How to Calculate Illinois State Retirement

How to Calculate Illinois State Retirement
••• state seal of illinois image by Jan Ebling from

If you work for the state of Illinois, the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) is one of the benefits that you might receive. The State Retirement System in Illinois offers two different retirement tiers, depending on when you joined. The most common question about SERS is, At what age can you retire in Illinois?

Understanding the State Retirement System - SERS

When you start a job with the State of Illinois, you become eligible for the retirement system after ​six months​ of employment. Once you are eligible, your contributions will be taken out of your paycheck as pre-tax earnings. Every year you work, you will receive service credits that will count toward your retirement. The minimum years of service to receive retirement is ​eight or 10 years​, depending on when you joined the system.

Illinois Retirement Age

SERS has two tiers that you must consider when answering the question, "At what age can you retire in Illinois?"

If you joined the system before January 1, 2011, you can retire at age 60 if you have a minimum of ​eight​ years of service credit. With ​25​-​30​ years of service credit, you can retire between ​55​ and ​60​, but your benefit will be decreased.

If you joined SERS after January 1, 2011, you must work until age ​62​ before you retire. How long do you have to work for the state of Illinois to get a pension? If you are a Tier 2 employee, you must work for at least ​10​ years. You must wait until age ​67​ to receive the full amount. Retiring at age 62, or before the age of ​67,​ will decrease the amount you receive.

Pension Calculator Illinois

You might be wondering how to calculate your pension amount. The Illinois state retirement system offers an Illinois state retirement calculator that will help you determine your benefit amount. To use the calculator, you must know your hire date, retire date, annual salary, reciprocity type, unpaid break days and the effective date of the benefit. If you converted from disability to retirement, the amount will be different from the amount shown on the calculator.

The amount you will receive is based on the years of service credit and the highest salary earned for ​48​ consecutive months. If you are covered by Social Security, your amount is calculated at ​1.67​ percent. If you are not covered by Social Security, it is calculated at ​2.2​ percent.

If you are a teacher in the state retirement system, you will receive benefits from the state retirement system and you are eligible for many additional perks. To collect under this system, you must have ​10 years​ of service and be ​67​ years old. There is a salary cap for the calculation of retirement, and it is subject to cost-of-living increases. Many factors determine the exact amount that you will earn, such as how long you were actively contributing to the system and whether you are receiving annuities or disability retirement.

What state has the best retirement system? Illinois does have one of the top systems, but you have to consider the average cost of living in the state. A state that gives you a higher retirement pension might also have a higher cost of living, leaving less for you. The best place to find answers about how much you will receive in retirement is your state SERS office.