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   Glossary of Terms 



Accumulated Contributions: The total contributions made by the member, including contributions granted during disability.

Administrative Rules: Official rules adopted by JRS that identify the meaning of JRS benefit provisions.

Annuity: Monthly benefit payable to a retiree or survivor.

Annuitant: Any retired member or survivor receiving a JRS benefit.

Annual Pension Increase Tier 1: A 3% pension increase on January 1 following the first full year of retirement. These annual increases are compounded on the previous year’s annuity. Pension increases are not limited to the 85% maximum.

Annual Pension Increase (Tier 2): At age 67 or over, you will receive a pension increase of 3% or the full increase in the Consumer Price Index on January 1 following your first full year of retirement. The annual increase is compounded on your previous year's annuity. Pension increases are not limited to the maximum retirement benefit.

Beneficiary: The beneficiary designated by the member to receive JRS lump sum death benefits. This should not be confused with the Group Life Insurance beneficiary or the Deferred Compensation beneficiary.

Benefit Statement: The annual benefit statement summarizes the judge's personal account and benefits. It includes service credit, projected and accrued pension benefits, disability and death benefits, and lists the judge's beneficiaries. The statement is mailed in August.

Board of Trustees: The Board created to direct the affairs of JRS.

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Credited Service: The total service credited to a judge's account.

Defined Benefit Plan: A plan which provides a predetermined benefit amount using a formula combining service credit and salary.

Direct Deposit: By choosing Direct Deposit, the retiree/survivor's benefit is electronically deposited into their bank account.

Final Compensation Tier 1: A judge's final rate of pay (final salary) used to calculate pension benefits.

Final Compensation Tier 2: Final average salary is the average of the 96 highest consecutive months of service within the last 120 months of service. The maximum retirement benefit is 60% of your final average salary.

Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS): The laws of the State of Illinois arranged in a numerical order that classifies the laws by their subject matter. ILCS numbers are used to cite laws in documents. JRS is governed by 40 ILCS 5/18, et al.

IRS Form 1099-R: The annual tax form issued by the Office of the Comptroller that lists gross contributions, taxable & nontaxable amounts, and federal withholding.

Limiting Contributions: If a judge is age 60 and qualifies for the 85% maximum retirement annuity, he/she can choose to limit contributions. They would no longer pay full contributions to JRS. Instead, contributions would be made based on future salary increases. Limiting contributions is irrevocable. Benefits are based on the final salary at withdrawal from service.

Maximum Annuity: The maximum pension payable to a JRS member is 85% of final salary as a judge.

Member: An active judge, or any former judge who has contributions credited to their account but has not received a refund, or is not receiving a retirement annuity.

Member Handbook: Provides a general explanation of JRS benefits. It is intended to serve as a supplement to the annual Benefit Statement, which includes a member's personal information.

Military Service: Service in the United States Armed Forces is allowed as credit by JRS.

Optional Service Credit: Time served while not a member of JRS that can be purchased for additional service.

Panel: The JRS newsletter for retirees and survivors that contains timely and pertinent information. This newsletter is mailed in January and August.

Pension: Monthly benefit paid to a retiree for life.

Qualified Plan: A retirement plan qualified under the Internal Revenue Code allowing JRS and its members certain tax advantages.

QILDRO: The Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO) allows for the division of a retirement benefit or a refund of contributions due to divorce.

Qualified Survivor: A spouse, child, or dependent parent designated by statute to receive a monthly annuity upon the death of the member.

Recalled: If you are recalled as a judge, your retirement annuity will be suspended. Upon returning to retirement, your benefit will be reinstated with an increase based on your additional judicial service. If you originally retired with the maximum annuity and return to service as a judge, upon returning to retirement, you will be given the 3% automatic benefit increase for each January during your recall service.

Reciprocal Retirement Systems: There are thirteen Illinois public retirement systems participating in the Retirement Systems' Reciprocal Act.

Reciprocity: A member who has at least one year of credited service in one of the thirteen Illinois Public Retirement Systems participating in the Reciprocal Act. Service under that system may be used when determining eligibility for a benefit from JRS.

Returning to Employment: If you return to service as a judge, your retirement benefit is suspended if:

  • You return to work as a judge or accept permanent state employment.
  • You retired using the Reciprocal Act and return to a position which causes your Reciprocal benefit to be suspended, your judicial benefit will also be suspended.
  • Your JRS benefit will continue if you:
  • Return to work for a county and did not originally retire under the Reciprocal Act.
  • Teach at a junior college or university.
  • Accept private employment.
  • Work for the state in any temporary position, except as a judge, for 75 days or less per calender year.

Rollover: Postponing taxation of distributions by "rolling-over" the payment to another plan, or to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Service Credit: Time served with JRS. Service credit is part of the equation used to calculate JRS benefits.

Survivor Annuity: A monthly benefit payable upon the death of a judge to a qualified survivor.

Tax-Deferred: Contributions made by a judge that are not taxed until a benefit is paid.

TDD: Telecommunication Device for the Deaf. A means for our disabled members to communicate with our office.

Temporary Total Disability: To qualify for this benefit, a judge must have at least two years of service as a judge, and the disability must occur while the judge is actively employed. The Board of Trustees must determine that the judge is totally disabled and temporarily unable to perform the duties of a judge. While receiving temporary total disability benefits, the judge's account is credited with service as if actively employed.

Term of Office: Length of time elected or appointed for that particular judgeship.

Termination Refund: A JRS member who terminates service as a judge may apply for and receive a refund of contributions without interest if:

  • Immediate eligibility to receive a retirement annuity has not been established.
  • The member has no immediate plans for returning to service as a judge.

If a judge becomes divorced or widowed, he/she is entitled to a refund of contributions made for the survivor’s annuity. He/she must apply in order to receive this refund.

Tier 1: Any member hired before January 1, 2011

Tier 2: Any member hired after December 31, 2010

W-4P Form: This form is used to designate federal income tax withholding.

Withdrawal: Severance of employment of a judge by resignation or dismissal.

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