Opt-In Option

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Legislation enacted August 27, 2021, changed the retirement plan requirements for educational staff employed by a Chicago Contract School in a position requiring certification or licensure.* Individuals employed in contract schools on or after August 27, 2021, will be automatically enrolled in the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF).

* Certain managerial, supervisory, or confidential employees, are excluded from this law.  

Opt-In Option for Employees Hired Prior to August 27, 2021

Individuals who were employed at a contract school prior to August 27, 2021, can exercise a one-time irrevocable option to join CTPF. The election must be made by December 31, 2021, and pension contributions will begin in January 2022.  

The election is made by completing and returning CTPF Form 290 to your Human Resources or personnel office.   

Social Security Contribution  

If you join the CTPF pension plan you will no longer contribute to Social Security and Social Security Benefit and spouses' Social Security benefit may be impacted (refer to ssa.gov Windfall Provision). Enrollment in the CTPF pension plan does not impact participation in other employer-sponsored plans including a 457b or 403b plan.   

Irrevocable Election  

The decision to opt-in should be given careful consideration, and CTPF encourages all teachers to seek the advice of a financial advisor and/or the Social Security Administration before making a decision.  

Deadline  

Members who want to opt-in must return the completed form to their Human Resources or Payroll department no later than December 31, 2021. 

CTPF Form 290 available here

Educational Resources  

Educational Workshop for Prospective Contract School Members

CTPF will offer webinars for members interested in learning more about the pension plan. 

Webinars will be offered November 15, November 16 and November 17 at 3:30 p.m.   

Register at ctpf.org/calendar  

Employer Reporting System Trainings  

The Employer Reporting System is the website you will be using to submit pension contributions on behalf of your employees. CTPF will provide step-by-step system walkthroughs of Employee Setup, School Setup, and Payroll Submission. Training will be conducted via Zoom Webinar. CTPF will offer three separate modules, and each will be presented twice.  

Webinars will be offered November 2, November 3 and November 4.  

Register at ctpf.org/calendar  

More Resources

Fund Facts  

Founded in 1895, the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF) is the oldest pension system in Illinois and the second oldest in the country.   

Click here for a Fact Sheet about CTPF.   

CTPF Financial Reports  

CTPF operates transparently and publishes copies of its audited financial statements, actuarial reports, and other financial information on the website.   

CTPF Member Information

Defined Benefit Plan Definition and Benefits  

CTPF members participate in a defined-benefit retirement plan, which offers a secure retirement income for life. Once earned, a pension does not lose value or change with investment or market conditions. CTPF members do not contribute to Social Security during employment. Instead, each pay period, a 9% pension contribution is withheld by the employer and sent to CTPF. At retirement, CTPF calculates a pension for retirees that meet eligibility requirements.   

A CTPF retirement pension is:   

  • based on service credit, final average salary (FAS), and the pension multiplier   
  • paid for life, and includes a survivor’s pension for a surviving spouse and children  
  • protected from inflation with an annual increase   

Tier 1 v Tier 2  

On January 1, 2011, the Illinois legislature established two sets of pension eligibility requirements. Members who joined CTPF or a qualified reciprocal system prior to January 1, 2011, are Tier 1. Members who joined CTPF on or after January 1, 2011, are Tier 2.  

The pension calculation for both tiers is the same, but the retirement age and method for calculating the final average salary are different. Additionally, the salary used in the calculation of a pension is capped for Tier 2. The Tier 2 salary cap does not limit how much can be earned; it limits the amount for which pension contributions are made.  

The chart below summarizes the differences in calculating benefits for Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees.  

Benefit Tier 1: Members who joined CTPF or a qualified reciprocal system before January 1, 2011 Tier 2: Members who join CTPF on or after January 1, 2011

Retirement age for a pension without a reduction

  • 62 with 5 years of service
  • 60 with at least 20 years of service
  • 55 with at least 33.91 years of service*

67 with 10 years of service

Retirement age for a reduced pension

55 with 20 years of service

62 with 10 years of service

Final Average Salary calculation

Average of 4 highest consecutive years in the 10 years preceding retirement

Average of 8 highest consecutive years in the 10 years preceding retirement

Pensionable Earnings Cap*

The annual salaries used in the calculation of the final average salary are capped from year-to-year at 120% of previous year's salary.

Final average salary used to calculate pensions capped at $119,892.41 in 2022. The cap increases by 3% or one-half of the increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the preceding year, whichever is lower.

Annual Pension Increase

3% of pension compounded annually, beginning 1 year after retirement, or at age 61, whichever occurs later.

3% or 1/2 of any increase in the CPI for the preceding year, beginning 1 year after retirement or at age 67, whichever occurs later.

Survivor Pensions

50% of the retired member's retirement annuity; surviving spouse must be age 50 or have surviving minor children.

66 2/3% of the retired member's pension at date of death.

66 2/3% of the earned annuity of the unretired member; no age reduction.

* Applies to members who began employment on or after September 1, 1983.  

Pension Calculator

CTPF’s online Monthly Pension Planner offers a rough estimate of future monthly income at ctpf.org/member-resources/monthly-pension-calculator.    

Reciprocal Pension

The Illinois Reciprocal Act may allow you to combine your service credit. Visit the Reciprocal Systems section on www.ctpf.org for more information.  

Health Insurance for Retirees  

CTPF sponsors comprehensive health insurance plans designed to promote wellness and provide high-quality coverage at a reasonable cost. Each year CTPF trustees vote on offering a subsidy for health insurance to help offset the cost, and the current subsidy is 60%. CTPF offers this coverage and subsidy to retirees whose final teaching service is with the Chicago Public/Charter/Contract Schools.   

Find more information about post-retirement health insurance here.  

Governance  

CTPF is independent, governed by 12 Trustees: 6 elected by active members, 3 elected by pensioners, 1 elected by principals/ administrators, and 2 appointed by the Chicago Board of Education. The system dates to 1907 when legislation allowed teachers to elect representatives to self-govern.