Effective July 1, 1999, the Illinois Legislature passed the Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO) Law, which allows for a division (whole or partial) of an employee’s benefit to be payable to an alternate payee. An alternate payee qualifies as only the following:
- Current or former spouse
- Civil union partner
- Child or other dependent
Under state law, your retirement benefits may not be paid to anyone other than (you) except to an alternate payee pursuant to a court ordered (QILDRO). Without the submission of a QILDRO, the Cook County Pension Fund (CCPF) may only pay benefits to the member and death benefits to the member’s designated beneficiaries.
CCPF is not subject to any court orders other than a QILDRO.
How to Start the QILDRO Process
The QILDRO packet is a set of four documents. These documents may be downloaded from the links below or may be requested by contacting CCPF at (312) 603-1200. Most QILDROs relate to a divorce. An attorney or an alternate payee may request information pertaining to your pension account. This information request may be made by submitting a subpoena to CCPF accompanied by a $25.00 processing fee payable to the “Cook County Pension Fund.” Upon receipt, CCPF would provide a “Customized Candidate Statement,” which includes pertinent information to aid in the completion of a QILDRO. A statutory fee of $50.00 payable to the Cook County Pension Fund is required when submitting any court-approved QILDRO. If not submitted, the order will be rejected.
Because this was a new law effective July 1, 1999, a member who was first employed prior to this date must sign a “Consent Form.” By signing this consent form you are allowing a court-ordered QILDRO to be accepted even though you were first hired prior to the effective date of this law. For any member first hired on or after July 1, 1999, your benefits are subject to any valid court-ordered QILDRO without consent.
While you are working, future benefits are still undetermined. Therefore, many judges approve a QILDRO Court Order, which puts CCPF on notice that your benefits are to be divided in the future to an alternate payee. As part of this court order, a judge may provide the alternate payee with a set dollar amount or may provide the alternate payee with a marital portion (a percentage). When a percentage is awarded to an alternate payee, a calculation order will be required and is typically completed when the employee finally separates from service and applies for benefits to be disbursed. Benefit distributions may include any retirement annuity, any full lump-sum refunds, any partial refunds, and any death benefits.
The QILDRO Application Consists of the Following Forms:
- QILDRO (Instructions): Outlines all the rules, timelines and regulations for completing a valid order.
- QILDRO (Consent Form): This form must be completed if you were employed prior to July 1, 1999.
- QILDRO (Court Order): This is the actual Order that a judge must sign.
- QILDRO (Calculation Order): This is the Calculation Order a judge must sign if a percentage is allocated to an alternate payee. (Again, this form is usually submitted when the employee terminates employment and an ”exact" calculation of final benefits is determined.)
- Only QILDRO forms adopted and produced by CCPF will be accepted as a valid Order. Please do not create your own set of forms.
- CCPF has no obligation to pay any amount that would not have normally been paid to the employee.
- A QILDRO may be submitted against a current benefit (someone already retired) or against a future benefit (if still employed or not in payment status).
- CCPF has no obligation to calculate or validate that the court-ordered amount is correct.
- There are timelines that must be followed; please read the QILDRO instructions carefully for these schedules.
- CCPF has no obligation to find an alternate payee for the implementation of a QILDRO. It is the responsibility of the alternate payee to maintain a current mailing address so that when benefits do become payable in the future, contact may be made with the alternate payee. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of benefits.
This is just a brief summary of the QILDRO provisions. Please refer to the QILDRO instruction packet for additional detailed information. The official QILDRO authority is contained within the Illinois Pension Code, 40 ILCS 5/1-119.