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Cook County Pension Fund: This is the defined benefit pension fund that administers pension and healthcare benefits for 15,000 Cook County Retirees.

Cook County Pension Fund Board of Trustees: The pension fund is governed by its own board of directors consisting of 9 members: 3 retirees, 4 current employees, and two appointees of the Cook County Treasurer and Cook County Comptroller.

Pension Benefit/Annuity Benefit: This is the annual amount a retiree will receive when they retire.

Current Employee/Active Employee: Any employee of Cook County that is currently employed and participating in the Cook County Pension Fund.

Retiree/Annuitants: Any former Cook County employee that has retired from service and is now collecting a pension.

Retirement Age: The age at which a current employee can retire.

COLA: Cost of living adjustment, abbreviated as COLA. This is an amount of money that a retiree receives annually in addition to their pension benefit.

  • -Compound COLA: Pension payments increase by 3% every year and include benefit increases from previous years.
  • -Simple COLA: Pension payments increase by a fixed amount that equals 3% of the original benefit. 

Vesting: The number of years an employee must work before they are granted the right to a pension.

Funded Status: This percentage represents the amount of money available today to pay for promised pension benefits. The figure is calculated by dividing the total actuarial value of assets by the actuarial liability of the fund.

Actuarial Value of Assets: The value assigned by the actuary to the assets of the pension fund.

Actuarial Accrued Liability: This is the actuarially determined value of benefits already promised to employees and retirees.

Actuarial Present Value: The value of an amount or series of amounts payable at various times, determined as of a given date by the application of a particular set of actuarial assumptions.

Unfunded Actuarial Liability: The unfunded liability is the difference between the total cost of promised pension benefits and the current value of pension fund assets. Unfunded liability does not account for the future accrual of benefits.

Actuarial Assumption: This is an assumption used by the actuary to determine the future cost of benefits. The actuary calculates these assumptions by conducting studies of past experience.

Property Tax Levy: This is the dollar amount that a governmental unit collects from a taxing district. The dollar amount is divided by the total value of property in the taxing district to determine the tax rate percentage (%).

Benefit Multiplier: This percentage multiplied by the years of service equals the amount of final average salary a retiree receives as a pension annuity.

Final Average Salary: The salary amount used to determine pension benefits.