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February 2024

The Member Guide provides an overview of your TRS benefits. You are a member of Tier 2 in the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS) because you first contributed to TRS on or after Jan. 1, 2011 and you have no pre-existing creditable service with a reciprocal pension system prior to Jan. 1, 2011.

A member first contributes to TRS on his or her first day of paid service.

Public Act 96-0889, which was signed into law in spring 2010, added a new section to the Pension Code that applied different benefits to anyone who first contributed to TRS on or after Jan. 1, 2011 and did not have any previous service credit with a pension system that has reciprocal rights with TRS. These members are referred to as “Tier 2” members. Changes from the “Tier 1” pension law include raising the minimum eligibility to draw a retirement benefit to age 67 with 10 years of service, initiating a cap on the salaries used to calculate retirement benefits, and limiting cost-of-living annuity adjustments to the lesser of 3 percent or ½ of the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index, not compounded. 

The new pension law does not apply to anyone who has TRS service prior to Jan. 1, 2011. These members remain participants of Tier 1, not Tier 2.

This guide has been prepared to answer general questions that you have about us, the services we offer, and your responsibilities as a member or an annuitant. We make every effort to provide you with the most current information, including rule changes enacted by our Board of Trustees and benefit changes resulting from legislation. This guide includes legislative changes signed into law as of June 15, 2023.

Effective June 1, 2011, Illinois law entitles a party to a civil union to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits as are afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.

For information about changes that have occurred since the publication of this guide, see our Topics & Report newsletter.

It is our policy to comply with all applicable federal and state laws, rules, and regulations. If there is a conflict between information contained in this guide and the applicable law, rule or regulation, the law, rule or regulation takes precedence.