Main Content

2013 Pension Changes for TRS Ruled Unconstitutional

Public Act 98-0599 (Senate Bill 1)

Updated: August 1, 2018

Issue: The Illinois Supreme Court ruled unanimously on May 8, 2015 that a comprehensive plan to overhaul the Illinois Pension Code, Public Act 98-0599, was unconstitutional.

Public Act 98-0599, otherwise known as Senate Bill 1, was signed into law by former Gov. Pat Quinn on December 5, 2013. The goal of the new law was to stabilize TRS finances and eliminate the System’s unfunded liability by 2044, primarily by reducing benefits for retired and active members and creating funding guarantees and contribution levels that would have gradually, over 32 years, fully funded TRS.

Discussion: The Supreme Court decided that changes in benefits enacted by the law violated the Pension Protection Clause of the Illinois Constitution. This decision is the final chapter in a 16-month-long legal challenge to Senate Bill 1.

With this decision, for the foreseeable future TRS members in Tier 1 and Tier 2 will see no changes in their retirement benefits and the administration of these benefits. The current retirement benefit calculations, cost-of-living-adjustment calculations, active member contribution rate, all retirement eligibility standards and current laws governing teacher pensions will not change.

Here is a link to the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in this case: 
Supreme Court's Decision