COVID-19 FAQs for Public School Employees

Frequently Asked Questions (last updated 12/18/20)

CARES Act - Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

  1. Can I take a loan from my 457 Plan?

Until​ September 22, 2020 you are eligible to take a one-time CARES Act loan from ​your 457 Plan account. If:

  • You, your spouse, or a dependent has been diagnosed ​with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) using a Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved test.

           or​

  • You have experienced adverse financial consequences due to: ​​
    • ​​being quarantined 
    • being furloughed or laid off 
    • having work hours reduced due to such virus or disease 
    • being unable to work due to lack of childcare due to such virus or disease 
    • ​closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to such virus or disease​

 

  1. If I cannot afford my 457 Plan loan payments, what can I do?

You can defer your loan payments for up to 12 months on new one-time CARES Act loans, or​ previously existing loans that are due between now and the end of the year. Interest will continue to accrue during the delay period, which may increase the size of future scheduled payments. If: ​

  • ​You, your spouse, or a dependent has been diagnosed ​with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

           or​

  • You have experienced adverse financial consequences due to: ​​
    • ​​being quarantined 
    • being furloughed or laid off 
    • having work hours reduced due to such virus or disease 
    • being unable to work due to lack of childcare due to such virus or disease 
    • ​closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to such virus or disease​

 

  1. Can I stop my Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) 401(k) and/or 457 payments?

Y​our RMD will be automatically suspended for 2020 unless you requested otherwise. You can return any RMD payments that have already been issued to Voya through July 15, 2020. ​​

 

 General

  1. I’ve already applied for retirement and want to change my retirement effective date or cancel my application, what do I do?

Please log in to miAccount and send a Message Board using the Retirement Application category.  Tell us what your new plans are for terminating employment, retirement effective date, and insurance start ​date.  You can also click on Apply for Retirement and edit each step of your online application, which would allow you to change more than just the effective dates.  Be sure to submit the new checklist and any new required documents to our office.  ​

  1.  Is ORS still conducting retirement workshops?

No. While our in-person workshops and office visits are on hiatus during the COVID-19 emergency, please know that we’re working on ways to serve you online. For your convenience, we’ve created two online five-step presentations for members who are within five years of retirement; Planning Your Retirement for public school employees (in the Defined Benefit pension plan first hired before July 1, 2010) and the Preretirement Orientation presentation for state employees in the Defined Benefit plan. This electronic presentation covers the exact same information as our traditional live workshops. We are in the process for creating an online adaptation of the Preretirement Orientation for state employees and will announce when it is ready. Once a determination has been made to resume offering live workshops, an updated schedule will be available again on our website.

  1. Is ORS accepting office visitors for meetings at this time?

 No.

  1. If state employees are encouraged to work from home, is anyone available to answer my questions?

There are customer service agents available to answer your questions Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  1. I’ve heard in the news about the market declining. How does the decline affect my pension benefits?

With the recent fluctuations of the stock market we understand the concern about receiving your pension benefit. Please rest assured that the pension plans administered by the Office of Retirement Services are guaranteed by the Michigan Constitution and are payable regardless of market conditions. You will receive your monthly pension benefits.

  1. I’m concerned that my 401(k) and/or 457 plan dropped due to the market conditions, who can I talk to about my options?

Voya Financial manages your 401(k) or 457 plan. For more information call the Plan Information Line at 800-748-6128 or go to Voya’s website.​

  1. How can I stay connected to what’s going on at ORS?

To stay connected, please visit our website or Facebook page.