Working After You Retire

This summary highlights the rules regarding returning to work as a retiree to any employer. It outlines the effect, if any, on your public school pension.

For more information, you can review the full law here.


What Every Retiree Needs To Know Before Returning To Work

  1. Work That Won't Affect Your Pension

    There is no limit on your earnings (see disability exception noted below) if you return to work in:

    • A private sector job outside of a Michigan public school reporting unit
    • A private or parochial school in Michigan
    • A public school in another state
    • A college or university in Michigan that's not a part of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System

    You can earn as much as you want in these situations and still collect your full pension.

  3. Working After Receiving an Approved Disability Pension

    Because of the nature of a disability pension, you must gain approval from ORS before you return to work for any employer. Write a letter to ORS before you resume working. The letter should include:

    • job description,
    • complete information regarding the type of work you'll be doing, and
    • the name of your potential employer.

    Failure to gain approval in advance may result in termination of your disability pension.

Specific Rules for Public School or State Employment

Once we know this, we can then determine whether or not you'll be subject to limits based on the categories that follow.

Michigan public school reporting units include:

  • K-12 public school districts
  • Charter schools/Public School Academies*
  • Intermediate school districts
  • Some public libraries and museums
  • Tax supported community colleges
  • Central, Eastern, Northern, and Western Michigan Universities, Ferris State and Lake Superior State Universities, and Michigan Technological University

 *Charter/Public School Academies are considered reporting units even if they don't participate with the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.

  1. Bona Fide Termination for Public School and State Employment

    You cannot work in a Michigan public school reporting unit or for the State of Michigan during the month of your retirement effective date, even as a volunteer. You can't have a promise of reemployment or a contract for future employment in place to work in a Michigan public school reporting unit before you terminate employment and begin collecting your pension. A bona fide termination means there is a complete severing of the employee/employer relationship. If you are collecting your pension and it's subsequently discovered that a bona fide termination did not exist, you will be required to repay pension payments you erroneously received. In addition, you will be disenrolled from insurance retroactive to your retirement effective date. Any medical costs you incurred during this time will be your responsibility.

  2. Public School Employment

    You may be subject to earnings limits or forfeiture of your pension if you return to work either for or in a Michigan public school reporting unit. Working for a Michigan public school reporting unit means you have been hired directly by the school. You can also be working in a Michigan public school, but hired through a third party or as an independent contractor. (See the next section of this document for a list of those employers who are reporting units.)

  3. Earnings Limits Rules for Public School Employment

    The rules are different depending on whether you retire before or on or after July 1, 2010. Click the corresponding button below to you determine your earnings limit.

    Click here If you retired before July 1, 2010      Click here If you retired on or after July 1, 2010