The pension system for Illinois’ Downstate and suburban teachers is bracing itself for significant changes ahead. The state’s largest pension fund is preparing for reform.
Even though Illinois’ political leaders have yet to agree on a pension overhaul, the Teachers Retirement System says it would be “irresponsible” NOT to plan ahead.
Spokesman Dave Urbanek says the teachers’ pension system already fields more than 100,000 phone calls a month.
He says that would surely go up when — as one of the leading plans calls for — employees are forced to choose between state-subsidized health care in retirement and regular cost-of-living increases for their pensions.
URBANEK “They come to us now for estimates of their retirement. If they’re confronted with a choice like this, their concerns are going to be doubled.”
Urbanek says the system would need to add staff, upgrade technology and create new procedures to help guide teachers through any changes.
He says it would be difficult to administer these changes without a year’s lead time.