Illinois Teacher Retirement

Last Updated on March 17, 2024 by Ben

Illinois Teacher Retirement

Illinois Teacher Retirement is the topic of this blog post. Illinois Teacher Retirement benefits are based on age, years of service, and final average salary. The retirement benefit for those who qualify depends on their average salary over their career, with a minimum amount set by statute each year (Illinois). Illinois teacher retirement is not solely based on one’s monthly earnings but rather an average over one’s entire teaching career.

ahg top banner

Teachers’ Retirement System (Illinois)

In Illinois, the Teachers’ Retirement System pays for retirement, death, and disability benefits to teachers who work at schools without the City of Chicago.

Retirement benefits are made up of three things. Your age, your average salary at retirement, and how long you have worked for the company. In 2016, TRS had 406,855 members and processed more than $5.8 billion in benefits.

One of the benefits for retired teachers is TRAIL or the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Program. These are a few Medicare Advantage plans that you can choose from when you retire. This was hardly the case back on February 1, 2014. Prior to this date, retired teachers had a program that was similar to a Medicare Supplement Plan F.

TRS provides retirement benefits for people who have careers outside of Chicago. Teachers in the state can retire with money when they stop working, and it’s one way that Trequent rainfall State helps fund teacher salaries throughout its’ vast teaching system!

TRS is an equal opportunity employer. They want to hire people if they are qualified and if they have the skills that the company needs. The company will make decisions about who to hire, who should be promoted, and what kind of discipline someone should get based on what the person has done for them in the past.

Retiring in Illinois

The Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System assists teachers in managing their lives as future retirees. The system has over 100,000 retired teachers for 2011 year. They gave out over $4 billion to those people.

This retirement system is capitalized by a combination of state and teacher contributions. This keeps the system strong. Teachers in Illinois contribute 9.4% of their monthly salary to a defined benefit plan that provides lifetime retirement benefits for them and their fellow teachers.

When you are at the age where people usually retire and stop working, you can get money from your work. You might get full benefits if you are 67 years old with ten years of work experience or reduced benefits if you are 62 years old with ten years of work experience.

Understanding Your Options As a Retired Teacher

If you are a constituent of the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program, you can get healthcare from the State of Illinois. You have to pay money for it. It will cost money because it is expensive. You must have at least eight years in TRIP to get this health insurance.

The TRAIL program provides health coverage for eligible people. These are people over 65, or disabled, or who have kidney failure. Their dependents can also get this coverage. This is a Medicare prescription drug plan – MAPD (Illinois Department of Central Management Services).

You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan if you are retired from being a teacher and enrolled in Parts A and B. You will get drug coverage with this plan.

All Illinois counties have an HMO, OAP, and TCHP option.

  • HMO: Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) are insurance plans that make you stay within the network of providers. If you go out of this network, then they won’t pay for anything. Members need to select their primary care physician or PCP. The PCP will help them get all the healthcare that they need and make a referral if they need it.
  • OAP: There will be three tiers of providers from which people can choose to get services. Tier I is a network like an HMO that offers more benefits and operates in the same way. In Tier-II, there are more providers. It is a blend between an HMO and PPO. In Tier III, all types of providers are not in the networks of Tiers I or II (out-of-network providers).
  • TCHP: When you are a TCHP member, you can go to any doctor or hospital for medical care. You will get more benefits when you go to a TCHP in-network provider. That way, your costs will be lower and more manageable. TCHP has an insurance company called Aetna. It has a lot of providers in it.

In Macon County, you have the following options for the 2021 benefit year:

  • Aetna HMO
  • BlueAdvantage HMO
  • Health Alliance HMO
  • HMO Illinois
  • Aetna OAP
  • HealthLink OAP
  • Teachers’ Choice Health Plan (TCHP)

If you get Medicare and choose an HMO or OAP, your monthly premium is $112.89. Your dependent beneficiary would be $391.07 a month.

ahg mid banner

The Illinois Early Retirement Incentive

The Illinois Teachers Retirement System is a type of pension plan. When you work for the government, you pay money into the system. You can retire and get money back from it. During the time period, employees paid 9% of their earnings to social security. This was matched by employers. The benefits were calculated based on how long you worked and what your salary is when you retire. You could get 75% of your end-of-career salary as a retirement benefit from Social Security.

