Ililnois State Employees Association - ISEA Retirees <image>
Illinois State Employment Employees Association Retirees - ISEA Retirees

Welcome to The Illinois State
Employees Association Retirees

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.

ISEA Retirees make "Retirement As It Should Be”

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.

Pension Reform Law will NOT go to Supreme Court

Wednesday, September 9, 2015, the state attorney general’s office said “ the Illinois Supreme Court’s May ruling finding the state’s 2013 pension reform law unconstitutional will not be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The May unanimous ruling by the Illinois Justices was based on a provision in the state constitution which prohibits impairment or diminishment of public worker retirement benefits.

Their ruling was against the state’s argument that the state needed to invoke police powers and cut pension benefits in order to deal with the fiscal emergency.

This is a good day for all state retirees!

Rudy J. Kink, Jr.

ISEA Retirees Executive Director


Report on Attorneys Fees in the Retiree Laws Suits

     by John Coady, ISEAR Board President

Questions about attorneys’ fees and how they will be paid surround the two recent court cases concerning retirees’ benefits.  This report may help in explaining how attorneys’ fees were determined and how they are being paid.

The two cases

The older case, usually referred to as the “Kanerva case,” is nearing completion.  Kanerva involved the legislation and the lawsuit that followed on the State’s attempt to require retirees and their survivors to pay for health insurance.  The Illinois Supreme Court found this attempt to be unconstitutional.  The State is now enjoined from collecting health insurance premiums for retirees and their survivors.

The more recent case, usually referred to as the “pension reform case,” involved legislation and the lawsuit that followed on the State’s attempt to modify pension law, including slashing the annual 3% adjustment on pensions.  This case has fully concluded with the Illinois Supreme Court finding the attempted pension reform unconstitutional.

Why shouldn’t the State pay attorney fees?

In both cases, it was the position of ISEAR, along with other retiree groups, that if retirees won the lawsuits, then the State of Illinois should be forced to pay the retirees’ attorneys’ fees.  Many retirees personally testified in that regard in the Kanerva attorneys’ fees hearing held in April in Sangamon County Circuit Court. 

The contention that the State should pay the attorneys fees of the retirees was, in his words, “philosophically” shared by the trial court judge in the Kanerva case.  But the judge indicated in his written ruling that Illinois law provided no legal basis for that kind of fee shifting. 

ISEAR’s attorneys have told us that they believe the judge was correct on the status of Illinois attorneys’ fees law and that this legal principle applies to both cases.

Attorneys’ fees in the pension reform case

In the pension reform case, the attorneys required the groups that hired them to pay fees as contractually agreed upon.  Early investigation by ISEAR raised fears that our association’s attorneys’ fees in the case could approach $200,000.  ISEAR took action to reduce those potential fees.

First, in the process of hiring attorneys Don Craven of Springfield and Mike Reagan of Ottawa, both with excellent reputations in the legal area in question, ISEAR negotiated capped fees that could not exceed a set amount regardless of the length and complexity of the case.

Second, ISEAR sought the agreement of another retiree group to share the more expensive costs of an appellate lawyer.

These two steps have kept ISEAR’s share of attorneys’ fees in the now-concluded pension reform case under $100,000, that is, at $87,500.  Payment of those attorneys’ fees is coming from two sources.  

The first source for ISEAR’s payment of attorneys’ fees in the pension reform case came from the ISEAR membership’s wonderful and generous response to ISEAR Executive Director Rudy Kink’s appeal for contributions to a litigation fund in the summer of 2014.  This fund was for the pension reform case only.  The response of the membership was extraordinary and exceeded expectations.  Those contributions for the pension reform case total $31,0052.19 as of May 19, 2015, with moneys still coming in.

The remaining attorneys’ fees were paid from ISEAR’s reserves that were created for this kind of contingency.  The reserves have been slowly built over the years from our members’ faithful payment of dues.

