Members: FAQs

Is the Fund protected or insured by any other entity?

The MEABF pays out benefits consistent with the Illinois Pension Code.  Unlike private defined benefit pension plans insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., there is no entity that insures the MEABF’s ability to make benefit payments.  The MEABF’s sole sources of funds to make benefit payments are (i) employee contributions; (ii) employer contributions and (iii) investment returns.

I need another copy of my 1099R tax form, how can I get one?

Call the Annuitant Services Department at 312-236-4700, extension 7394 to request one.

How do I change my Federal/State tax withholding amount?

Fill out a Federal Income Tax Withholding Preference Certificate and mail or fax it in to our office, or you can call us and we will mail or fax you a form. If you want to change your State withholding, contact Northern Trust Company at 312-557-9700.
 

Can you send a verification of my pension to another person or company such as a bank or mortgage company?
Fill out an Authorization to Release Information to a Third Party form (provided by the requestor) and mail or fax it in, or call our office and we will mail or fax you a form.
How can I get a verification letter of the pension that I receive?

Call the Annuitant Services Department at 312-236-4700, extension 7394 to request a verification letter.
 

I want to sign up for direct deposit or I need to change my bank information for my direct deposit, what do I do?

Fill out a Direct Deposit Authorization form and mail or fax it in, or call our office and we will mail or fax you a form.

How do I notify the Fund that my address has changed?

Fill out a Change of Address form or a signed direction letter and mail or fax it in to our office. If you are enrolled in our group health insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield will also receive the updated information.

I usually receive my monthly check on the 1st of the month and it's past the 1st, I have not received it yet, how can I get a replacement?

Checks are not considered lost until 7 business days after their mailing date. After such time you would call our office and report your check lost. We would place a stop payment on your check and send you out an affidavit to be completed before a new check could be issued. Please note once a stop is placed on your check it is NO LONGER CASHABLE and you may incur charges if you attempt to cash it.

I receive my monthly payment through the regular mail. When are the checks mailed?

Retirement checks are mailed at least 4 to 5 days before the first business day of the month, which is the payable date. The Fund strongly encourages that you consider having your payment directly deposited to your bank account, to avoid losing your check in the mail. To begin the process just fill out a Direct Deposit Authorization form and mail or fax it in, or call our office and we will mail or fax you a form.
 

I have my monthly payment sent to my bank account electronically. When is it available in my account?

If you signed up for direct deposit, your monthly benefit is deposited into your account the first business day of every month. A business day is Monday through Friday, not including bank holidays. The MEABF Calendar shows the dates monthly benefits are deposited to your account.

When I call, why do you ask for my Social Security Number?

For general questions, we don’t need your Social Security Number. However, if you are asking questions specific to your payment such as what was deducted from your check, we need your SSN to properly identify your record.

Why does my annual contribution statement show an amount owed to the Fund?

The amount that is owed to the Fund is mainly due to either an error in a salary deduction made by your payroll department or an overpayment of a prior benefit (usually a disability benefit). Historically, for errors in salary deductions, the balance owed is recouped at the time of retirement or separation from service. For disability, an overpayment is recovered by reducing future disability payments, or recouped at the time of retirement or separation from service.

I am unable to work due to illness. What do I need to do to receive Disability Benefits from the Fund?

You will need to complete a Disability Application with the  Fund. You will also need to apply for a leave of absence with  your department. Processing time is generally six to eight weeks  after a complete application is received. Disability checks are  issued on the last business day of each month. To request an  application, contact the disability department at 312-236-4700,  at extension 2131.
 

What documents will I be required to provide when I apply for my retirement annuity?

THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS WILL BE REQUIRED:

  • Proof of resignation
  • Copy of Driver’s License or State I.D. Card
  • Copy of Social Security card (for you and your spouse)
  • Marriage certificate if you are currently married
  • Divorce decree or death certificate of spouse if you are divorced or widowed (from all marriages)
  • Copy of your Medicare card (and of your spouse if eligible) if you elect to continue Health Insurance and you are Medicare eligible
  • Birth certificate for employee
  • Birth certificate for spouse
Is there a best time of the month to retire?

The last day of the month is normally the best day to resign. Annuity benefits are paid on the 1st day of the month for the full month. No annuity is paid for a partial month.

EXAMPLE 1 - Resignation date - June 30. Your first annuity payment will be for the month of July. Your first payment would arrive on or about September 1st and would cover the months of July, August and September.

EXAMPLE 2 - Resignation date - July 1. Your first annuity payment will be for the month of August. No annuity payment would be issued for the month of July. Your first payment would arrive on or about September 1st and would cover the months of August and September.

When am I eligible to retire and receive a monthly pension?

