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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. 

Tier 2 Retirement Benefits


A Tier 2 GARS member must have a minimum of 8 years of credited service with GARS to receive a pension benefit.

You may retire:

  • At age 62 with eight years of credited service (reduced 1/2 of 1% for each month under age 67). If you take a reduced benefit, it is effective throughout your retirement.
  • At age 67 with eight years of credited service.

Tier 2 benefits are based on your final average salary and your total credited service. Final average salary is the average of the highest 96 consecutive months of service within the last 10 years, with yearly earnings subject to the annual salary maximum (as determined by the Illinois Department of Insurance). This benefit is paid for your lifetime. The maximum retirement benefit is 60% of your final average salary.

Please contact GARS approximately 90 days prior to your retirement date to request a retirement application packet. The effective date of your pension is the day following your last paid day of service or the date you reach minimum retirement age, whichever is later.

Your Retirement Benefit

Your retirement benefit is based on your final average salary and credited service using the following formula:

  • 3% for each year of GARS credited service

The table below displays the percentage of final average salary that GARS members with 8 to 20 years of GARS service credit will receive at age 67.

For members with at least 8 years of service, benefits payable at age 67 are based on final average compensation.

Years of Service Percent of Salary


24 %


27 %


30 %


33 %


36 %


39 %


42 %


45 %


48 %


51 %


54 %


57 %


60 %


A member is age 67, has 20 years of credited service, and an eight-year average of $68,039.50:

20 years x 3% =60%

60% x $68,039.50 = $40,823.70 annually or $3,401.98 per month. This member’s reduced retirement benefit at age 62 is $28,576.63 annually or $2,381.38 per month because of the 1/2 of 1% reduction.

Annual Pension Increases

If you retire at age 67 or older, you will receive a pension increase of 3% or the annual unadjusted percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index-U, whichever is less, on January 1 or July 1, whichever occurs first, following your first full year in retirement. If you retire prior to age 67, your first increase becomes effective on January 1 or July 1 after you turn age 67 and have received pension benefits for at least one full year. The annual increases are compounded on the previous year’s annuity. Pension increases are not limited by the 60% maximum retirement benefit.

Reversionary Annuity

This option allows you to elect to reduce your monthly retirement benefit to provide a higher lifetime income for your survivors after your death. This election should be filed with GARS at least two years prior to your contemplated date of retirement. This benefit is paid in addition to survivor benefits. If the reversionary annuitant dies after the participant’s retirement, the reduced annuity being paid to the retired member will remain unchanged.

Returning to Employment

As a Tier 2 retiree, your GARS benefit will be suspended if:

  • You become a full-time participant in GARS or any other Illinois reciprocal retirement system.
  • You retired using the Reciprocal Act and exceed the post retirement employment limitations in a reciprocal system from which you are receiving retirement benefits.

Your benefits will continue if you:

  • Accept private employment.
  • Work for the US government.
  • Work in a public sector position outside of the state of Illinois.

It is your responsibility to notify GARS immediately of your reemployment.

When Benefits are Paid to You

  • You pay no state income tax.
  • You will pay federal tax on most benefits. Specific information will be furnished when benefits are payable.

The best tax treatment for you depends on your individual financial situation. The System advises all members to check with a qualified tax consultant or financial planner before receiving benefits or refunds.

See the list of systems that participate in the Retirement Systems' Reciprocal Act.