Attorneys’ fees in the Kanerva case

Most of the lawsuits – in what is collectively called the “Kanerva case” – were brought by individual retirees, with one additional suit brought by a union, and another suit brought by a retiree group (other than ISEAR) who entered the case much later in the litigation.

The attorneys in the union’s case and the attorneys in the one retirees’ group case will be paid according to any contractual agreement entered into between the clients and the attorneys. 

The attorneys for the individual retirees agreed to take the case on a “contingency fee basis.”  This means that the attorneys would have been paid nothing if they lost the case and that they would receive a percentage of the money recovered if they won. 

Those individual retirees, such as Roger Kanerva whose name is used to identify the case, and their attorneys, such as Roger Kanerva’s attorney Don Craven, deserve retirees’ genuine gratitude for battling to preserve retirees’ rights and benefits.  They did so at a time many so-called legal experts predicted retirees would lose the battle of convincing the Illinois courts of the unconstitutionality of the State’s new practice of assessing retirees and survivors for health insurance premiums.

After the Illinois Supreme Court decided the Kanerva case in favor of the retirees, the trial judge held a hearing on attorneys’ fees.  In a written decision that was issued in mid-April, the trial judge determined that the “winnings” were $63,172,600.  Attorneys fees were set at $1,494,300 plus costs of $7,711.10.  The court ordered payment first from the $134,600 interest earned on the health insurance monies withheld by the State. The remaining attorneys fees and costs are to be paid by a 2.37% deduction from retirees’ and survivors refunds of health insurance premiums.

Each retiree and survivor who chose to remain in the Kanerva case will have 2.37% deducted from their health insurance premium refund, currently scheduled for payment in late June.  That means for every $1,000 refunded, the retiree or survivor will pay $23.70 towards attorneys’ fees.

ISEAR has been informed that the 2.37% may be the lowest percentage for attorneys’ fees in a class action suit that has ever been awarded in Illinois.  While the cash amount is large, ISEAR recognizes that fees must be set in a high enough amount to induce attorneys to take these kinds of risky cases or the rights of retirees would be wrongly taken away without anyone stepping forward to advocate for their restoration.  Most importantly, ISEAR believes Illinois law should be changed to make the State pay for the attorneys’ fees when the State unconstitutionally takes retirees’ rights and benefits away and not require the retirees to pay those fees.

ISEAR did not hire attorneys in the Kanerva case, but with Board approval did pay $5,000 to Attorney Craven towards his costs and fees at a time there was no certainty he would receive any fees whatsoever.  With the court’s order for payment of attorneys’ fees from the refunds of retirees’ health insurance premiums, Attorney Craven is returning the $5,000 to ISEAR.

Going forward

Unfortunately, ISEAR is told that there is wide skepticism in government and legal circles that this is the end of legislation that erodes retirees’ and survivors’ rights and benefits to health insurance and pensions.  More lawsuits may be necessary, and with more lawsuits, there will surely be more attorneys’ fees to pay.


  • Thanks to the retirees who initially filed suit to attempt to regain lost retirement rights and benefits that had been taken away by the State
  • Thanks to all the attorneys, especially ISEAR’s attorneys Craven and Reagan, for their excellent work, and a special thanks to the attorneys in the Kanerva case who filed suit without knowing if they would ever receive a fee
  • Thanks to ISEAR lobbyist Tom Ryder for coordinating ISEAR’s litigation at no additional fee
  • Thanks to all the ISEAR members who contributed toward the pension reform case litigation fund


Questions may be directed to ISEAR Board President John Coady at


Friday, May 8, 2015 the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the 2013 pension reform law as unconstitutional.

Read the Supreme Court Decision here

Pension Reform Law Struck Down by Springfield Judge


On November 21, 2014, the pension reform law climbed another step closer to the Illinois Supreme Court. Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Belz agreed with arguments by ISEA-R and others and declared the law unconstitutional. In a six-page ruling, Belz determined that the State of Illinois made a constitutionally protected promise to its employees. The state’s inability to pay the pensions promised to its employees should not become the problem of those employees. They are still owed their benefits, and the state must find a way to pay for them.

