Chicago pensioners lose thousands in Illinois pension plan coverage
Chicago pensioner Linda Pazio said she lost $739,000 in her state pension and $839,500 in her Illinois pension when the Illinois pension system closed for the year.
Her attorney, John L. Bennett, said Pazios family was left with no choice but to pay a $12,000 fine to settle the case.
“There’s a very significant financial burden that she’s going to have to carry on her behalf,” Bennett said.
Pazietos family was forced to pay $8,500 to the Illinois Department of Retirement and Social Services for $7,500 that was lost due to the pension system shutdown.
Bennett said the pension fund’s trustees had asked for a lump sum payment of $12.5 million, but were not allowed to make that offer because of the state’s law that prohibits any payment for any reason other than to settle a lawsuit.
The Illinois Department said it was aware of the situation and has taken steps to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.
Pazzietos had been an employee of the Illinois Pension and Retirement System, or ILPSS, for more than 25 years.
She was paid the state pension starting in 2012 and then a monthly stipend for two years.
The state said Pazzios retirement was due to her service to the public and she had no prior disciplinary record.
PAZIOS SLEPT AT HOME FOR DAYS ON HER MOMS BENEFITS Chicago police pensioner Patricia Paziatos said she has been unable to work for more then four years due to a medical condition and was forced into homelessness.
“I’m in bed in the morning,” Pazia told The Associated Press.
“When I get up I feel dizzy. “
It’s hard to sleep in bed,” she said.
“When I get up I feel dizzy.
It’s hard for me to function, especially when I have to do all these things that I don’t need to do.”
The pension was meant to pay for Pazios family’s medical bills but Pazianos lost $1,800 of her monthly stipends when she fell ill in 2014.
She had no medical insurance and no pension.
She has been unemployed since then.
“My family is very upset,” she told The AP.
“We have to live on the income that we get.”
Paziacos is one of thousands of Illinois retirees who lost their pension coverage as part of the law passed by the Illinois Legislature in 2017 that reduced the state to its lowest pension levels since 1990.
The law requires state pension plans to cut the amount of pension payouts to about $300 per month for current employees.
The cuts, combined with the closure of the Chicago police department, reduced the pensions for retirees to $717 a month.
In 2016, about half of Illinois residents aged 65 and older were retired.
The rest of the pensioners, who earn $50,000 or less, had pensions reduced by about 40 percent, according to a report by the pension administrator, the Illinois State Employees Retirement System.
Pazoietos, who was laid off in December, said she was told she could no longer receive her full pension because of her medical condition.
“If they don’t let me retire, I’m going to go back and get my pension and they’re going to kick me out of the program,” she warned.
Pazios said the state should not be forcing pensioners to pay more money for things they do not need.
“That’s not the Illinois way, to tell people what they have to pay to get the pension,” she added.
“They’re trying to cut their own retirement.”
The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would make it easier for Illinois to recover some of the money that had been lost.
The bill would allow the Illinois legislature to set a cap on pension payments and would allow lawmakers to set monthly payments to determine when the state is “full.”
But Bennett, Paziantos attorney, said the bill did not address how the state can recover those funds.
“The bill is really just an effort to give the state the ability to take care of the people who are not eligible for the pension, which is retirees,” he said.
The governor’s office said the governor has “made it a priority to reduce Illinois’ unfunded pension liabilities.”
It said Illinois will take steps to make sure that pension pay out is not affected by any of the current economic conditions, including reducing the amount by which the state makes pension payments.
PIZIOS HAS NOT CHOSEN TO RETIRE IN ILLEGAL FORMS Pazienos, 70, was born in Chicago, Illinois, and moved with her family to Chicago in 1972.
She married her husband, Don Paziotos, in 1984 and the couple has three daughters.
Pizietos said her