On July 29, 2016, Public Act 99-0682 was signed into law allowing certain Traditional Plan annuitants the opportunity to repay their survivor refunds taken at retirement in order to make survivor benefits available to their spouse/civil union partner. Eligible SURS retirees may restore their survivor's benefits by making a one-time, irrevocable election to repay their lump-sum survivor contribution refund or additional annuity, with interest.
To be eligible, a SURS annuitant must meet the following requirements:
- Be retired before June 1, 2011, and received a refund or additional annuity equal to the amount of his or her survivor contributions at retirement; and
- Be party to: (1) a civil union or out-of-state marriage that was effective or recognized in Illinois as a "civil union" on or after June 1, 2011; (2) an in-state marriage that was effective on or after February 26, 2014; or (3) both.
This does not apply to members who were married in Illinois or had out-of-state marriages recognized in Illinois as "marriages" prior to February 26, 2014.
To make the election, annuitants must complete and return the Repayment of Refund Election Form to SURS, along with proof of their valid marriage or civil union, on or before Dec. 28, 2017, the end date of the one-year election period. The election form and more detailed information are available at www.surs.org or by clicking the links below.
After receiving the election form, SURS will provide the annuitant with a letter that includes the cost for repayment and the payment options. The cost will include the amount of their lump-sum survivor contribution refund, or the total of all survivor contributions that were elected to be paid as additional annuity payments, plus interest on each of those payments from the original date the payment(s) were issued up to the date of repayment. Interest will be compounded at the actuarially assumed rate of return, which is currently 7.25 percent. Payment must be completed prior to the death of the annuitant and received no later than 24 months from the date the election to repay is received by SURS.
You may also contact the SURS office at 800-275-7877 or 217-378-8800 with questions.