Belz disagreed with the state’s argument that pension benefits can be changed because the state’s fiscal condition qualifies as an emergency and enables the state to do things it is not ordinarily allowed to do under the Constitution. Belz ruled that the state presented an invalid defense. Belz explained that pension benefits must be protected and there are no allowable exceptions.

In a separate case earlier this year, Kanerva v. Weems, the IL Supreme Court ruled retiree health care benefits are constitutionally protected, even though they aren’t specifically mentioned in the Constitution’s pension clause. By extension, ISEA-R is hopeful that pension benefits, including the 3% compounded automatic annual increases (AAIs), will receive the same protection.

IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed an appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court. She indicated she will also ask the court to expedite the appeal of the pension case. ISEA-R has hired a very respected appellate attorney, Mike Reagan, to represent us in that appeal.

Official Kanerva Class Action Site

Kanerva -Health Care Lawsuit

As of October, health insurance premiums are no longer being deducted from pension checks. On November 22, the state and attorneys for retirees met in court for a status conference. The parties continue to work on logistics and a timeline to reimburse retirees for health insurance premiums wrongfully taken by the state since July 2013. More than 100,000 retirees are due refunds after the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a law that sought to eliminate the fully subsidized premiums earned by retirees. The next hearing to finalize the payment schedule and to get all the necessary documentation in order is scheduled for December 18, 2014.



Supreme Court Ruling Update

By this time, most of you have heard or read about the Kanerva decision of the Illinois Supreme Court. ISEA-R was not a party to the case, but we did financially support the legal cost in the case. Therefore ISEA-R and its members should share in claiming credit for the very favorable ruling of the court.

The Supreme Court ruled that the promised health care for retirees without cost to the retirees is a pension right protected by the Illinois Constitution. Further the court ruled that to require retirees to pay for their health care is a diminishment and impairment and therefore unconstitutional. The result is very good for retirees and provides a window into what the supreme court might do with cases in Sangamon County that object to the law that reduces the annual income adjustment.

However, the Kanerva case is far from over. The Supreme Court will return the case to Sangamon County for further proceedings. The process in Sangamon County could take several months. We expect that withholding from pension payments will continue unless ordered by the court. The good news is that all of the funds that have been withheld each month have been  deposited into a special account. Therefore when the court orders the withholding to stop and the refunds to issue, there is no issue as to the availability of the money.

ISEA-R is proud to have been a part of this very important decision, but it is just one skirmish in an ongoing fight. We continue to battle to protect the interest of our members and retirees as the Kanerva case and the pension case continues.


On January 3, 2014, ISEAR filed a lawsuit in Sangamon County Court that challenged the constitutionality of the Pension Reform Act.  That lawsuit is called Illinois State Employees Association Retirees vs the Board of Trustees of the State Employees Retirement System, et al and is case number 2014 CH 3.

On May 14, 2014 a Sangamon County Judge stopped the Pension Reform Act from going into effect on July 1, 2014.  The Illinois Supreme Court previously consolidated four other similar lawsuits to Sangamon County joining the lawsuit filed by ISEAR, which in essence challenges the changing of the 3% automatic annual increase as a violation of contractual law and the Illinois constitution.  The temporary injunction issued by the Sangamon County Judge only prevents the Pension Reform Act from going into effect on July 1 until the case is finalized in his court.

In addition to our own pension lawsuit, ISEAR contributed funds to help defray attorney’s fees in the case entitled Kanerva v Weems.  On July 3rd the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that state retirees’ health insurance is a pension benefit that cannot be diminished or impaired by the Illinois General Assembly.  While that is just a preliminary ruling in the case, it greatly increases the chances that state retirees will not have to pay toward health insurance, which is what most state retirees believe they had been promised all along.

