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SERS 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 SERS.

The fraudulent emails may provide links, including DocuSign, and allege to provide the member with the option to sign up and receive their monthly SERS benefit payments four days early by providing personal financial information, including bank account information.  SERS 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 SERS.  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.  SERS does not contract with anyone outside of the agency to contact members about retirement counseling appointments or other financial services. SERS 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 SERS that you suspect is a scam, please report this activity to the SERS call center at 217-785-7444. Information that you provide can help SERS prevent and detect schemes that impact our members. 

Refunds FAQs

1. How long does it take to receive a refund from SERS?

Refunds are generally paid within 60-90 days from date of application. SERS must first confirm and certify with the employing agency that payrolls have cleared and employment has terminated.

2. I am leaving state service and want to take a refund. When can I apply, and what forms do I need?

The law governing SERS requires that you be off the payroll for 14 days before you are eligible and can apply for a refund. Federal law mandates that we advise you of the amount in your SERS account and the tax consequences for receiving a refund.

3. Can I get a refund for the state-paid portion of my contributions?

When you terminate state employment, you are eligible for the employee contributions paid by you or "picked-up" by the State of Illinois.

4. Can I take a partial refund and leave the rest of the money in my SERS account?

If you take a refund, you can only receive the full amount.

5. Is there a hardship provision for withdrawing money from my SERS account?

You may not withdraw money from your SERS account for a hardship provision.

6. Can I borrow money from my SERS account?

You may not borrow money from your SERS account for any reason or condition.

7. Is interest paid as part of a refund?

No. By law, you are entitled to receive the employee contributions only.

8. Can my refund of contributions be divided because of a divorce?

Yes, if a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order has been issued by an Illinois Court. A QILDRO does not establish a new benefit, nor does it create a new member or beneficiary. Generally, the QILDRO orders the payment of a benefit to the spouse as the alternate payee. It may also be payable to a child or other dependent as the alternate payee. The QILDRO does not apply to lump sum death benefits, survivor annuities, or disability benefits. (QILDRO information and forms.)