Reciprocal Service Benefits

Cook County Pension Fund (CCPF) is a member of the 13 public pension systems covered under the Illinois Reciprocal Act. The Reciprocal Act allows you to combine service credit earned from state and local government employment within Illinois at retirement.  Review the Reciprocal Systems List that are covered under the Reciprocal Act . Employment with the Federal government and within states outside of Illinois is not included. Read more about reciprocity by viewing the Reciprocal Service Brochure.

Benefits of Retiring Under the Reciprocal Act

  • Service credit earned with different Illinois reciprocal retirement systems can be combined to receive a larger pension.
  • Each system uses your highest earnings when it calculates your pension.
  • In most cases, you will receive a higher combined benefit by retiring under the Reciprocal Act than if you retired separately with each system.

You Should Know

  • Reciprocity is optional. To find out if retiring under the Reciprocal Act would help you, contact the system you worked for most recently for a reciprocal estimate.
  • Generally, you must have at least one year (12 months) of service credit with each retirement system in order to combine service credit under the Reciprocal Act.
  • If pension contributions were previously refunded, they must be repaid. Payments may only be accepted while you are an employee of the County or while you are actively contributing to one of the Illinois funds that adopted the Reciprocal Act. (Contact the reciprocal system from which you received the refund for a repayment cost.)

Important Information About Reciprocity

  1. Reciprocal service is not allowed for overlapping (concurrent) service periods. If service credit from one system overlaps service credit from another system, a service reduction is required.
  2. When retiring, you should contact each system at least 60 days before your planned retirement date to apply for your pension.
  3. The maximum combined benefit payable under each system cannot exceed the highest monthly benefit payable if all service had been established in one system.
  4. Once you retire from a reciprocal system, any future return to work with another reciprocal system may require all systems to suspend annuity payments.  Inquire first before returning to work with a reciprocal system.
  5. Fund health benefit coverage can only be offered if the County was your final employer.

Example of Reciprocal Calculation

An employee has 8 years of County service plus 2 years of service with a reciprocal system. CCPF requires 10 years of service for pension eligibility.  Under reciprocity, employee would be credited with 10 years of total service to meet the minimum eligibility for CCPF.

The employee also has a Final Average Salary (FAS) of $3,000.00 per month. Both reciprocal systems generally use this same salary to determine employee pension benefit.

  • County service is 8 years and the County formula accrues at 2.4% per year.
  • Reciprocal system has 2 years of service with a formula of 1.67% per year.

Here is a sample calculation for Cook County and reciprocal pension.

County Portion of Reciprocal Benefit

 

FAS                                          $3,000.00

8 years @ 2.4% =                      19.20%

 

County portion per month         $576.00

Other System’s Portion of Reciprocal Benefit

 

FAS                                                      $3,000.00

2 years @ 1.67% =                                  3.34%

 

Other system’s portion per month   $100.20

 

In this example, employee total pension would be $676.20 per month, with a payment from CCPF of $576.00 and a separate monthly payment from the Reciprocal System of $100.20.