Life Plans. Understanding Your Retirement Benefits

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1 Life Plans Understanding Your Retirement Benefits After years of making lesson plans to guide your daily instruction, you have reached retirement and now have the opportunity to make plans of your own. This brochure illustrates the benefits you will receive as a retiree and outlines the resources available to you through the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.

2 Life Plans The Basics Congratulations and welcome to retirement, the next chapter in your life plans. As a vested member of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund you qualify for a lifetime pension, guaranteed by Illinois law. This brochure summarizes information about your pension and health insurance and provides other important information you will need as a retiree. 2

3 Pension Payments Monthly Pension Check You will receive your first pension check within 90 days of your official retirement date. Pensions are paid in advance at the beginning of each month. The pension payment schedule is posted at www. ctpf.org. Direct Deposit The most secure and cost-effective way to receive your pension payment is through direct deposit. CTPF strongly encourages members to choose direct deposit, which electronically deposits your benefit check into your personal account and avoids problems associated with mail delivery. Over 90% of CTPF retirees take advantage of direct deposit, which assures that funds are available on the first business day of the month. If you have not already requested direct deposit you can do so by completing a Direct Deposit Authorization form, available at org or on request from CTPF Member Services at

4 Direct Deposit Advices You will receive a deposit advice notifying you of the amount and the date of deposit: n when your first pension check is deposited n whenever your payment amount changes n in December to show your total yearly payments and deductions n in January to show the automatic annual increase (AAI), which begins after age 61 The direct deposit advice provides you with a breakdown of the current month s payment as well as year-to-date figures. If you prefer to receive your deposit advice monthly, please call Member Services to request this option. Dividing Your Deposit If you would like to divide your deposit between two accounts, you can indicate this on your Direct Deposit Authorization. If you deposit into two accounts, you must specify a flat dollar amount for one account, and the balance will be deposited into the other account. Automatic Annual Increase (AAI)* Your pension is protected against inflation with a 3% automatic annual increase (AAI) that is applied every January. You qualify for an AAI when you turn 61 or one year after your pension begins, whichever is later. * The benefit described here applies to Tier 1 teachers hired before January 1, If you were hired on or after January 1, 2011, you are considered Tier 2. See the additional information for Tier 2 employees. 4

5 1099-R Forms All retirees receive the 1099-R form that reports pension income and tax withholding information to the IRS. A copy is mailed no later than January 31 each year. Contact Member Services if you do not receive this form by the end of February. Changes to Tax Withholding Changes to your tax withholding can be made at any time by submitting a new tax withholding form, W-4P, to CTPF. Your W-4P form must be in the CTPF office by the 15th of the month for the change to be applied to the following month s pension check. You may download the form at or call Member Services to request one. 5

6 Reemployment After you retire, you may work for any non- CTPF employer without restriction. You may return to work with a CTPF employer as long as the employment is part time, temporary, or noncontractual, without benefits. Each Illinois retirement system has its own rules governing the employment of annuitants. It is a retiree s responsibility to understand the reemployment rules before accepting employment. Health Insurance Selecting Your Coverage When you retire, you have many options for health insurance coverage for yourself and your family, and you will be given the opportunity to review and change your choices annually. Your options for continuing your health insurance coverage include: n COBRA is a federal mandate under which employers must allow former employees to continue their health insurance after certain events, including retirement and involuntary termination, for 18 months. If you are under 6

7 age 65 at retirement and not covered by another health insurance plan, CTPF requires you to continue your health insurance coverage through COBRA for the 18-month period. n CTPF-sponsored health insurance plans CTPF sponsors several health insurance plans for retirees. n Medicare when you reach age 65, you become Medicare eligible. CTPF requires that you enroll in Medicare if you participate in a CTPFsponsored health insurance plan For further details regarding your health insurance options, please see the Life Plans brochure Understanding Your Health Insurance, available at or from Member Services. 7

