Pension FUNDamentals

Established by the State of Illinois on July 1, 1895, Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (“CTPF”, “Fund”) is a public employee retirement system. CTPF Membership includes more than 88,000 members: serving Chicago’s public/charter school teachers, administrators, certified personnel, and CTPF staff.

CTPF is governed by Illinois law and managed by an independent, 12-member Board of Trustees. CTPF Trustees have fiduciary responsibility for Fund operations, approve benefit programs, and make investment decisions.

If you’re at the beginning of your career, it may be hard to picture yourself retired. Yet, planning for retirement should begin the first day of employment. Your pension, administered by CTPF, is one of your most important assets.

Our Fund Facts has a snapshot of CTPF information. 

Our website provides up-to-date information for CTPF members.

Defined Benefit Plan

CTPF members participate in a defined-benefit retirement plan, which offers a secure retirement income for life. Once earned, a pension does not lose value or change with investment or market conditions. CTPF members do not contribute to Social Security during employment. Instead, each pay period, pension contributions are withheld by the employer and sent to CTPF. At retirement, CTPF calculates a pension for retirees that meet the eligibility requirements.  

 Your retirement pension is:  

  • Based on service credit, final average salary (FAS), and the pension multiplier.  
  • Paid throughout your lifetime. 

Wondering what your pension might look like? CTPF’s online Monthly Pension Planner offers a rough estimate of your future monthly income.  

Reciprocal Pension

Have you worked for another Illinois public pension system? The Illinois Reciprocal Act may allow you to combine your service credit. Visit the Reciprocal Systems section on for more information at.

Survivor Benefits

The surviving spouse and/or dependent minor children of both active and retired members may qualify to receive survivor benefits which include:  

  • A portion of the deceased member’s pension.  
  • A lump-sum death benefit based on the member’s service and status as an active or retired employee. The lump-sum death benefit is paid according to the person(s) named on the member’s Designation of Beneficiary form. It’s important to keep this form up-to-date as you experience life events.  

The lump-sum death benefit is paid according to the person(s) named on the member’s Designation of Beneficiary form. It’s important to keep this form up-to-date as you experience life events.  

CTPF Financial Condition & Funding

Contributions, together with CTPF investment returns, fund pensions. CTPF revenue sources include: Member contributions, employer contributions, property tax receipts, and State of Illinois contributions.   

CTPF publishes Comprehensive and Popular Annual Financial Reports which document CTPF’s financial position and offer more information about its financial outlook. You can find the reports here.

Next Steps

During your teaching career make sure that you:  

  • Complete a CTPF Designation of Beneficiary form and update it as important life events occur (marriage, civil union, birth of a child, divorce, etc.). The lump-sum death benefit is paid according to the Designation on file at CTPF at the time of a member’s death.  
  • Keep your employer and CTPF up-to-date with any changes in your demographic information, such as change of address or marital status. Active members report changes to CPS. Retirees should contact CTPF Member Services.  
  • Review pay stubs to ensure pension contributions are deducted. Call your employer’s payroll department in case of an error.  
  • Review the information sheet Maximizing Your Pension to better understand opportunities to purchase service credit and increase your pension.  
  • Consider the benefits of reciprocity. If you earned service credit in another Illinois public retirement system, review the Reciprocal Systems section on or contact CTPF to discuss your options.  
  • Share your voice. Vote in CTPF’s Annual Trustee Elections, conducted in the fall. 
  • Read Pension News distributed three times per year.