Preparing for Retirement

The transition into retirement can be overwhelming. As your retirement approaches, it is best to start planning a few months in advance. A common question among active members of the Fund is: "What is the best time of the month to retire?" The answer is: "The last day of the month is normally the best day to retire because we do not pay partial month annuities."

Once you have settled on retiring, the next step would be to request an estimate from the Retirement Fund. You should also verify that the Retirement Fund has all the required documents in your file.

The following documents will be required when applying for retirement:

  • Original birth certificate for employee
  • Original birth certificate for 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 Medicare cards for you and your spouse (if eligible)


The Fund will make copies of original documents and return the originals to you.

Once you have received your estimate and are certain that you will retire, you will need to contact the Human Resources Department regarding any deferred compensation questions, separation pay, COBRA dental, conversion of life insurance, and formalizing your retirement from the MWRDGC.

You should contact the Retirement Fund for a retirement annuity application. You may fill out the application on your own or set up an appointment with one of our Benefits staff members. Although we will attempt to accommodate walk-ins, it is always better to have an appointment. The advance notice allows staff to prepare the required forms before you come in to retire.

At the time of application, the following forms must be completed:


Application for Retirement Annuity: The application must be completed, signed, and notarized.

No Spouse Affidavit: If you are unmarried at the time of retirement, contributions for a spouse annuity will be refunded with 3% interest compounded annually. To affirm your marital status, a no spouse affidavit must be completed and notarized.

No Spouse Refund Application: If you are unmarried at the time of retirement, application for the refund of spousal contributions must be made. It is important that you read the form carefully and review the tax information before completing the application. There are additional tax consequences for employees who are receiving a no spouse refund and are under age 55. Please note, the Fund cannot give any tax advice. Contact a tax professional if you have any questions.

Designation of Beneficiary: Your designated beneficiary can be anyone you choose. If you are married, State law establishes a surviving spouse annuity for your eligible spouse after your death regardless of whether a beneficiary form is on file. However, if you do not have an eligible spouse or your spouse passes prior to your contributions being "collected back", the person(s) you designated as your beneficiary(ies) would receive any remaining contributions.

W4-P Form: Benefits received from the Fund are subject to federal tax withholding. You must complete and sign the W4-P form.

Signature Card: To verify your signature, the Fund collects your signature at retirement, and will periodically request signature updates.

Direct Deposit Authorization: To enroll in direct deposit, the direct deposit authorization form must be completed and signed. Additional documentation is required to establish the direct deposit. You will need to provide a voided check or a bank’s account verification form.

MWRDGC Health Insurance Application: Currently MWRDGC offers Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois PPO and HMO Illinois to retirees and dependents under age 65 and UnitedHealthcare MAPD for retirees and dependents over age 65. If you choose to participate in one of the MWRDGC retiree group health insurance plans, the insurance application must be completed and signed.

If you are over 65, you must apply for Medicare Part B. To avoid Late Enrollment Penalties, the Social Security Administration will provide a form for the MWRDGC Human Resources Department to complete to verify that you were actively covered by a group employer plan through the Medicare Part B effective date. Because this takes time, you should start your application at least six weeks in advance of retirement.

Please note, the MWRDGC Retiree Health Care Plan(s) are solely sponsored by MWRDGC and are subject to consideration of continuation by the MWRDGC Board of Commissioners. The Fund assists the MWRDGC in the administration of the Plan(s), but these plans are not subject to the requirements of the Illinois Pension Code.

Once all the Retirement Fund forms are complete, you will need to contact a MWRDGC Human Resources Department representative to sign their retirement form. Once the retirement form is filed with the Human Resources Department, the election to retire is irrevocable.

If you are retiring under reciprocity (service with another qualified fund), you must contact those fund(s) and apply for retirement with each fund. The retirement dates must be the same for all funds.

General Information as you start the Retirement Process:

Final MWRDGC Payroll: If you retire before the end of the year, you are only entitled to use 1/26th of your annual vacation for each full pay period that you work. If there is any overrun vacation time, the District's Payroll Department will collect it from your final check. Using more vacation than you have earned will result in the reduction of your pension service credit by the number of days of overused vacation. As a result, your retirement annuity will also decrease.

Federal Withholding Tax: At the time of retirement, you will elect federal tax withholding by completing a W4P form. Currently retirement annuities paid by the Fund are exempt from State taxes in the State of Illinois. If you relocate to another state, you will have to check with that state's Department of Revenue regarding taxation of retirement income.

Your federal tax withholding only changes at your direction. It is up to you to contact the Fund for a new W4P form whenever you feel it is necessary to update your federal tax withholding.

Annuity Payment: Annuities are paid on the first business day of the month. You will receive your first check approximately one month after your retirement effective date. However, if you are retiring reciprocally, then your first annuity payment may be two or three months after your retirement effective date.

Annual Increase: If you entered MWRDGC service or another qualified reciprocal Fund prior to January 1, 2011 (Tier I), you are entitled to receive an annual increase that is equal to 3% of the current monthly annuity. You will receive the increase on the anniversary of retirement.

If you entered MWRDGC service after January 1, 2011 (Tier 2), you are entitled to receive an annual increase each January that is at least one year after retirement. The increase is 3% or ½ of the Consumer Price Index-U from the third quarter of the year prior, whichever is less. The increase is calculated as a percent of the original annuity.

Social Security Administration: Windfall Elimination Provision & Government Pension Offset: During MWRDGC employment, no Social Security taxes (FICA) are deducted from your earnings. Because you are eligible for a government pension, your Social Security benefit, if any, may be reduced. Contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website, for more information on either the Windfall Elimination Provision or the Government Pension Offset.

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