Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. How much money do I have on deposit?

    You may request that information by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your Social Security Number, and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System.

  • 2. Who is my beneficiary?

    You may request that information by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your member ID and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System. Click on Contact Us on the top navigation bar for address information.

  • 3. When will I qualify for retirement?

    The age and service requirements to receive a retirement allowance are:

    • Age 60 or over with eight or more years of service or
    • Age 55 or over with 18 years of service, the last six years continuous,
    • Twenty-five or more years of service, the last six years continuous - any age.
    • Age 60 or over with service of two full terms in the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, or one full term in the office of Legislative Auditor General.

    You may request that information by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your Social Security Number, and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System.

  • 4. What are the requirements for vesting (deferred retirement)?

    You may defer your pension if:

    • you leave judicial service (your State elected position),
    • you leave your contributions on deposit with Judges Retirement System,
    • you have at least eight years of service credit, and you have not yet met the age requirement to immediately begin receiving a pension.

    If you defer, you will be eligible for a pension at age 55 if you had at least 18 years of service, the last six years continuous, otherwise, age 60. There is no advantage to deferring your pension once you have met the age requirement. Delaying your application until age 62, 65 or older will not increase your monthly pension. By delaying, you lose the payments you could have received had you retired at age 55 or 60.

  • 5. When should I apply for retirement?

    You should request and submit application forms approximately 90 days prior to your retirement effective date. Your retirement application must be filed with Judges Retirement System at least 30 days prior to your effective date.

     

  • 6. What day of the month are payments issued?

    Pension payments are made around the 25th of each month, for that month.

  • 7. What is the pension formula?

    A member must have eight years of service to qualify for a retirement benefit. In each example below IRS limits may apply (Note: Very highly compensated employees may be subject to IRS limits. (IRS Code Section 401(a)(17) restricts the amount of annual compensation that can be used to calculate a pension. Section 415(b) sets the maximum amount of pension that can be paid. If you are a very highly compensated employee, please contact ORS for further information.)

    Retirement Calculation 1
    Plan 2, 3, 4 and 5 members (State Court Administrator, Supreme Court justices, Court of Appeals, Circuit, Recorder's, District Court Judges, and Probate Judges who took the bench after 11/11/83): If fewer than 12 years of service, 3% of your annualized final compensation multiplied by the number of years and fraction of a year (whole months) of credited service. If you have 12 or more years of credited service, 50% of your annualized final compensation plus 2.5% of your annualized final compensation multiplied by the number of years and fraction of a year of service in excess of 12 years of credited service. Maximum benefit is 60% of retirement salary.

    Retirement Calculation 2
    Plan I members (state officials): 30% of your annualized final compensation plus 3-3/4% of your annualized final compensation multiplied by the number of years and fraction of a year (whole months) of credited service in excess of eight years of service. Maximum benefit is 60% of retirement salary.

    Retirement Calculation 3
    Plan 7 members (Former PIRS members under 3.5% formula who do not belong to a county retirement plan): 3.5% of your annualized final compensation multiplied by the years and fraction of a year (whole months) of post-1983 service under the 3.5% plan plus remaining pre-1983 service, if any, multiplied by 3% (not to exceed 40%). The total pension of a Plan 7 member cannot exceed 66 2/3% of final salary.

    Retirement Calculation 4
    Plan 6 members (Former PJRS members under 3% formula): 3% of your annualized final compensation multiplied by the number of years and fraction of a year (whole months) of credited service, not to exceed $15,000.00 or 40% of your final compensation, whichever is greater. However, the pension of a Plan 6 member when added to a retirement benefit payable under a county retirement plan cannot exceed 66 2/3% of final compensation.

  • 8. Can I receive a written pension estimate?

    You may request a written pension estimate by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System and include:

    • Your name
    • Address
    • Social Security Number
    • Anticipated Date of Retirement
    • Beneficiary's Name and Date of Birth
    • Indication that an estimate of service credit has been requested.  

     

  • 9. Can you send me information on my pension for use in a court case, mortgage verification, etc?

