Welcome to The Illinois State
Our Mission Statement
The Association is constituted to promote the welfare of public employees who have retired from service with the State of Illinois in all ways compatible with the public interest and to support and promote improvements in the public employee’s retirement systems of Illinois.
Retirement is when you spend less time worrying and more time enjoying
the “golden years”. ISEA Retirees can help eliminate your
worries by letting you discuss them with a live person rather than a
machine each weekday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. We can help eliminate
tax and retirement issues, insurance problems, long-term care questions
and rates, home safety with security systems and even help you get fresh
hearing aid batteries at blue light special prices. Our staff pledges
to help make your retirement truly a pleasant one.
To ISEA Retirees
Subject: ISEA Retirees to support Retiree’s case before Supreme Court
As the Executive Director of the Illinois State Employees Association Retirees, I have never seen a more frustrating time for our retirees.
On July 1, the State of Illinois begins imposition of health insurance premiums upon State of Illinois retirees. As I write this to you, the General Assembly is considering various proposals for drastic pension reform that will affect these same retirees.
Many retirees resent the unilateral denial in their retirement years of what they believed the State had previously promised them. Many others feel it is profoundly unfair for retirees to hear the financial consequences that resulted from legislators repeated failures to properly fund the pension systems, despite being told many times to do so. The state’s retiree’s pleas to the General Assembly for fairness seem to be falling on deaf ears.
The ISEA Retirees’ Board of Directors has carefully considered litigation on both the health insurance matter (that is already law) and on pension reform (should it become law). Our informal advisors tell us that our legal arguments are stronger on the pension reform matter than on health insurance costs. Due to the large costs of litigation, some consideration was given by the Board to use our limited funds for a potential pension reform lawsuit only rather than suits on both health insurance premiums and pension reform.
But the ISEA Retirees’ Board of Directors has determined that ISEA Retirees cannot remain on the sidelines any longer on the health insurance case. While our finances are insufficient to maintain our own case against the State of Illinois, the Board has decided to support the legal efforts of the retirees who filed in Sangamon County in the case of Kanerva v. Weems, Sangamon Co. Case No. 2012-MR-582. State of Illinois retirees in that particular suit have retired from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety, and the Illinois Department of Corrections. Many legal observers believe that it is probable if these retirees prevail in their case, all retirees will benefit from that court victory.
With other State of Illinois retirees’ law suits around the State, the Kanerva case was consolidated into one case in Sangamon County Circuit Court under the case name of Maag v. Quinn, Sangamon Co. Case No. 2012-L-162. Last month, all of the retirees’ cases were dismissed by a ruling that allows the State to assess retirees with the cost of health insurance. The Illinois Supreme Court has made a rare move by accepting a direct appeal of that dismissal decision.
By agreement with the Kanerva case retirees’ attorneys, ISEA Retirees is contributing to their cost of the appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court. ISEA Retirees will not be a party to that suit, but the attorneys will communicate with me as the ISEA Retirees Executive Director and keep me informed on the progress of that appeal. I will, likewise, keep our membership advised of the developments.
The ISEA Retirees Board is satisfied that while some legal interests of the Kanerva case retirees are different from some of our retirees, there are sufficient similar legal interests to warrant $5,000 financial support in the attempt to seek fairness from the Illinois Supreme Court in the treatment of State of Illinois retirees. Regardless of the odds of success, the alternative is to give up without a fight. In the Board’s review, the stakes are too high and the consequences are too long-term not to join the legal battle.
Spending your ISEA Retirees’ dues are decisions that are never made frivolously by your Board. Paying for legal efforts to protect retirees’ health insurance benefits is, in the Board’s opinion, a proper expenditure of the ISEA Retirees’ funds. While our accounts are not large, they are sufficient to cover this payment without any appeal for contributions from members.
If pension reform eventually becomes law (as has health insurance matters), ISEA Retirees’ Board of Directors will consider litigation options at that time.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
Rudy J. Kink, Jr.
March 19, 2013
Judge Stephen Nardulli ruled against Lawsuit for Illinois Retirees regarding their Health and Insurance Premiums. We are looking into the ruling and must now decide upon our next action.
Although it has introduced a dozen or so amendments, House Bill 3411 seems to be catching the interest of many observers. That, in part, allows the retirees to collect a COLA but it would be limited to 3% of the first $25,000 of the retirement benefit. It also does away with the compounding of the benefit. We still feel that this would be unconstitutional as it would diminish our benefit.
We also understand that AFSCME and the State have agreed on a contract for the next two years. Within this agreement was a provision for retirees health care cost. We understand that the retirees who are currently on Medicare would pay 1% of their monthly benefit for their health insurance. Those not on Medicare would pay 2% of their monthly benefit. We have not seen anything in writing to this effect, and are only reporting this information as supplied to us by our sources. We will keep you advised of any other developments.
During former Governor Edgar's administration he gave all negotiating rights for health insurance to AFSCME because this union had more State employee members than the other unions. In addition, to keep from further complications (meaning reducing time spent with other State entities/departments) AFSCME health insurance negotiations would include everyone who worked for the State, including management, all other non-union employees, and in addition all State and university retirees.
