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Article posted: 5/17/2013 5:00 AM

Pension plus paycheck is galling

While not widespread, one particularly galling aspect of Illinois pensions is the ability of individuals to retire from one government job, collect pension benefits and immediately take a different government job, with a new salary and still be allowed to collect the government pension from their first government job.

There is nothing preventing a government worker from retiring from their government job, collecting their pension and then going to work in the private sector. However, if a person is eligible for a taxpayer funded-pension and "retires" in order to collect that pension, that benefit should stop once they take a new government job that pays them a salary and provides all the benefits of government employment.

The idea that a government worker can leave one job, assume another, collect a salary and benefits while accruing new pension benefits and still receive their "retirement" pension from their first government job is ludicrous.

And let us not forget the second government job has pension benefits that are not impacted by the receipt of the first pension. Thus a double-dipping worker has the ability to collect two pensions, which come out of the same pot, taxpayer-funded programs.

A second government job should stop collection of any pension benefits or at least meet a financial threshold, like Social Security, that reduces the benefit if the new job's salary is at an established minimum amount.

Retirement means, "I'm leaving the workforce and moving on in life." It doesn't mean "retiring" from one government job in order to take a second government job and having the benefit "clock" reset in order to accrue new benefits while collecting the old ones.

Steve Sarich


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