The requirements to be eligible for a monthly pension based on the minimum formula (2.4% of Final Average Salary per year accrual rate) are:

  • 30 years of service, payable at age 50 or greater
  • 20 years of service, payable at age 55 or greater
  • 10 years of service, payable at age 60 or greater.
  • Reduced pension if retirement is earlier than age 60 with less than 25 years

The requirements for a money purchase annuity are 10 years of service payable at age 55 or later, or any service if withdrawal occurs on or after age 60.

What do I need to do to receive a refund of my contributions?

To obtain a refund of your contributions after your resignation from service, you must complete a refund application. A copy of your department approved Resignation/Termination Letter, Driver’s License or State I.D. and Social Security Card will be required. Processing of your application will generally take six to eight weeks (after your resignation date), provided all of the necessary paperwork has been received. To request that a refund application be sent to you, please call 312-236-4700.

Please note: If you are age 55 or over with 10 years of service, or if you are age 60 or over with any number of years of service, you qualify for a monthly annuity. If your annuity is $800.00 or more per month, you will not be eligible for a refund, but will instead receive a monthly annuity.

Can I borrow from my contributions or withdraw my contributions for reason such as hardship?

A member cannot borrow money from their contributions nor can they receive a refund of contributions based on hardship. To receive a refund of your contributions, you must resign your position.

I am not married, so why am I contributing for a spouse annuity?

By law, all members, whether married or not married, must contribute for a spouse’s annuity until resignation from service. However, if you are unmarried on your resignation from service date, your contributions toward a spouse’s annuity will be refunded to you.

Who do I call regarding my vacation and sick time?

All questions regarding vacation and sick time should be directed to your employer’s payroll department.
 

How do I change my address with MEABF?

If you are currently working and contributing to MEABF, you must notify your payroll department of any address change and the payroll department will notify the Fund. If you are on a leave of absence, or have resigned your position but have not yet applied for a benefit with the Fund, you will need to send written notification of your address change to the Fund.
 

Do I need to make an appointment to meet with a benefits counselor or application processor?

To ensure that our staff can better serve you, we require that you schedule an appointment. Hours for appointments are Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.. Please call us at 312-236-4700 to set up an appointment.

What is a Funding Ratio?

A funding ratio compares a Plan’s assets to their projected liabilities. A plan that is 100% funded has accumulated $1 of assets for every $1 of projected liability. This type of plan would be referred to as being fully funded. A plan that has a ratio under this amount, would be referred to as under funded and a plan exceeding 100% would be over funded. Normally, a plan is considered well funded if it is at least 90% funded.

How is the Plan funded?

Revenues of the Plan are provided from three sources:

  1. Member contributions
  2. Employer contributions
  3. Investment income

Members contribute 8.5% of their salary, which is distributed towards the cost of their potential retirement benefit (6.5%), a benefit for their spouse (1.5%) and towards the costs of future increases (0.5%). If a member leaves the service of the City or Board of Education and is eligible to a refund, they will receive back their contributions plus interest (3% per annum). Member contributions normally make up 15 to 20% of total revenues over a year.

The employer contributes an amount that is dictated by the Illinois Pension Code. For MEABF, the employer is responsible for contributing 1.25 times the amount the member contributed two years prior. Employer contributions normally make up 15 to 20% of total revenues over a year.

Investment income is generated by the investment of the Plan’s reserves. The income is comprised of dividends on stocks, interest on bonds, and gains on the investment assets. Investment income normally makes up 60 to 70% of total revenues over a year.

How is the Plan governed?

MEABF is governed in accordance with the requirements of the Illinois Pension Code. The Plan is administered by a five person Retirement Board (the Board) made up of three members elected by the active membership of the Plan and two ex-officio members selected by the Mayor of the City of Chicago by job title; the Comptroller and Treasurer of the City. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure all decisions made are in the best interest of the membership.

What is a defined benefit plan?

Similar to social security, a defined benefit plan is a plan where an employee is able to vest a defined retirement benefit, which is achieved by earning a required amount of qualified work history and attaining the necessary retirement age. A member of MEABF normally has earned the right to receive an undiscounted benefit under the following circumstances:

  1. 10 years of service at 60 years of age
  2. 25 years of service at 55 years of age
  3. 30 years of service at 50 years of age
What type of pension fund is MEABF?

The Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago (MEABF) is a governmental defined benefit plan established under Illinois State law to provide annuity benefits for certain municipal employees of the City of Chicago and career service employees of the Chicago Board of Education. The Fund is a qualified 401(a) plan under the Internal Revenue Code.

Thinking About Retiring?

The annuity calculator allows you to enter data to calculate an unofficial projection of your estimated Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF) retirement benefit.

Have You Returned to Work or Are You Considering Returning to Work?

Annuitants currently collecting a pension from the MEABF may not return to work for an employer who contributes to the MEABF in any capacity.Please contact the Fund's Annuitant Services team immediately if you have returned to work or if you have questions.