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Warning! Many SERS members have recently received unsolicited, potentially misleading emails from companies not affiliated with SERS offering retirement counseling. These emails may appear to come from SERS or appear to represent SERS, they do not. SERS encourages members to be cautious of email solicitations and skeptical of any attempts by outside firms to request personal or financial information. SERS will NEVER contact you asking for personal information. If you are within a year of retirement and need an appointment, you can request an appointment by emailing or by calling (217) 785-7444.

JRS Tier 1 Optional Service Credit

NOTE: All optional credit must be purchased prior to retirement.

There are several types of optional service available to purchase. To inquire about your eligibility to establish additional service credit, contact Judges Retirement System at (217) 782-8500. JRS requires documentation to determine eligibility and provide estimated costs. You will be notified in writing of any amount due, and the credit that may be established.

If You Withdraw Your Contributions and Later Return to Judicial Service

You will be eligible to repay your refunded contributions plus 4% interest annually, and have your previous credited service restored if you again become a participant in JRS. Payments may be made in a lump-sum, or by installments on a pre-tax or post-tax basis.

If you become a participant in another Illinois reciprocal retirement system, you will be eligible to repay your refunded contributions after completing two additional years of credited service. Service credit is restored once the refunded contributions plus 4% interest annually is paid. Contributions must be repaid before retirement for your service to be credited.

Payment Options for Purchasing Optional Service

Payroll Deductions

JRS allows active members to tax-defer optional service credit purchases (military service, refunded service, etc.) through payroll deductions on a pre- or post-tax basis. Members may also make payments directly to JRS on a post-tax basis. The pre-tax withholding is made through an irrevocable payroll agreement with specific conditions for the total service credit amount. Once all payments have been received, the member’s account is credited for the service purchased and reflected on future benefit statements. If this method is selected, the payroll withholding cannot be terminated or changed for any reason other than termination of employment, disability or death.

Service credit is granted only after a refund or service purchase is paid in full. If the member dies prior to completing the irrevocable payroll deduction agreement, a qualified survivor will be given the option to pay the full balance using a post-tax lump sum payment within 60 days of being notified by the System of the amount owed. If the full balance is not paid within 60 days, the amounts contributed to date under the irrevocable payroll authorization will be refunded, less appropriate tax withholding.

In the case of retirement, termination or absences of more than one year, the member can choose to make an after-tax lump sum payment for the balance due, or the contributed amount can be refunded with taxes withheld and reported as income in that calendar year. Any after-tax lump sum payment must be made no later than 30 days after the member has been notified by JRS of the amount due.

If the remaining balance isn’t paid within 30 days, the entire amount withheld will be refunded and reported as income on that year’s W-2. If a pre-tax payment becomes delinquent, the amount due must be paid within 120 days through an additional withholding agreement or the amount withheld will be refunded and reported as income on that year’s W-2.


You may rollover tax-sheltered funds from a qualified retirement account or pension plan to purchase optional service credit. Members may also transfer money while still employed from their deferred compensation account (457(b)) or tax-sheltered annuity (403(b)) to purchase service credit or repay a refund. Contact JRS to request required forms needed to process a rollover.