Q&A

You have questions? We have answers. Read on for our responses to some commonly asked questions below. If you cannot find the answers to your questions, you can submit your question here. We will get back to you with the answer.

Retirement

What is the best date to retire?

The school year is divided into pay periods. We recommend that you retire at the end of a pay period.

What should I do when I’m ready to retire?

Before you resign from your employer, arrange to meet with a pension resource specialist, who will review your record and explore the options available to you.

What steps must I take once I decide to retire?

You must submit a resignation form to your employer. You will also complete a retirement application and submit it, along with the required documents, to CTPF. For more information about the retirement process, visit our retirement checklist.

When will I receive my pension checks?

It can take up to 60 days to process your retirement application and issue your first pension check. After you receive your first payment, we will mail future checks to you on the last business day of each month. If you have requested direct deposit, we will deposit your check into your bank account on the first business day of the month. To sign up for direct deposit, fill out our form here.

What will happen to my pension if I go back to work?

Depending on the job you take, we may suspend your pension. Read more about returning to work here.

Calculating Your Pension

What is the 2.2 upgrade?

We use a step-rate formula to calculate pension benefits for service credit earned before July 1, 1998, and a flat 2.2% formula for service earned after that date. If you taught before July 1, 1998, you can enhance your pension by upgrading to the 2.2% formula. All of your service will be calculated based on the 2.2% formula. You can learn more about the 2.2 upgrade here.

What does it cost to upgrade to the 2.2% formula?

If you choose to upgrade, you must upgrade all the service you earned before July 1, 1998. Your upgrade cost is equal to the number of service years you are upgrading multiplied by 1%, and then multiplied by your highest salary in the four years before you apply for the upgrade. Your cost to upgrade is capped at 20% of the salary used in the calculation. We reduce the number of years used in your upgrade calculation by one year for every three years you taught after July 1, 1998. If you have 30 years of total service or more, you will receive the 2.2 upgrade at no cost to you.

How can I pay for the 2.2 upgrade?

You have several options for paying for your upgrade:

  • A personal check payable to CTPF before you retire
  • A tax-deferred rollover of funds from a 401(k), 403(b), individual retirement account or other qualified pension plan before you retire
  • A payroll deduction in equal installments over no more than five years before you retire
  • Deductions from your pension payments in equal installments over two years after you retire

I have pension credit in another Illinois retirement system. Will this credit count toward my pension?

If you contributed for one year or more to an employer that is part of the Illinois Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act, you may be eligible to retire with a reciprocal pension. You can read more about reciprocal pensions here.

Will my pension change if I’m not married or in a civil union?

If you are single, divorced or widowed when you retire and you do not have minor children, we will refund your survivor pension contributions to you without interest. If you marry or enter a civil union after retirement, you or your spouse or party to a civil union may re-establish a survivor pension by repaying the contributions with 5% compounded interest.

Do unused sick days count toward my pension?

You can count a maximum of 244 unused sick days toward your total service.  

Will my family receive any pension benefits after my death?

CTPF benefits include survivor and death benefits, which you can learn about here.

Health Insurance

Am I automatically enrolled in a health insurance plan when I retire?

No, you will need to choose health coverage for you and your family. You can learn about the options we offer here.

When do you send out health insurance subsidy applications?

If you are enrolled in a CTPF insurance plan, your subsidy will be included in your pension check automatically. If you have other health coverage, we will send you a health insurance subsidy application, typically in March. You can find more information about the health insurance subsidy program here.

If I am receiving COBRA coverage through my former employer, do I qualify for a health insurance subsidy?

You may be eligible for a subsidy of your COBRA costs. Your spouse’s portion is not eligible for a subsidy, however, unless he or she is also a retired teacher from Chicago Public Schools or a related charter school.

Do you cover dental services?

We do not offer a dental plan. The organizations listed here may offer dental coverage:

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