8 Medicare D Prescription Drug Coverage If you are 65 and enrolled in a CTPF-sponsored health care plan, you should not purchase a separate Medicare D plan. All CTPF plans provide Medicare D coverage. When to Enroll You may enroll in a CTPF plan as a retiree: n at retirement n when COBRA coverage ends (usually 18 months after retirement) n when you become eligible for Medicare n if you lose health insurance coverage from an organization outside of a CTPF-sponsored health insurance plan through no fault of your own, or n one time only, during open enrollment, if you do not qualify under any of the above criteria Contact CTPF as soon as you are aware of a change in your insurance coverage brought about by one of the events listed above in order to ensure a continuation of health insurance coverage. 8

9 Open Enrollment Each fall, CTPF invites retirees to an Open Enrollment Heath Insurance Seminar designed to help individuals understand their health insurance choices. Prior to the seminar, CTPF mails information on health insurance plans and the open enrollment period. Changes made during open enrollment are effective the following January 1. During open enrollment you can: n enroll in a CTPF-sponsored health insurance plan n change your current health insurance carrier n add a spouse, domestic partner, and/or dependant(s) to your health insurance plan Paying Your Insurance Premiums The payment method for your health insurance premium varies depending on the type of health insurance you select. n Retirees enrolled in a CTPF-sponsored health insurance plan have their premiums deducted from their monthly pension. n Medicare Part A and/or Part B enrollees may pay premiums directly to Medicare or elect to have CTPF deduct payment from their monthly pension and make payment to Medicare on their behalf. Individuals who prefer this option should contact Member Services. n Retirees covered under COBRA make premium payments directly to the former employer. n Individuals who have private coverage must establish payment with the private insurer. 9

10 Whatever form of health insurance you carry, it is your responsibility to establish payment for your health insurance and to make timely payments or you could lose your coverage. Health Insurance Rebate Program Each year the CTPF Board of Trustees authorizes a health insurance premium subsidy. Under this program, CTPF pays a percentage of retirees health insurance premiums. You qualify for the subsidy if you are a CTPF pensioner and your final teaching service is with the Chicago Public or charter school systems. The subsidy applies only to the retiree s portion of the health insurance premium; it is not applicable to the portion of the premium paid to cover a spouse, domestic partner, or dependants. The subsidy also applies to a survivor s health insurance premium. The subsidy method varies depending on the type of health insurance you have. Rebates for CTPF-Sponsored Plans If you are enrolled in a CTPF-sponsored health insurance plan, CTPF deducts your portion of the premium from your monthly pension check and pays the entire premium to the insurance carrier. Example Jane has insurance coverage through a CTPFsponsored plan. Her monthly health insurance premium is $1,000. Assume that the current approved rebate is 70%. $1,000 x.70 = $700 amount paid directly to the insurance carrier by CTPF 1, = $300 amount of premium paid by Jane through payroll deduction 10

11 CTPF deducts $300 from Jane s monthly pension check, pays the $700 balance, and remits the entire amount directly to Jane s insurance carrier. Private Health Insurance Rebates If you pay health insurance premiums to another provider, CTPF will rebate a percentage of your cost once per year. The rebate is calculated based on the total cost of the insurance plan, times the rebate percentage, minus any subsidy that may be paid on the pensioner s behalf. Rebates are capped based on the premiums for the CTPF-sponsored plans. Health insurance rebate forms are mailed out in the summer. Rebates are only available for the member s portion of the health insurance coverage; spouses, domestic partners, or other dependants do not qualify for the rebate. Example John is enrolled in a private health insurance plan through his spouse s employer. The total cost of his spouse s monthly insurance premium is $1,000. Assume the current CTPF rebate is 70%. John is eligible for a rebate of 70% of his portion of the health insurance premium. The rebate cannot exceed the amount CTPF would have paid for a CTPFsponsored health insurance plan. 11