We believe that our pension reform lawsuit will also be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.   We anticipate very expensive legal fees that may exceed $100,000.  We have contracted with Don Craven of Springfield to handle the trial work in the Sangamon County court and Michael Reagan to represent us on appeal.  Both attorneys are very well respected and distinguished on constitutional issues and appeals.

The Board understands that the assaults upon State Retirees’ benefits are unprecedented and, if successful, will financially impact retirees and their survivors for decades. The stakes are too high to sit on the sidelines and do nothing.  Our constitutional guarantee for our pension is just too important.  For those reasons, the Board has established a special fund within ISEAR to accept contributions to help with the costs of this legal battle. 

Your faithful payment of dues is greatly appreciated to pay the ordinary operating expenses and some legal costs, however, we expect the cost will eventually significantly diminish our resources.  For this end, we are asking anyone who wishes to contribute to the legal fund to please do so.  These donations will be used only for our legal expense.  Enclosed is a self-addressed envelope for you to use to send your contribution to us.  Whatever amount you might decide to contribute will be deeply appreciated. 

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Rudy J. Kink, Jr
Executive Director

May 14, 2014

Today, a Sangamon County Circuit Judge ordered that the Pension Reform Act, sometimes referred to as Senate Bill 1, is to be stayed during the pendency of the lawsuit. Five lawsuits have been filed by various Plaintiffs. Those lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of the Pension Reform Act. The Supreme Court consolidated all five actions to the Circuit Court in Sangamon County. The Judge's decision today means that the bill will not go into effect until the Judge makes a final decision on the issues of the lawsuits. The decision of the Judge is to maintain the status quo before Senate Bill 1 became law.


Please see the link to a press release released on December 20, 2013 by ISEA Retirees director Rudy J. Kink, Jr. regarding ISEA Retirees litigation on behalf of Retired State Employees against the new pension reform passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Quinn.

Press Release 12/20/13.

Complaint No Exhibit

Exhibit to Complaint


Update 3/3/14

The Supreme court has agreed with our motion to consolidate all the retiree cases to Sangamon County. This is great News!


Update 12/4/13

On Tuesday, December 3, both the Senate and House of the Illinois General Assembly returned to Springfield for a single day session.  Although other business was considered, the major reason for this special session day was pension reform.  A Conference Committee report to Senate Bill 1 was signed by 9 of the 10 members of the committee.  That report was then considered by both the House and the Senate.  Because of the conference committee format, the procedure for considering the report was a bit different that the usual passage of bills in the General Assembly.  It allowed the House and the Senate to debate and vote on the report simultaneously.  The result was that the legislation passed both the Senate (by a vote of 30 yes and 24 no) and the House (by a vote of 62 yes and 53 no).  Because the bill is not immediately effective (it will become effective June 1, 2014), it only needed 30 votes in the Senate and 60 votes in the House.  The Governor has promised to sign the bill as soon as it is delivered to him.

       Our lobbyist, Tom Ryder, was one of the few selected to testify to the Conference Committee at a hearing held Tuesday morning.  Ryder told the committee members that the bill treated retirees unfairly.  He indicated that retirees had a contractual expectation that the rules in effect at the time of their retirement date would continue during the entirety of their retirement.  Ryder expressed appreciation that the reform report allowed those receiving the smallest pensions to continue with the 3% annual compounding adjustment.  He was critical of the change that penalized the remaining retirees by diminishing the annual adjustment.  Finally, Ryder requested that the legislature and the Governor’s administration create an advisory panel of retirees so retirees could have a direct voice in the consideration of any proposed future changes in the retirement system.

       It is generally acknowledged that the pension reform legislation will be challenged in the courts.  The leadership of the Illinois State Employees Association-Retirees will be meeting in the next few days to determine the best pathway to participate in the challenge to the law and to continue the fight to protect the rights of our retiree members.


Medicare Advantage Information

Medicare-eligible retirees and survivors have received information regarding the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Enrollment Period. The informational kits are mailed to Medicare retirees enrolled in the State Employees Group Insurance Program, the Teachers’ Retirement Program (TRIP) and the College Insurance Program (CIP).

