Membership

You are a member of the State Employees' Retirement System's Defined Benefit (DB) plan if you work for the State of Michigan or one of its noncentral agencies as described below:

  • You are a classified or unclassified state employee hired before March 31, 1997, unless you elected to transfer to the state's 401(k) Defined Contribution retirement plan under P.A. 487 of 1996. This includes civil service employees, appointed officials in the executive branch, and employees of the legislature and judiciary branch.
  • You work for the Business Enterprise Program, Mackinac Island State Park, or Michigan State Bar and you were hired before March 31, 1997.
  • You were hired before October 1, 1996, and are employed by the American Legion, American Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corps League, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Wayne County Clerk Recorders Court, Third Circuit Court, or 36th District Court.

Even though they work under state jurisdiction, Michigan judges, state police, and public school employees have their own retirement systems (each also administered by ORS), as do state legislators. They are not members of the State Employees' Retirement System.

You may be active, deferred, or retired.

Participants in the retirement system are classified in one of the following categories:

  • Active Member. You are an active member in the DB plan while you are on the state of Michigan (or noncentral agency) payroll. You are considered an active member while laid off or on a leave of absence as long as an employee/employer relationship exists. Active members can be further defined as either contributing or noncontributing.
    • Contributing. As an active contributing member of the DB plan, you're in the DB Classified plan and you're contributing to the pension fund. If you chose the DB 30 plan, you are an active contributing member of the DB plan until you reach 30 years of service credit.
    • Noncontributing. As an active noncontributing member of the DB plan, you switched from the DB plan to the Defined Contribution (DC) plan. Once you switch to the DC plan, you're no longer contributing to the pension fund, but you retain all of the eligible pension benefits you earned before the date you switched. DB/DC Blend members switched to the DC plan April 1, 2012, and DB 30 members switch after earning 30 years of service credit.
  • Deferred Member. You stop working for the state before you're old enough to draw your pension, but you have worked long enough to be eligible when you reach age 60. Most members are vested - meaning they have sufficient service to qualify for a benefit but don't yet meet the age requirement - when they have the equivalent of ten years of full-time state employment. Unclassified legislative employees, executive branch employees, and Department of Community Health employees involved in a facility closing are vested after five years of full-time service.
  • Retiree. You are receiving a pension (disability or retirement) from the retirement system.

Returning to Employment

If you previously worked as a State of Michigan employee and left employment, what plan you are in will depend on whether you were vested when you left and when you return to work. Follow this link to Returning To State Employment for more information.