12 CTPF-sponsored insurance plan costs 1,000 x 12 = $12,000 current yearly cost of CTPF-sponsored health insurance plan.70 = current rebate percentage 12,000 x.70 = $8,400 health insurance rebate cap. John s rebate $1,000 x 12 = $12,000 total private insurance cost for John and his spouse for one year. $12,000 x 50% = $6,000 John s portion of the yearly insurance cost. $6000 x.70 (rebate percentage) = $4,200 John will receive a rebate of $4,200, the entire amount of his eligible rebate, because his costs do not exceed the CTPF rebate cap. The rebate is calculated based on the total cost of the pensioners insurance plan, times the rebate percentage, minus any subsidy that may be paid on the pensioner s behalf. Rebates are capped based on the premiums for the CTPF-sponsored plans. COBRA Su b s i d y Pensioners on COBRA make payments directly to their former employer and apply for the yearly rebate or have the option to have their COBRA rebate included in their monthly check. If you wish to initiate the monthly rebate payment option, you must complete an Authorization for Release of Health Insurance Coverage Information form, available at or request one from CTPF s Member Services at

13 Survivor and Death Benefits Three types of survivor and death benefits are offered by CTPF: n survivor pensions payable to your eligible spouse and/or children n a refund of any remaining contributions payable to designated beneficiaries or your estate n a lump-sum death benefit payable to designated beneficiaries or your estate Lump-sum death benefits and any refund of contributions are paid according to the person(s) named on your Designation of Beneficiary form. For further information refer to our Life Plans brochure Understanding Survivor and Death Benefits, available at or from Member Services. Designation of Beneficiary Form Planning ahead and designating your beneficiaries ensures that the refund of contributions and death benefit are paid according to your wishes. Any person, trust, church, charity, or organization may be named a beneficiary. If you name more than one individual or organization, all share equally in the benefit unless you designate specific percentages. It is important to keep your Designation of Beneficiary form current as life changes, including marriage, death, births, or divorce, occur. You may change or name new beneficiaries at any time by submitting a new Designation of Beneficiary form to CTPF. The designation form must be on file in CTPF offices prior to the member s death. 13

14 Please Note: The only person who may sign and/ or change a Designation of Beneficiary form is the CTPF member. A representative, including a power of attorney, guardian, conservator, trustee, or representative payee, cannot change or sign this form. Confidentiality The information contained on your Designation of Beneficiary form is confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone. In the event that you cannot locate a copy of your current form and/or cannot recall whom you named as beneficiary, contact CTPF at to request a new designation form. Other Information Address Changes It is important that you keep your address current. If your address changes, please submit a Change of Address Notification form to CTPF. You may obtain a form at or call Member Services. You may also inform CTPF of an address change in writing. Please include the first four digits of your Social Security number and your complete old and new contact information. The letter must be signed by you or your legal representative. Legal Representative You or the court may appoint a legal representative to act on your behalf. Your legal representative may direct CTPF regarding your pension payment and health insurance. Letters of office must comply with Illinois law and be submitted to CTPF. 14

15 Additional Resources The CTPF newsletter Pension News and the website, contain important information about your pension benefits and health insurance. The organizations listed below provide additional information. n Dental Insurance Retired Teachers Association of Chicago (RTAC), Chicago Teachers Union, n COBRA Chicago Public Schools Department of Human Resources n Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 800-MEDICARE n Social Security

16 Contact Information Member Services Chicago Teachers Pension Fund 203 North LaSalle Street, suite 2600 Chicago, Illinois phone fax Board of Trustees John F. O Brill, president Maria J. Rodriguez, vice president Walter E. Pilditch, financial secretary Mary Sharon Reilly, recording secretary Lois W. Ashford Jeffery Blackwell Alberto A. Carrero, Jr. Peggy A. Davis Jeanne Marie Freed Chris N. Kotis Jay C. Rehak James F. Ward Kevin B. Huber, executive director P Chicago Teachers Pension Fund Visit us at Revised on Web January 2011

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