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State Universities Retirement System (SURS)

Defined Benefit Plans: Traditional or Portable

A Defined Benefit Plan is a retirement plan that provides you with a specific, guaranteed amount when you retire. The amount you receive is based on the plan's formula, which takes into account your years of service and salary history. Investing your contributions to the plan is the responsibility of SURS, so you have no investment risk or responsibility.

SURS offers two Defined Benefit Plans: the Traditional Plan and the Portable Plan. Many characteristics of these two plans are similar. However, there are two important differences:

  • Portability - The Portable Plan allows for a larger refund if you leave SURS before retirement. The Traditional Plan does not.
  • Survivor Benefits - A percentage of your contributions with the Portable Plan is used to provide benefits to your survivors when you die. In the Traditional Plan, your survivor automatically receives a survivor benefit.

Your entire 8% contribution is allocated in the following way.

Contribution Allocation
% of Contribution Traditional Portable
6.50% Retirement Retirement
0.50% Automatic Annual Increase Automatic Annual Increase
1.00% Survivors Portability

Your employer contribution is actuarially determined each year, and can vary from year to year. It is approximately 9.1% of earnings at the time of your retirement and is used to fund your retirement benefits as well as to fund your disability benefit.

More information
It is important to consider which SURS Tier applies to you. See the SURS Summary Chart or the SURS Retirement Planning Workbook and view the SURS Plan Choice Video for additional information or contact SURS at 1-800-ASK-SURS or visit the SURS website.

Please Note: Federal Social Security does not cover University of Illinois employees eligible for SURS. Therefore, no Social Security taxes are withheld from earnings. However, persons hired on or after April 1, 1986, are subject to withholding of the Federal Medicare tax, which amounts to 1.45% of Medicare eligible salary. For further information, please read the Statement Concerning Your Employment in a Job Not Covered by Social Security.


Maintained by University Human Resources | Contact Information | Last Update: 13-January-2011 | ID: 129