    You may request this information by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your Social Security Number, and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System. Indicate that income verification is needed for court case, mortgage, etc..

  • 10. How do I nominate/change my beneficiary?

    Active members may nominate or change their beneficiary by completing a Beneficiary Nomination Form (R0400B).

  • 11. What do you show as my address?

    For active members: Your Court address is the address of record. We do not maintain a record of home addresses.

  • 12. How can I correct/change my beneficiary?

    Active members may correct or change their beneficiary by completing a Beneficiary Nomination Form (R0400B).

  • 13. How can I correct/change my date of birth?

    Send a copy of your birth certificate to confirm your date of birth. Alternate documents that may be submitted to confirm your birth date are: baptismal record, passport /naturalization record.

  • 14. What are the requirements for early (reduced) retirement?

    If you leave judicial service before you meet the service requirements for regular retirement at age 55, the plan allows you to retire with a reduced pension under the following conditions:

    • You are age 55, but fewer than 60 years of age.
    • You have at least 12, but fewer than 18, years of service credit.

     

  • 15. How much is my pension reduced with early retirement?

    If you retire under the early (reduced) retirement provision, there is a permanent reduction of the pension amount you would have received had you deferred your pension until age 60. The permanent reduction is one-half (0.5) percent for each month you retire before your 60th birthday.

  • 16. I qualify for early (reduced) retirement. How do I decide whether I should take early (reduced) retirement or deferred retirement?

    If you qualify for early retirement and deferred retirement, you can choose to receive a reduced pension immediately OR you can defer your full pension until age 60. You can compare both pension amounts to see which is best for you. You may request this information by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your Social Security Number, and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System.

  • 17. Can I qualify for a pension based on other governmental unit service (Reciprocal Act 88)?

    Service you performed for a governmental agency does not qualify for buy-in credit. However, under certain conditions, you may combine Michigan governmental unit service with Judges Retirement System service to qualify for a pension. You can use governmental unit employment to qualify for a pension, but not to calculate your pension amount. The conditions that must be met are:

    • You must have retirement contributions on deposit with the governmental unit's retirement plan that you and/or your employer made for service performed for that unit,
    • and You must have at least four years of Judges Retirement System service credit,
    • and You must not have more than a 20-year break-in-service between your governmental unit service and your Judges Retirement System service.

    If your governmental unit service meets these requirements and that service combined with your Judges Retirement System service qualifies you for a pension you would not receive otherwise, you should provide a letter from the governmental employer verifying your dates of employment and stating that you have retirement contributions on deposit from a contributory plan or your service remains in force from a noncontributory plan.

    If you took a refund of the contributions representing your other governmental unit service, you may wish to contact your previous employer concerning repayment. Under the provisions of the Reciprocal Act 88 of 1961, you may be eligible to make repayment.

  • 18. What is the status of my retirement application?

    You may request this information by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your Social Security Number, and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System.

  • 19. What happens if I apply for retirement after I have terminated employment?

    If you submit your retirement application after you leave judicial office (elected office), your retirement effective date will be 30 days after the date your retirement application is received by Judges Retirement System. There is no provision for retroactive payment of benefits. You should consider filing your retirement application before the first of the month prior to your retirement date, and terminating your judicial service on the last day of the month, then there will be no break between your last pay for judicial service and the effective date of your pension.

  • 20. How do I apply for retirement?

    You may request an application by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your Social Security Number, and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System.

  • 21. Should I inform the Governor's Office and/or the State Court Administrator's Office that I am retiring?

    MCL Sections 168.421, 168.441, and 168.467k require you to file a written notice containing the effective date of your resignation with the court administrator and a copy with the governor and secretary of state. Contact your HR representative if you have questions.

  • 22. If I change my mind, can I cancel my retirement?

    Yes. If you want to cancel your retirement you must notify the Retirement System in writing before the first pension payment is issued.

  • 23. How can I change my retirement effective date?

