IMPORTANT: This information is for ACTIVE members. Retirees have already received the benefit of ERO or they have received their refund.

The Early Retirement Option (ERO) for Illinois teachers, which allowed teachers to retire before age 60 without incurring a penalty, expired on July 1, 2016, because the legislature did not extend the ERO program.

In recent years, few teachers have taken advantage of ERO. Last year, only 150 people used it.

What does this mean?

The ERO contribution, which is 0.4% of salary, will no longer be deducted from paychecks. The money paid by members to TRS for the ERO benefit will be refunded, without interest.

What will happen next?

TRS is sending information and forms to each member.  There are several rules that will need to be followed by each member based on his or her financial needs. Please carefully review the information sent to you.


Refunds could be minimal if you have not been teaching much since July 1, 2005, or large if you have been teaching longer and have a higher salary.

If the refund is taken through a check, this will be considered taxable and you will receive a 1099 for your income taxes.

If the refund is rolled into a 403b, rollover IRA, 401k, 457c, or any other deferred investment option, this will not be a taxable event.  Be sure to follow all rollover rules and consult your tax advisor.

Get more information from TRS.

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