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GARS members have recently been targeted by a variety of phishing scams, including emails, phone calls, and text messages that attempt to impersonate or imply affiliation with GARS.

The fraudulent emails may provide links, including DocuSign, and allege to provide the member with the option to sign up and receive their monthly GARS benefit payments four days early by providing personal financial information, including bank account information.  GARS does not offer an early benefit payment option or request personal or banking information by email or use of DocuSign.  Please note that our emails are always sent from an email address.

Phone calls and Text messages
Several members have recently reported receiving unsolicited phone calls and text messages from individuals claiming to be associated with GARS.  These individuals initially contact the member by phone call or text message and attempt to set up counseling appointments with the member, generally through a follow-up email and/or text message.  These phone calls have been received on State landlines and State issued cell phones.  GARS does not contract with anyone outside of the agency to contact members about retirement counseling appointments or other financial services. GARS does not cold call members for retirement consultations, and only schedules retirement counseling appointments at the request of the member.

If you receive a suspicious email, call, or text message that purports to be GARS that you suspect is a scam, please report this activity to the GARS call center at 217-785-7444. Information that you provide can help GARS prevent and detect schemes that impact our members. 

GARS Tier 1 Permanent Disability Benefits

If you become disabled and unable to perform the duties of your position, you may receive disability benefits which will partially replace your working income.

Retirement Annuity for Permanent Disability

If you are permanently disabled, you may receive a retirement annuity if you have at least eight years of pension credit and your disability occurs while you are a legislator. The GARS Board of Trustees must determine if you are totally and permanently disabled and unable to perform your elected position.

Applying For and Receiving Permanent Disability Benefits

You must apply for disability benefits and provide a copy of your birth certificate. The application process requires you to obtain two physician's reports certifying you as unable to perform the duties of your position, and also requires you to sign a GARS medical release form.

Your disability benefit equals your earned retirement benefit and is effective on the day following your removal from payroll. You will receive a 3% increase on January 1 or July 1 following your first full year of receiving a retirement annuity for permanent disability, but never before age 60.