"Implementation date" means the earliest date upon which the Board authorizes eligible persons to begin irrevocably electing the accelerated pension benefit payment option under this Section. The Board shall endeavor to make such participation available as soon as possible after June 4, 2018 (the effective date of Public Act 100-587) and shall establish an implementation date by Board resolution.
"Pension benefit" means the benefits under this Article, or Article 1 as it relates to those benefits, including any anticipated annual increases, that an eligible person is entitled to upon attainment of the applicable retirement age. "Pension benefit" also includes applicable survivors benefits, disability benefits, or disability retirement annuity benefits.
(b) Beginning on the implementation date, the System shall offer each eligible person the opportunity to irrevocably elect to receive an amount determined by the System to be equal to 60% of the present value of his or her pension benefits in lieu of receiving any pension benefit. The System shall calculate, using actuarial tables and other assumptions adopted by the Board, the present value of pension benefits for each eligible person upon his or her request in writing to the System. The System shall not perform more than one calculation per eligible member in a State fiscal year. The offer shall specify the dollar amount that the eligible person will receive if he or she so elects and shall expire when a subsequent offer is made to an eligible person. The System shall make a good faith effort to contact every eligible person to notify him or her of the election.
Beginning on the implementation date and until June 30, 2026, an eligible person may irrevocably elect to receive an accelerated pension benefit payment in the amount that the System offers under this subsection in lieu of receiving any pension benefit. A person who elects to receive an accelerated pension benefit payment under this Section may not elect to proceed under the Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act with respect to service under this Article.
(c) Upon payment of an accelerated pension benefit payment under this Section, the person forfeits all accrued rights and credits in the System and no other benefit shall be paid under this Article based on those forfeited rights and credits, including any retirement, survivor, or other benefit; except that to the extent that participation, benefits, or premiums under the State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1971 are based on the amount of service credit, the terminated service credit shall be used for that purpose.
(d) If a person who has received an accelerated pension benefit payment under this Section returns to participation under this Article, any benefits under the System earned as a result of that return to participation shall be based solely on the person's credits and creditable service arising from the return to participation. Upon return to participation, the person shall be considered a new employee subject to all the qualifying conditions for participation and eligibility for benefits applicable to new employees.
(d-5) The accelerated pension benefit payment may not be repaid to the System, and the forfeited rights and credits may not under any circumstances be reinstated.
(e) As a condition of receiving an accelerated pension benefit payment, the accelerated pension benefit payment must be deposited into a tax qualified retirement plan or account identified by the eligible person at the time of the election. The accelerated pension benefit payment under this Section may be subject to withholding or payment of applicable taxes, but to the extent permitted by federal law, a person who receives an accelerated pension benefit payment under this Section must direct the System to pay all of that payment as a rollover into another retirement plan or account qualified under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
(f) The System shall submit vouchers to the State Comptroller for the payment of accelerated pension benefit payments under this Section. The State Comptroller shall pay the amounts of the vouchers from the State Pension Obligation Acceleration Bond Fund to the System, and the System shall deposit the amounts into the applicable tax qualified plans or accounts.
(g) The Board shall adopt any rules, including emergency rules, necessary to implement this Section.
(h) No provision of this Section shall be interpreted in a way that would cause the System to cease to be a qualified plan under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
(Source: P.A. 101-10, eff. 6-5-19; 102-718, eff. 5-5-22.)