(40 ILCS 5/7-159)
(from Ch. 108 1/2, par. 7-159)
Surviving spouse annuity - refund of survivor credits.
(a) Any employee annuitant who (1) upon the date a retirement annuity
begins is not then married, or (2) is married to a person who would not qualify
for surviving spouse annuity if the person died on such date, is entitled to a
refund of the survivor credits including interest accumulated on the date the
annuity begins, excluding survivor credits and interest thereon credited during
periods of disability, and no spouse shall have a right to any surviving spouse
annuity from this Fund. If the employee annuitant
reenters service and upon subsequent retirement has a spouse who would
qualify for a surviving spouse annuity, the employee annuitant may pay the
fund the amount of the refund plus interest at the effective rate at the
date of payment. The payment shall qualify the spouse for a surviving
spouse annuity and the amount paid shall be considered as survivor
(b) Instead of a refund under subsection (a), the retiring employee may
elect to convert the amount of the refund into an annuity, payable
separately from the retirement annuity. If the annuitant dies before the
guaranteed amount has been distributed, the remainder shall be paid in a lump
sum to the designated beneficiary of the annuitant. The Board shall adopt any
rules necessary for the implementation of this subsection.
(c) An annuitant who retired prior to June 1, 2011 and received a refund of
survivor credits under subsection (a), and who thereafter became, and remains,
(1) a party to a civil union or a party to a legal
relationship that, at the time it was formed, was not legally recognized in Illinois but was subsequently recognized as a civil union or marriage under the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act on or after June 1, 2011, a marriage under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act on or after February 26, 2014, or both;
may, within a period of one year beginning 5 months after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly, make an election to re-establish rights to a
surviving spouse annuity under Sections 7-154 through 7-158 (notwithstanding
the eligibility requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of Section 7-154), by paying to the
Fund: (1) the total amount of the refund received for survivor credits; and (2)
interest thereon at the actuarially assumed rate of return from the date of the refund to the date of
payment. Such election must be made prior to the date of death of the annuitant.
The Fund may allow the annuitant to repay this refund over a period of not more
than 24 months. To the extent permitted by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, for federal and State tax purposes, if a member pays in monthly
installments by reducing the monthly benefit by the amount of the otherwise
applicable contribution, the monthly amount by which the annuitant's benefit is
reduced shall not be treated as a contribution by the annuitant but rather as a
reduction of the annuitant's monthly benefit.
If an annuitant makes an election under this subsection (c) and the contributions
required are not paid in full, an otherwise qualifying spouse shall be given the
option to make an additional lump sum payment of the remaining contributions
and qualify for a surviving spouse annuity. Otherwise, an additional refund
representing contributions made hereunder shall be paid at the annuitant's death
and there shall be no surviving spouse annuity paid.
(d) Any surviving spouse of an annuitant who (1) retired prior to June 1, 2011, (2) was not married on the date the retirement annuity began, (3) received a refund of survivor credits under subsection (a), and (4) died prior to the implementation of Public Act 99-682 on December 29, 2016 may, within a period of one year beginning 5 months after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly, make an election to re-establish rights to a surviving spouse annuity under Sections 7-154 through 7-158 (notwithstanding the eligibility requirements of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of Section 7-154), by paying to the Fund: (i) the total amount of the refund received for survivor credits; and (ii) interest thereon at the actuarially assumed rate of return from the date of the refund to the date of payment. The surviving spouse must also provide documentation proving he or she was married to the annuitant or a party to a civil union with the annuitant at the time of death and has not subsequently remarried. This proof must include a marriage certificate or a certificate for a civil union and any other supporting documents deemed necessary by the Fund.
(Source: P.A. 101-610, eff. 1-1-20.)