Membership

You are a member of the Judges Retirement System's Defined Benefit plan if:

  • You were elected before March 31, 1997, unless you elected to transfer to the state's 401(k) Defined Contribution retirement plan. This also includes the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Legislative Auditor General, and the Constitutional Court Administrator.

The Judges Retirement System (JRS) is a contributory Plan administered by the Office of Retirement Services (ORS) under the Judges Retirement Act, Act 234 of 1992 as amended. Each member contributes a statutory percentage of his or her participation salary to the retirement fund. Accumulated contributions are transferred at retirement to the Pension Reserve Fund to help finance the retirement pension. Contributions paid to JRS on and after January 1, 1983 are deferred for tax purposes; contributions paid prior to January 1, 1983 and payments for out-of-system service are post-tax contributions. (Probate judge member contributions are pre-tax unless a local unit resolution has not been submitted to ORS providing for tax deferral of contributions to JRS. The effective date contained in the resolution determines the tax deferral date. A file of County Resolutions is maintained by ORS.)

For salary and contribution purposes membership of the system is categorized as follows:

PLAN

COURT CATEGORY  SALARY
PARTICIPATION
CONTRIBUTION PERCENTAGE
Plan 1 State elected officials Participate on total salary 5.0%
Plan 2 Supreme Court Justices, Court of Appeals judges, and State Court Administrators Participate on total salary 5.0%
Plan 3 (option a, b, or c) Judges of Circuit, Recorder's, District (except plan 5 judges), and Probate Courts (except Plan 4, 6 and 7 probate judges) 3(a) Participate on State base salary only 3.5%
3(b) Participate on State base salary plus $2,250.00 of State salary standardization payment 3.5%
3(c) Participate on State base salary plus maximum salary standardization payment 7.0%
Plan 4 Partially Paid Probate judges Participate on total salary 7.0%
Plan 5 Judges of 36th District Court Participate on total salary 3.5%
Plan 6 Probate judges who were members of the former Probate Judges Retirement System under the 3% formula Participate on total salary 7.0% up to $980.00
Plan 7 Probate judges who were members of the former Probate Judges Retirement System and who are not members of a county retirement plan Participate on total salary 7.0%

 


 

Circuit & District Court

Plan 3 - Participation: All trial judges (circuit, district, and probate) receive a statutory maximum salary through both a State base salary and a "local supplement," or supplemental salary.

The State regulates the amount of the local supplement by reimbursing local funding units through State salary standardization payments; reimbursement requires the local supplement to be paid at the level set by statute. Dual salaries allow trial judges to be treated as both State and local employees. This also enables participation in the Judges Retirement System and a local retirement system.

In 1981, 1983, or within 30 days of taking office, plan 3 judges could elect to have a portion of their local salary "converted" or attributed to this retirement system. This election enabled them to participate at one of three salary levels; the same portion of judicial salary is used to determine annual member contributions and calculation of retirement benefits.

Even though they work under state jurisdiction, state of Michigan employees, 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 Judges Retirement System.

PLAN 3 ELECTION

SALARY CONTRIBUTED TO JRS   ANNUAL MEMBER
CONTRIBUTION RATE
Plan 3a State Base Salary 3.5%
Plan 3b State Base Salary plus $2,250.00 3.5%
Plan 3c State Base Salary plus 40% of local supplement 7.0%

If a plan 3 member did not return an election form, conversion of the maximum State salary standardization amount (3c) to JRS was automatic.

Plan 5 - 36th District Judges: Unlike other district judges, those in the 36th District participate in JRS at 100 percent of their total statutory salary and are not able to participate in a local retirement plan. Member contributions are deducted from the State base salary but computed from 3.5 percent of total statutory salary.


Probate Court

Plan 3 - Participation: All trial judges (circuit, district, and probate) receive a statutory maximum salary through both a State base salary and a "local supplement," or supplemental salary.

The State regulates the amount of the local supplement by reimbursing local funding units through State salary standardization payments; reimbursement requires the local supplement to be paid at the level set by statute. Dual salaries allow trial judges to be treated as both State and local employees. This also enables participation in the Judges Retirement System and a local retirement system.

In 1981, 1983, or within 30 days of taking office, plan 3 judges could elect to have a portion of their local salary "converted" or attributed to this retirement system. This election enabled them to participate at one of three salary levels; the same portion of judicial salary is used to determine annual member contributions and calculation of retirement benefits.

PLAN 3 ELECTION

SALARY CONTRIBUTED TO JRS   ANNUAL MEMBER
CONTRIBUTION RATE
Plan 3a State Base Salary 3.5%
Plan 3b State Base Salary plus $2,250.00 3.5%
Plan 3c State Base Salary plus 40% of local supplement 7.0%

If a plan 3 member did not return an election form, conversion of the maximum State salary standardization amount (3c) to JRS was automatic.

Plan 4 - Partially Paid Probate Judges: Probate judges serving counties with a population of less than 15,000 receive a part-time salary and participate in the retirement system at 100 percent of their total statutory salary. Member contributions are equal to 7.0 percent of total statutory salary.

Plan 6 - Probate Judges: Some probate judges who were members of the former Probate Judges Retirement System (PJRS) may be members of a local retirement plan. Judges Retirement System participation for plan 6 members is based upon total statutory salary.

Plan 7- Probate Judges: Probate judges who were members of the former Probate Judges Retirement System (PJRS) are not participants in a local retirement plan. Participation for plan 7 members is based upon total statutory salary.


Appeals Court

Plan 2 - Court of Appeals Judges: Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges participate in JRS at 100 percent of their total judicial salary. Annual contributions to JRS are equal to 5 percent of their salary. Health benefits are funded by 2.0 percent of the 5.0 percent contribution.


Supreme Court

Plan 2 - Supreme Court Justices: Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges participate in JRS at 100 percent of their total judicial salary. Annual contributions to JRS are equal to 5 percent of their salary. Health benefits are funded by 2 percent of the 5.0 percent contribution.


Visiting Judges

Visiting Judge Assignments (Defined Benefit Plan): Section 226 of the Revised Judicature Act, P.A. 236 of 1961, provides for compensation of visiting judges at a daily rate computed from the following:

  • The difference between 1/250th of the annual salary paid for the judicial office during the time the retired judge serves in the office and 1/250th of the State retirement allowance paid to the retired judge during the time the retired judge serves in the office.
  • This visiting judge formula only applies to judges who currently draw a monthly retirement pension under the Defined Benefit Plan.

The visiting judge formula DOES NOT apply to the following groups of judges:

  • Deferred retirees (until they begin to receive a Judges Retirement System retirement pension)
  • Separated judges who received a refund of contributions from this retirement system (no retirement pension payable).