SPRING FIELD – Illinois firefighters will be less worried about their retirement under a new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that was enacted on Friday.
“This law creates a level playing field for all Illinois firefighters,” Ellman said. “The previous law did not correct an oversight that would have cost hundreds of firefighters the time they served when they retired. “
Previously, firefighters outside of Chicago who started working after 2011 were not allowed to purchase service credits after changing employers. The new law ensures that all firefighters can purchase service credit if they move to a new employer who is covered by another fire pension fund.
Members of a pension system earn service credits for the time they have worked. A purchased service credit is an additional amount of service that participants in the pension system can purchase – or essentially switch from one pension system to another – that can be used to calculate how much a person will receive when they will retire.
Many firefighters outside of Chicago can buy credit when they change employers, so their service with their previous employer will count towards their retirement income. For example, a firefighter moving from Peoria to Rockford might buy his time in Peoria to move it to the Rockford system.
“Our firefighters risk their lives every day to protect our communities,” said Ellman. “This law will ensure that they will receive all of the benefits they have earned and deserve upon retirement. “
Senate Bill 167 is effective immediately.