In order to get retirement benefits, you must be a teacher with Illinois Public Schools and meet the following age requirements: 55 years old or 60 with 10+ years of experience. A teacher with a minimum of 20 years of experience and who is 55 or older can start collecting pension benefits. But the amount will be lower if they are not 60 years old yet. There is an option for early retirement. You need to have worked at least 20 years with our company and receive employment benefits from us already. When you retire, then both the employer and employee will pay a one-time fee.

In 1992-1993 and 1993-1994, employees were offered an ERI (early retirement incentive) alternative to the standard early retirement option. This ERI (End of Service Retirement Incentive) was called “5+5.” It allowed employees to buy up to 5 years of age and service credit.

As long as the member was at least 50 years old and had five years of service credit, she and her employer could pay a one-time fee to increase her retirement benefit. The teacher retired immediately. Employees were charged 4% of their highest yearly salary for each additional year of age and service. Employers were charged 12% of an employee’s highest yearly salary for each year purchased.

How Do Teacher Pensions Work in Illinois?

In Illinois, teachers are a portion of the Teacher’s Retirement System of Illinois. Teachers who work in the system were established in 1939 and are Illinois’s largest public retirement system.

The teacher’s pension in Illinois is like other pensions. You pay your own money, and the state or school district pays money too. But unlike other pensions, it does not matter how much you pay for the teacher’s pension because that does not determine the benefits you get when you retire. Teachers get money when they retire. They get money from the years they worked and their final salary. Their pension is not based on how well investments do, but on how much time they spent teaching and their final salary. Finally, most states, including Illinois, have different types of pay for teachers. Depending on when you were hired, you might get paid more or less than someone else.

Illinois teachers have the opportunity to enjoy a comfortable retirement with their monthly salary. When you retire, your state-funded benefits will provide for all of your needs!

You may get full benefits if you are 67 years old and have ten years of work experience. If you don’t but are 62 years old with ten years of work experience, then your benefits will be reduced.

How Are Teacher Pensions Calculated in Illinois?

Pension wealth is a calculation that is based on a formula. The Illinois teacher pension calculation looks like this: It considers the last eight years of the teacher’s salary and averages their highest salaries during those eight years. For example, a teacher who labors for 25 years with a final average salary of $70,000 would be eligible for an annual pension benefit worth 55% of their final salary.

When people retire, they get a pension. It is about 2.2% of their final average salary multiplied by how many years they have worked. But it can be up to 75% of the final average salary if you work for a long time. The final average salary is calculated over the ten best years of teaching. It starts with the 4th year and counts up to the 10th year of teaching.

How Much Does Illinois’s Teacher Pension Plan Cost?

Teachers and their employers must save money for retirement. That is how they can have enough money to live on when they get old. The state legislature sets the rates each year. In 2018, teachers contributed 9.81% of their salary to the pension fund. The state contributed 30.86%. That is a total of 40.67% of their salary that went to the Illinois teacher pension fund.

Not all of that investment proceeds toward benefits. The state contributes 8.27% to teachers’ pensions, and the individual teacher contributes 9.81%. The difference of 22.59% is to pay down the debt that was made from previous years.

In Illinois, as in Nevertheless most states, teacher pensions are not portable. This means that if a teacher leaves the TRS, even if they continue to work, they cannot take their benefits with them. If someone leaves teaching and then moves to another state, they will have two pensions. But these two pensions together are not as much money as if the person had stayed in one system for their whole career. This means that the lack of benefit portability will hurt the long-term retirement savings of any educator. If they leave teaching or cross state lines, they will get less money in their retirement.

Illinois is very different from other states. Illinois teachers get the best retirement benefits for the longest time. This means they get more money and a bigger pension. But other people don’t have enough money in their retirement.
New teachers in Illinois should think about their career plans. And current teachers should think, too. They have to do that because of how the state’s retirement plan works against those with disabilities and those with medical conditions or pregnancy. Those who have fought for our country deserve special treatment too.

ahg top banner


The Illinois Teacher Retirement System (TRS) is the largest statewide public pension system in the country. Illinois Teacher Retirement can help you prepare for your future retirement and current health needs. As living expenses and health care costs continue to rise, these benefits will protect you from being sidelined by financial difficulties. If you’re an employee of the state of Illinois or a public school district in that state, it is encouraged you take advantage of this opportunity.

Scroll to Top