still be receiving a taxable annuity from SURS in addition to your salary from your employer. Under Option 2, you will not receive an annuity from SURS; therefore, only the earnings you receive from your employment will be considered for taxation purposes.
Loss of Income: Under Option 2, you will forfeit all the annuity payments that would have been due to you for the period of time you return to work. In addition, you will be required to pay contributions on your earnings while re-employed.
Effect on Insurance: Under Option 1, your insurance program will remain the same, if applicable. Under Option 2, SURS will no longer serve as the withholding agent for your insurance. You should check with your employer to determine your eligibility for the insurance benefits they provide.
Affected Annuitant: Returning to work for a SURS-covered employer may cause you to become an Affected Annuitant under Public Act 97-0968. Please refer to the Annuitant Return to Work – Employer Restrictions Life Event for further information.
Once you have determined which option you want, you must implement that option. This does not apply to Retirement Savings Plan annuitants or Portable Plan members who elected the Lump Sum Retirement Benefit.
Option 1: You and your employer must notify SURS, in writing, of the date your employment will begin and the monthly salary you will be earning.
Option 2 (if applicable): You must file the Election to Forego the Receipt of Annuity Payments During Reemployment form provided to you with the estimate.
When your reemployment ends, you must contact SURS:
- Dial Toll Free: 800-275-7877
- Dial Direct: 217-378-8800