Countdown to Retirement

Apply for retirement Prepare for retirement by using miAccount. A pension estimate - your most important pension planning tool - can be run from miAccount using the very numbers your employer reports to ORS. Log in and run your estimate today!


Are you considering your options for retirement? Below are some things to think about as you countdown to retirement.

24 months to retirement
Checkmark Log into miAccount and review your service credit totals for accuracy, and consider whether any credit for refunded service, military service, or other service is available. 
Checkmark Use the Estimate Pension function in miAccount to estimate your pension and explore the various payment options.
Checkmark Request an estimate of your retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration
Checkmark Attend a preretirement orientation through the Michigan Civil Service Commission.
Checkmark Check out the Tutorials, Webinars, and Seminars section on our website.
Checkmark Review your current living expenses and project what these will be at retirement. Will your income from all sources cover your projected expenses?
Checkmark Anticipate new or recurring expenses (car, medical, home repairs), and perhaps take care of some of these before you retire.
Checkmark Evaluate your other investments. When will these funds be available? What are the withdrawal options: lump sum or recurring payments? Voya Financial® can provide you with payout options and potential tax ramifications if you have State of Michigan 401(k) and/or 457 account(s).
Checkmark Consider your tax situation. How much will you be required to pay in income taxes? Are there any special tax breaks on retirement income where you live?
Checkmark Time your retirement to fit your goals. Consider these items:
  • The time from your last paycheck to your first retirement check.
  • The date of your first postretirement increase.
  • If you participate in a flexible benefits payment program, consider how your date of retirement will affect this account.
Checkmark Begin studying the pension payment options available.
 
18 months to retirement
Checkmark Research medical insurance for your family and investigate the following. 
  • State-sponsored plan.
  • Medicare. Go to www.medicare.gov for information.
  • Medicare supplement (if you or a dependent are over age 65).
  • Spouse's employment. Will you be able to continue coverage in the event of your spouse's retirement or death?
Checkmark Will you still need individual disability coverage? Ask your insurance provider if there is an offset provision for other income received.
Checkmark Evaluate your life insurance needs in comparison to your coverage and consider any conversion rights. 
Checkmark Review your estate plan and make sure your will, trust, and powers of attorney are up to date. Understand how your assets pass to others under Michigan law.
Checkmark If you're purchasing service credit, plan it so your purchase will be paid in full while you are still an active (working) member of the retirement system.
 
12 months to retirement
Checkmark Request another estimate from the Social Security Administration.
Checkmark Check the ORS website for the most current version of Retirement Readiness: A Two-Year Countdown or request a copy from ORS.
 
6 months to retirement
Checkmark Review your personal account details using miAccount.
Checkmark Read through the medical, prescription drug, dental, and vision plan information to learn what benefits are available to you and your dependents in retirement.
Checkmark If you have any questions after you've reviewed our materials, ask an ORS representative by using the secure message board in miAccount.
Checkmark If you divorced while an active or deferred member and the court ordered a portion of your pension be paid to an alternate payee, you must have an eligible domestic relations order (EDRO) on file with ORS before your retirement effective date. ORS has developed an online fillable EDRO form to allow members of the Michigan State Employees' Retirement System to create accurate and complete EDROs that can be administered under the retirement statutes. It is the preferred document to file with ORS. Background information and instructions are provided separately in Eligible Domestic Relations Orders: Background and Instructions (R0911X)
Checkmark If you plan to work after you retire, make sure you understand how postretirement earnings affect your pension and social security benefits.
Checkmark Gather any proofs and supporting documents needed to apply as described in the How to Apply section. Do not mail in original documents because they will not be returned.
 
3 months to retirement
Checkmark Carefully review the pension payment options. Decide which fits your needs and those of your family. Remember, you can't change the option or your survivor pension beneficiary after your retirement effective date. 
Checkmark Review the health insurance plans offered and decide on a plan.
Checkmark Notify your human resource office of your intention to retire.
Checkmark Verify all service credit purchases are paid before terminating employment.
Checkmark Apply for retirement online with miAccount. Mail in photocopies of your proofs of age and any other required proofs. Do not mail in original documents because they will not be returned.
 
Retired at last!
Checkmark ORS will send your award letter along with  After You Retire: What Every Pension Recipient Should Know. It explains what happens next and things that you should report.
Checkmark Watch for your pension payments on the 25th of each month.
Checkmark Enjoy reading Connections, a semiannual newsletter we send to our retirees so that we stay connected.
Checkmark Keep us updated with your current street address, phone number, and email address.