Working After You Retire

If you go to work after you retire, your earnings usually won't affect your pension, with the following exceptions:

Disability retirement 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 a job description and complete information regarding the type of work you'll be doing, the hours you're expected to work, and the name of your potential employer. Failure to gain advanced approval may result in suspension of your disability pension.

State of Michigan employment

If you return to work for the state as an employee, independent contractor, or through a contractual arrangement with another party, you must forfeit your state pension for the duration of the reemployment.

You should complete the Retiree Rehire Certification (R0792G) at time of hire.

If you are rehired as a state employee, you will be enrolled in the Defined Contribution (DC) plan.

Who must forfeit their pension?

  • Retirees employed directly by the state
    Retirees must forfeit their pensions when returning to work for the State of Michigan. This includes retirees hired on an ad hoc, infrequent or advisory basis, Special Personnel Services (SPS) contractors, and retirees who transferred from the Defined Benefit (DB) plan to the DC plan as active members. Payouts from any DC accounts would not be affected.
  • Independent contractors
    Retirees must forfeit their pensions if returning to work for the State of Michigan as an independent contractor after October 1, 2010. This includes independent contractors who may have had an existing contract on or before October 1, 2010 and the contract was extended or amended after October 1, 2010.
  • Retirees employed by a third party
    Retirees who are hired by a third party (e.g., temporary hiring agency) and are performing work for the State of Michigan must forfeit their pensions, regardless of who pays the wages. 

Who does not need to forfeit their pension?

  • Retirees rehired before October 2, 2007
    Retirees who began reemployment with the state before October 2, 2007, as long as they remain continuously employed by the state, do not need to forfeit their pensions.
  • Independent contractors
    Retirees who are rehired on or before October 1, 2010 and meet the criteria of independent contractors do not need to forfeit their pensions. IRS Publication 15-A and the Economic Reality Test set forth in McKissic v. Bodine, 42 Mich App 203 (1972) are used to determine if a retiree meets the criteria. ORS will rely on each individual hiring agency to ensure that any independent contract they put in place meets the criteria of an independent contractor. However, if a contract is extended or amended after October 1, 2010 the retiree must forfeit his or her pension. Hiring agencies should consult their legal counsel for assistance with these contracts.
  • Retirees who are rehired by the Department of Corrections (DOC)
    Retirees who are rehired by the DOC to provide health care services do not need to forfeit their pensions as long as all of the following conditions are met:
    • DOC must first endeavor to recruit a person through the normal hiring process to fill the position. If unsuccessful, DOC must provide written notice to the State Budget Office (SBO) and the Office of Retirement Services (ORS) of the need to rehire a SOM retiree.
    • Within 30 days of rehire DOC must provide in writing the retirees' name, employment capacity, and total payable compensation, to SBO and ORS.
    • Retiree must be in a limited-term position with no benefits paid and paid on a per-diem basis.
    • The retiree retired after a bona fide termination. (This simply means that you terminated employment in good faith, with honesty, and without any intent to return to State of Michigan employment.)
  • Retirees who are rehired by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for active wildfire suppression.
    Retirees who are rehired by the DNR to suppress active wildfires do not need to forfeit their pensions as long as all of the following conditions are met: 
    • There is an immediate continual need for prequalified, skilled, and trained personnel to address wildfire suppression.
    • Retiree works no more than 600 hours in a fiscal year.
    • DNR must first endeavor to recruit a person through the normal hiring process to fill the position. If unsuccessful, DNR must provide written notice to the State Budget Office (SBO) and the Office of Retirement Services (ORS) of the need to rehire a SOM retiree.
    • Retiree must be in a limited-term position with no benefits paid and pay is not more than 70% of the maximum hourly wage granted to classified civil service employees employed by the DNR to perform the same duties as the retiree per fiscal year.
    • Within 30 days of rehire DNR must provide in writing the retiree’s name, employment capacity, equivalent civil service position, total hourly compensation, and total hours of service provided to SBO and ORS.
    • Within 30 days of termination DNR must provide in writing the retiree’s name, employment capacity, and total payable compensation to SBO and ORS.
  • Retirees who are rehired by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as a Psychiatrist.
    Retirees who are rehired by the DHHS to provide mental health services as a psychiatrist to individuals in psychiatric hospitals operated by DHHS do not need to forfeit their pensions as long as all of the following conditions are met: 
    • DHHS determines that, as a result of the retiree’s previous employment with the state, the retiree possesses specialized expertise necessary for the hiring of the retiree and that the hiring of the retiree is the most cost-effective option for the state.
    • The retiree retired before October 1, 2015, and after a bona fide termination of employment.
    • Within 30 days of rehire DHHS must provide in writing the retiree’s name, employment capacity, equivalent civil service position, total hourly compensation, and total hours of service provided to SBO and ORS.
    • Within 30 days of termination DHHS must provide in writing the retiree’s name, employment capacity, total payable compensation, and the total hours of service provided by the retiree for the fiscal year to SBO and ORS.
  • Defined Contribution (DC) plan participants
    Participants in the DC plan who are not receiving a pension are subject to federal rules regarding distributions. DC plan participants cannot continue a distribution from a 401k if they return to work at the State of Michigan if they are under the age of 59 and a half. DC plan participants cannot continue to take a distribution from the 457 plan while working for the State of Michigan no matter their age. If stopped, distributions can resume after employment with the State of Michigan ends.
  • Appointment to, or Contracting with, the Attorney General's Office
    There are certain circumstances where a retiree who retired after a bona fide termination can return to work for the Attorney General's Office without forfeiting their pension. If you are a retiree who has been appointed as a Special Assistant Attorney General or you are a retiree who has been asked to contract with the Attorney General's Office to act as a witness, expert, or consultant for litigation involving this state, please contact ORS for more information.

Effects on insurances

You will have a choice of active or retiree insurances. If you choose to keep your retiree insurances, we will arrange for premium billings when you report your employment.

Upon termination of employment

Upon terminating employment with the state you should notify ORS in writing so pension payments can be restarted. Your pension will become effective again the month after employment with the state has ceased. You will not be eligible for a pension recalculation.