Senate Bill 1313 (Public Act 097-0695) required all state retirees to pay part of their insurance premiums, even those with 20 or more years of service. This issue is being challenged in the court now.
ISEA Retirees and their Coalition (SUAA & RSEA) have been in meetings with Central Management Services to make sure that our concerns were heard.
The Coalition feels that the State retirees were not being represented correctly. It was our contention and it continues to be that the retirees should no longer be expected to be part of the negotiations for those who are actively working, those who are members of AFSCME. The number one reason is the inability for the retirees to vote on what has been negotiated for them. As it stands, those who vote on the retiree health insurance premium will be the working members of AFSCME. While the directive from Governor Edgar has been enforced since his administration, it is no longer reasonable for retirees to take a backseat or no seat during negotiations which compromise or make changes to their livelihood.
In 2009, the arbitrator involved in the lawsuit over the dental insurance "ruled that because retirees are not employees and therefore are not members of a bargaining unit, the grievance arbitration process is foreclosed to them and instead retirees and their survivors must consider other appropriate venues if they wish to challenge the Employer's actions in regard to their negotiated benefits contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement." We began working on being able to represent the retirees even if there was little to no change to the health insurance other than co-pays, deductibles and plans.
The Coalition has been working for a number of years now to resolve this injustice of lack of representation. Borrowing from an email that was received from a member in reference to the AFSCME negotiated new health insurance premiums - "although in a different form, in essence retirees are being subjected to "taxation without representation."
The three organizations have continued to write letters to leadership, have had face-to-face meetings with leadership, the Governor's office, along with other influential policymakers and as stated previously met with Central Management Services on many occasions. What has always been disconcerting and continues to be is the inability for legislators to understand the unfairness of retirees not being represented at the negotiating table regardless of their utilization of "free" health insurance.
As it stands, currently working union members will be voting on their negotiated contract over the next several weeks. Unfortunately, the retirees will not have the same opportunity to vote on their negotiated health insurance premiums.
At this time, there continues to be a lawsuit pending over the legality/constitutionality of eliminating the guarantee of affordable health care for retirees. The judge has given the parties "three weeks to submit statements setting forth the separate legal issues in the case to streamline possible appeals."
So as the health insurance situation continues to heat up it is not apparent as to what decision will be handed down. There are a number of conflicting thoughts, and regardless of how the judge rules in the Sangamon County Circuit Court, both sides have the right to appeal to the Appellate Court.
There will be many more questions as the health insurance issue evolves. At this time, the negotiated health insurance premiums must go before the Joint Committee of Administrative Rules and the lawsuits will continue to be heard.
As stated previously, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, along with additional health insurance exchanges cannot be ignored. ISEA will continue to advocate for retirees right to negotiate their health insurance plans and possibly the premiums if it is determined by the court that the premiums are to be paid.
( Thanks goes to the SUAA Executive Director, Linda Brookheart for her hard work for the IL Retiree and in sharing this information with us)
Illinois House members considers a vote on a series of state pension changes, including proposals to require higher employee contributions and eliminate retirement benefit increases.
A Madigan spokesman said the idea behind the amendments is to “get the discussion moving and try to control pension costs.”
These Bills would:
* End cost-of-living adjustments to pension benefits for anyone hired before Jan. 1, 2011. Presently retirees receive a 3 percent compounded COLA annually. Other pension proposals have called for limiting COLAs, but not eliminating them.
* COLAs could be eliminated until the pension systems achieve an 80 percent funding level. (the five state-funded pension systems now have a funding level of approximately 39 percent).
* The retirement age would be raised to 67 as the age which a person could collect full pension benefits.
* Working employees’ contributions to their pensions would be increased by 5 percent from their salary, not counting the amount presently paid by employees into the system.
Matter of Interest:
Late Claims Payments release time is currently between 11-12 months from the time the claim is processed.
As many of you are aware, there has been a lot of talk and criticism over the benefits State Employees receive upon retirement. This has beenthe reason for several committee meetings andproposed legislation to make changes in a retiree’s benefits.
The Retirees Coalition, made up of the Illinois State Employees Association Retirees (ISEA/R), the State University Annuitants Association (SUAA) and the Retired State Employees Association (RSEA) and their lobbyists, have attended each committee meeting to voice opposition to any change in benefits. The Coalition has held meetings with Senate President John Cullerton, Senate Minority Leader Christine Rodagno and House Minority Leader Tom Cross to discuss our position.
The Coalition plans additional meetings with these leaders as well as other legislative leaders in our effort to protect retiree’s benefits.
Coalition for Retirees Rights
From Left: Bill Curry, RSEA President; Linda Brookhart, SUAA Executive Director; Rudy J. Kink, Jr. ISEA/R Executive Director
State University Retirement System
Teachers Retirement System
State Employees Retirement System
|Copyright © 2006 Illinois State Employees Association|