University of Illinois System

Separation Preparation

If you leave employment with the University of Illinois System (System), you may want to refer to this information to answer any questions you have about your future retirement benefits. Former employees may be inactive members of SURS and may maintain assets in their tax-deferred plans.

State Universities Retirement System (SURS)

Upon ending your employment with the System, you may continue to be an inactive member of SURS. You may be eligible for one of three options:

  • Leave your funds in SURS until you are ready to retire or withdraw funds.
  • Start your retirement annuity if you meet retirement eligibility.
  • You may apply for a separation refund. However, by accepting a separation refund, your claim to future benefits is forfeited. Lump sum refunds may be rolled over into other retirement accounts per IRS regulations.

See the State Benefits with Central Management Services section below for coverage termination information. 

If you are leaving the System to take a job with another Illinois public employer, and plan to participate in a retirement program through that employer, you may be eligible for service credit reciprocity through the Retirement Systems Reciprocal Act.

For further information, contact SURS at 800-275-7877, in the Champaign-Urbana area 217-378-8800, or visit SURS website.

State Benefits with Central Management Services

Coverage ends at 12:01 a.m. following the last day you are physically at work (or on an approved leave of absence). 

  • Employees retiring may not extend their last day of employment by using accrued benefit time. Please see Insurance & Other Benefits in Retirement for work dates necessary to prevent a gap in coverage when a retiring employee is transitioning to insurance coverage as a SURS annuitant.
  • Employees resigning from employment or are terminated by the university may not extend their last day of employment by using accrued benefit time.

University of Illinois Supplemental 403(b) Retirement Plan

You are the owner of the assets in your 403(b) account. You are not required to withdraw funds upon leaving the System. You can maintain your account in accordance with your plan provider, TIAA or Fidelity Investments.

You may be able to rollover your 403(b) funds to another employer sponsored retirement plan (if the plan will accept the rollover) or into an IRA. It is recommended that you meet with your new plan's investment company to discuss the rollover process and any tax implications for the rollover.

State of Illinois 457 Deferred Compensation Plan

You are the owner of the assets in your 457 plan. You are not required to withdraw funds upon leaving the System. The State 457 Plan offers many choices for those leaving state employment. You may be eligible for a lump sum distribution, a rollover, or installment payments. For a detailed description of these choices and associated limitations, consult the Central Management Services booklet Make the Decision That's Best for You.

Leave Payout (Terminal Benefit Payout)

If you will receive a vacation or compensable sick leave payout, you may direct a portion of your payout into either the 403(b) or 457 plan. You may use the Terminal Benefits Net Pay Calculator to calculate an estimate of the net pay you will receive upon termination of employment with the System.

You must contact University Payroll and Benefits (UPB) at least 60 days prior to separating from the System in order to arrange this deferral. An estimate of your payout must be completed by your HR representative or business manager using the Benefits Payout Deferral Worksheet and emailed to UPB.

You cannot extend the date of your separation using accrued leave time. Any applicable benefits coverage will end at 12:01 a.m. following your last day of work.