Full Refund

Full Refund Eligibility

To be eligible for a full refund of your pension, you must have separated from Cook County or Forest Preserve employment and you must be off payroll for at least 30 days.  When you take a full refund, you lose all of your service credit and you forfeit all rights to any benefits offered as a participant to the Cook County Pension Fund (CCPF).

You can Take a Refund If:

You can Take a Refund If:

You stop working for your County employer and you meet one of the following requirements:

If you are Tier 1 

  • You are under age 55
  • You have less than 10 years of service

You stop working for your County employer and you meet one of the following requirements:

If you are Tier 2

  • You are under age 62
  • You have less than 10 years of service


Full Refund Amount

A full refund includes all of your contributions that you made to CCPF along with 3% interest credited to your account that is earned while you are a Cook County employee.

Important Note: Upon separation from employment, interest stops accruing on your account.  

Application for Full Refund

If you decide to take a Refund, here is the process:

  1. Contact the CCPF office at (312) 603-1200 or by completing the Contact Us form immediately following your last day of employment and an application will be sent to you.
  2. Complete the application and return to the Fund with a copy of your photo I.D.*.
  3. A letter of acknowledgement will be sent upon receipt of your application - if any required documentation is missing, this will be noted on the acknowledgement notice.
  4. CCPF will coordinate with your last place of employment on status and payroll.
  5. Upon completion of the appropriate process, the refund check will be mailed to you.

*Your refund application must include a copy of your photo I.D. Processing of your refund can be delayed if a copy of your photo I.D. is not included with your completed refund application. 

A Full Refund Application takes at least 8 weeks to process following receipt of your final paycheck or application date, whichever is later.  All refund checks will be mailed to your residence. If you have elected to rollover any portion of your refund, this rollover check will be mailed to your residence and it is your responsibility to send the rollover check to your financial institution accepting the rollover.

Full Refund Options

  1. Rollover –To avoid any Federal taxes and early withdrawal penalties, you may elect a direct rollover of your refund to an IRA or to another qualified retirement plan (like Deferred Compensation). This is considered to be a direct rollover and we would make your refund payable directly to your rollover institution.  You may elect to rollover a portion of your refund and then taxes would apply only to the taxable amount you do not rollover.
  2. Non-Rollover – If you choose not to rollover your refund, we are required by federal law to withhold 20% of the taxable portion for federal taxes. If you are below the age of 55, in addition to your regular federal income tax, you may also be required to pay an additional 10% early distribution penalty at year-end when filing your taxes.

Understanding Tax Consequences

Federal Tax Withholding

Federal law requires that we must withhold 20% as payment for Federal taxes.  This applies to any taxable portion of your refund that is not rolled over but made payable directly to you.

State Taxes

The State of Illinois does not tax your refund. If you now reside in another state, contact your State’s revenue department for tax liability.

When taking a refund, most if not all of your contributions were pre-taxed (not previously taxed).  When the refund is issued to you it is a taxable event.  If you are below age 55, in addition to having to pay ‘normal’ federal tax, you may also be subject to a federal early withdrawal penalty (additional 10%).  When applying for a refund it is very important to understand your options.

Federal Tax Reporting

A 1099-R will be distributed to you in January following the year the refund was processed.  It is important to keep your address up to date if you move after receiving the refund.

Consult Your Tax Advisor

Make sure you understand and consider tax consequences when applying for your refund. Consult your tax advisor if you have further questions.

  • Once a refund check has been issued, you cannot change or amend your tax election from a direct rollover to non-rollover, or vice-versa.
  • Refund checks cannot be sent electronically to your institution.