    To change your retirement effective date, you must send a written request to the Retirement Office, containing your name, Social Security Number, and your new date of retirement. If you requested enrollment in the health, dental, or vision insurance plans, you must also indicate the new date you want the insurance to be effective.

  • 24. When is the first payment issued?

    Pension payments are issued by the Department of Treasury. You should receive your first payment around the 25th of the month in which you retire, for that month.

  • 25. When will my pension be effective?

    You state the date you wish to retire on your retirement application; however, your retirement effective date can not be earlier than the first day of the month following the date:

    • You have satisfied the eligibility requirements;
    • You have terminated your judicial (elected) service, or 30 days after receipt of your retirement application, whichever is later.

     

  • 26. How much money will I receive when I retire?

    You may request this information by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your Social Security Number, and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System.

  • 27. What are the payment options?

    Prior to the effective date of retirement, you may choose one of the following retirement allowance payment options:

    Straight Life allowance: Pays you the highest monthly retirement allowance you can receive for your lifetime and terminates with your death. However, if you elect a Straight Life allowance, your surviving spouse will be eligible to receive a survivor's benefit equal to 50% of your retirement allowance. If there is no surviving spouse, unmarried children under the age of 19 will be paid the survivor's benefit in equal shares.

    Option A (100% Survivor allowance): Pays you a reduced retirement allowance for life, then continues to pay the same amount to your beneficiary after you die.

    Option B (50% Survivor Allowance): Pays you a reduced retirement allowance during your lifetime. After your death, your beneficiary receives a monthly retirement allowance equal to one-half of the retirement allowance you received during your lifetime.

  • 28. Who are eligible beneficiaries under each option?

    Your retirement application, Judges Retirement Application (R0169B), provides a list of eligible beneficiaries. You must designate a beneficiary on the application, regardless of your pension option.

    Under the Straight Life option, only your spouse (or eligible dependent children if there is no surviving spouse) is entitled to a survivor's benefit.

    Under Options A and B you may designate any of the following as a retirement allowance beneficiary: spouse, child or adopted child, brother, sister, or parent. If there is no eligible beneficiary for monthly survivor benefits, any person(s) may be named as a refund beneficiary.

    If you die before the total pension amount you have received equals or exceeds your personal accumulated contributions and interest on deposit when you retired, your refund beneficiary receives the balance in a lump sum payment.

  • 29. Can I change my options?

    You cannot change your retirement option or survivor pension beneficiary after the Retirement Office processes your first pension payment.

    If you want to change your option and the retirement effective date has not occurred, you should request a new "Election of Pension Option" form . The form must be on file prior to the retirement effective date.

    If the retirement effective date has occurred but first payment has not been issued, call the retirement office for instructions. After first payment has been issued, there is no legal provision that allows a change.

  • 30. My pension was calculated wrong. How do I get it corrected?

    Generally, a recent retiree who believes his/her pension was incorrectly calculated should send a letter stating what they believe the correct pension amount is with an explanation of how the amount was calculated. You may do this by faxing, writing or calling the Retirement Office. Be sure to include your Social Security Number, and date of birth in any correspondence and state that you are a member of the Judges Retirement System.

  • 31. How does divorce affect my pension?

    If you get divorced, the court may order that a portion of your pension be paid to an alternate payee such as a former spouse or dependent child. If you are an active or deferred member, this order is known as an Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO). If you are retired, the court order is known as a Domestic Relations Order (DRO). ORS has developed downloadable, fillable forms to allow you and your attorney to create accurate and complete EDROs or DROs that can be administered under the retirement statutes:

    Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO) (R0259B) 
    Eligible Domestic Relations Order: Background and Instructions (R0911X)

    Domestic Relations Order (DRO) (R0323X)
    Domestic Relations Order to Void the Survivor Option Only (R0914CGB)
    Domestic Relations Orders: Background and Instructions (R0912CBG)


    These are the preferred documents to file with the Office of Retirement Services. They are the fastest, most efficient way to complete your filing. Complete it online, save it, print it, then take the printed copy to the court for the judge's signature.