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Illinois Police Pensions/Benefits


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  • Illinois Police Pensions/Benefits

    I was looking for any information on the Police Pension System in Illinois. Please post anything you think that may be helpful. I purposely left this topic open for discussion. Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by southpaw26; 03-02-2014, 02:13 AM.

  • #2
    There is a myriad of different systems that police officers in Illinois may participate in based on the type of department, size of the community, etc.

    For example (loosely):
    - communities 5k population and up create a "Downstate Pension Fund"
    - communities under 5k may have the option of their officers participating on a regular IMRF pension (illinois municipal retirement fund).
    - sworn sheriff's personnel participate in an IMRF version called SLEP (sheriffs law enforcement personnel). The fund is similar to a "Downstate Police Pension".
    - Public university police participate in the state education pension system.
    - railroad cops participate in the railroad retirement system
    - Chicago PD and ISP have their own funds if I am not mistaken.

    Of course someone will ask what is best. I don't even know anymore considering most police pensions are now tiered depending on your hire date. For now I am Downstate tier 1. That means I can retire at 50 years old with 20 years on. That makes me happy. Tier 1 for SLEP is similar however I am sure us tier 1's will be screwed with in short order.

    Hope this helps. I wish it was a simpler answer.
    Formerly "TheAxolotl"


    • #3
      Yup, above sums it up well. Multiple systems, not one "universal" program like some people believe there is. My pension is funded by my municipality. I love when some people think all Police pensions are part of the (cue buzzword) pension crisis. Nope, the state of IL doesn't fund mine and it's not the reason the state is broke.


      • #4
        And generally, if you were hired before 2011, you get 50% of your averaged out best 3 or4 years out of 10 years pay and must be at least 50 years old to start collecting. You get an additional 2.5% for every year after 20 added on until you hit 75% of your pay. If hired after 01/2011, you have to work until 55 to get the above and if you retire before you're 55 yoa, you get , I believe, 2.5% deducted for every year before 55 yoa. In reality, now it makes sense to get on at 25 yoa, as if you get on at 21, you have to work 34 yrs for max pension vs 30 yrs if you were hired before 2011.

        This covered the Downstate Pension Fund (most suburbs) and Chicago Police and Fire Pension Funds. Who did get screwed were University of Illinois Police who went from being 50 to retired to 67 yo to retire. So if you get on U of I PD at 21, get ready to work 46 years for them to get a retirement.

        Downstate Pension Fund is better than CPD's. We get a 3% cost of living (COLA) increase per year ONLY if you were born before 1955. Those born after get 1 1/2% when they hit 60 yrs old, where Downstate gets the 3% COLA each year regardless of when you were born. The City would move that date up every few years, but when the pension shiate hit the fan, it stalled at 1955, thus screwing your's truly.
        Last edited by ChiTownDet; 03-02-2014, 10:24 AM.


        • #5
          Thank for getting this started @BoyWithStick! I know the newer people are going to get screwed out of this deal the most, but I also know of places out of state offering deferred compensation (basically a police 401k) ONLY, so Tier 2 with most suburbs isn't anything to complain about (hopefully once we get on first!). At this point I will work for free! @Dogcop, this is a good place to set the record straight, so thanks for clarifying that as well because the media always makes things worse for ratings and to sell their "story". @ChiTownDet, I thought it was interesting that the changes might work in the favor of a 25/26 year old when getting to the point of retirement. Thanks again guys...please keep the discussion going with any new or useful information.


          • #6
            Speaking of deferred compensation, most places here have that, in addition to your pension plan. I highly advise anyone getting otj to start putting into it as soon as you get hired. Believe it or not, just putting in $100 per check (actually only about $60 of your net pay), over the course of 25 years can give you upwards of $130K. You can easily have $500K plus in it by retirement if you throw a few hundred per check in it.

            Single, young, getting otj. Put off buying every toy, vehicle, electronic gizmo on the market, and put a few bucks in deferred.

            Retirement comes around quicker than you think.
            Last edited by ChiTownDet; 03-02-2014, 10:01 PM.


            • #7
              Very helpful information.


              • #8
                ^^^Exactly what he said! Hey ChiTownDet or anyone, is it better to go through PDs 401k, 457b plans or just start your own savings? Is it like those risky market deals or secured money they match? I apologize for getting ahead of myself but I guess it's never too early to start thinking about that stuff.


                • #9
                  I pay close to attention to what pensions departments offer or plans they offer. It's helpful to know how each works and get advice/tips from people who are already in the field!


                  • #10
                    Read next post.
                    Last edited by ChiTownDet; 03-03-2014, 03:56 PM.


                    • #11
                      No Dept that I know of matches your contribution to a deferred comp plan. It's either put in a more or less fixed fund or you can decide how to divide it and what mutual funds you can put it in that are part of your dept's deferred comp company.

                      The Dept makes a contribution to your pension fund. The pension fund trustees decide of how to invest that money to get the highest return for the fund.

                      Just in case some aren't clear, a PENSION fund is what you will be enrolled in when hired. DEFERRED COMPENSATION fund is a voluntary money contribution you can enroll or not enroll in.

                      You cannot withdraw money from your pension fund. You can from deferred comp, only under certain circumstances and with a heavy penalty. Pension fund contribution, as of now, in Ill is 9% of your pay. Deferred comp you can raise or lower your contribution each check. You can put $50 a check or up to a certain % of your pay. Both are deducted before your pay is taxed. You pay tax on them as you are paid out after you retire.
                      Last edited by ChiTownDet; 03-03-2014, 03:53 PM.


                      • #12
                        After reading the above post I think it's time for me to sign up for deferred comp. It just seems like the smart thing to do considering the long term benefits.
                        Gov Blagojevich - "I'am the American dream...."


                        • #13
                          Oh okay...that makes more sense to me @ChiTownDet. I think I was confusing the two. I'm glad to see this is benefiting current officers as well^. I don't think we could go wrong with smarter investing for the future (now) and I might thank you hopefully 25 years down the line too, lol!


                          • #14
                            Def comp can be a "risk" depending upon what risk you want to take. Back in the late 90's early 00's it was booming and I was literally almost doubling my money. Then the crash happened and I lost thousands in a few month. I got gun shy and then had them move it into a fixed interest earning. I'll probably get adventurous again. In simple terms, the younger you are the more chance you can take, the closer to retirement, have it in safer investments. Either way, unless you want an early withdrawal penalty, you can't take the money out until retirement age anyway. So money in a 457 is not liquid, it's an investment. The best way is have pretax 457, so that lowers your tax burden in the mean time.

                            Edit: I didn't read ChiTownDet's answer word for word, and I went back to read it and see he covered the points better than I did. Ha
                            Last edited by dogcop; 03-06-2014, 09:16 AM.


                            • #15
                              Especially for younger guys, new otj, without home mortgage interest deductions, or heavy medical deductions, it's the best way to knock several thousand $$ off your gross and lower the tax bite each year. If you start it as soon as you start, especially a small amount ($100-$200 per check), as your pay goes up (and it goes up quickly most places within that start to 3yr-5yr mark: the raises seem to fly at you with the step increases and union contract increases) you won't even miss that money.

                              Here's the max amounts that you can put into your deferred per year (From Nationwide Deferred - City of Chicago )

                              2014 Deferral Limits1

                              Standard Deferral

                              Age 50+ Catch-up

                              Special 457(b) Catch-up
                              up to $35,000
                              Last edited by ChiTownDet; 03-06-2014, 09:49 AM.


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