The TRAIL Open Enrollment Period is Oct. 15th thru Nov. 15, 2014. Informational Seminars will be held through out the State of Illinois to give retirees and survivors who are newly eligible for the Trail Program, as well as members currently enrolled in one of the Medicare Advantage Plans, a chance to hear information on the health plans being offered for the 2015 plan year. The seminars will begin Oct. 14th and go through Nov. 3rd. You may go online to to check the dates, times and locations for your area.

The health plans being offered for the new plan year include: UnitedHealthcare PPO, Humana HMO, Coventry Advantra HMO and Health Alliance MAPD HMO. These plans will have the TRAIL logo on them.

The fall 2014 TRAIL enrollment materials have been posted to the TRAIL website Members with questions regarding the TRAIL Open Enrollment Period may call the TRAIL Call Center (8:30-4:00) Monday thru Friday. The TRAIL Call Center can be reached at: (800) 610-2091. Or you may call our office (217) 698-6070 and we will be happy to assist you.

  1. The member must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, AND
  2. If the member has dependents on his/her coverage, ALL of the covered dependents must also be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and B.

If the member has a dependent on his/her coverage who is not enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, the member will not be included in the group of members set to be offered a Medicare Advantage plan. The member and dependents will all remain in the current health plan.

What happens to a member’s other State-offered plan benefits, like dental, vision and life insurance? Will a member still have them when changing to a Medicare Advantage plan?

Yes, members will continue to have the same dental, vision, and life plan benefits from the same plan administrators that they are currently enrolled.

Will a member be able to make changes to his/her coverage during the annual Benefit Choice Period held in May each year?

No. Retirees who become part of the State-sponsored Medicare Advantage group of members have a new annual enrollment period in the fall of each year to coincide with the federal Medicare calendar plan year.

Do the State-sponsored Medicare Advantage plans include prescription coverage?

Yes, all of the Medicare Advantage plans being offered have prescription drug coverage included with no gap (i.e., donut hole).

Are there any special programs being offered through these Medicare Advantage plans?

Yes, each Medicare Advantage plan offers a variety of wellness/clinical programs, such as the Silver Sneakers® fitness program. Although the programs vary by health plan vendor, some examples include various wellness programs, disease management programs, case management programs, discount programs, medication therapy management and meal programs.



Benefits Choice - Group Insurance Benefits

Members enrolled in any of the four group insurance programs administered by the State of Illinois are provided health and prescription drug benefits. Some programs offer additional benefits of vision, dental and life insurance coverage. The four groups include State employees and retired State employees; retired community college employees; retired Illinois teachers; and active employees and retired employees of Illinois' local governments. Use the CMS address - to visit the Benefits Choice website for more information.


Medicare Exchange Portal for ISEAR

Disclaimer: The information provided is for general plan comparison only. While companies strive for accuracy, we cannot guarantee the information to be a perfect representation of benefits, nor can we guarantee accuracy of the premium amount shown. Licensed Medicare Supplement Insurance Specialists should be consulted for a detailed description of benefits and limitations.

Guaranteed Issue Rights or Medigap Protections (Information from the website explaining rights one has in certain situations when insurance companies are required by law to sell or offer you a Medigap policy even if you have health problems (called "pre-existing conditions.").


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.

2013 Legislative Report


Pension Update

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.”

Madigan filed four amendments, two each to House Bill 1154 and House Bill 1165.

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.


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 been the 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
P. O. Box 2710
Champaign, IL 61825-2710

Teachers Retirement System
P. O. Box 19253
Springfield, IL 62794-9253

State Employees Retirement System
2101 South Veterans Parkway, P. O. Box 19255
Springfield, IL 62794-9255


Read More News

Current Newsletter



ISEA Retirees
1548 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, IL 62702-4735
Phone: (217) 698-6070, (217) 698-6087, (217) 698-6112
Fax: (217) 698-6079