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When to Contact ORS

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Michigan Office of Retirement Services

When to Contact ORS

When to Contact ORS

miAccount is the fastest way to access and make changes to your account. When you log in, you have secure access to change your insurance information, update your address, and much more.

Below are the most common situations that would require contact with the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (ORS) after your pension payments begin. Please use it as a general guide only. Because we can't list every possible event that should be reported, it's best to contact ORS if you're not sure. You can use the miAccount Message Board to contact a knowledgeable ORS representative. 

Address Change

Be sure we know your current mailing address, physical address, and email address at all times so you receive your statements and other important notices. Your physical address is where you actually live while your mailing address is where you want to receive your mail. You can now enter a PO Box for your mailing address. Address changes can be made online through miAccount.

We'll notify your insurance carriers of your address change; however, it may take up to 30 days before the insurance carrier can take action. If you're insured by an HMO, check to make sure that you can still be enrolled in your HMO at your new address (HMO availability is determined by county). Contact the HMO for more information or go to the Insurance Options Summary (R0379C) form for the list of counties. If your address change means you need to enroll in another plan, make sure to enroll at least a month before you move to avoid a gap in coverage. 

See the Medicare section if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan and need to change your address.

See Direct Deposit Change on this page if you're changing your direct deposit account.

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Birth or Adoption

Ordinarily, the birth or adoption of a child after you retire will not affect your pension. However, if you want to enroll your child in your insurance plans, you can do so by using miAccount or by submitting the Insurance Enrollment/Change Request (R0452C) form within 30 days of the event. 

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Death of retiree. Upon your death, your personal representative (family member, executor) should contact ORS as quickly as possible. We will need your Social Security number and a photocopy of the death certificate. Your representative should also contact Voya Financial at 800-748-6128 if you are a Member Investment Plan or Basic DC Converted member.

Death of a survivor pension beneficiary. If you elected a survivor option and your pension beneficiary dies before you, notify ORS and provide a photocopy of the death certificate so we can adjust your pension amount to the full (unreduced) straight life pension. If you elected the equated plan and your beneficiary dies before you, your benefit will revert to the straight life equated amount.

If any person receiving a survivor benefit dies, contact ORS immediately. We will need the Social Security number of the public school retiree as well as that of the beneficiary who was receiving benefits, along with a photocopy of the death certificate. 

Death of insurance dependent. If anyone enrolled as a dependent in your health, dental, or vision insurance plan dies, report the death immediately using the Beneficiaries and Dependents section in miAccount. You must also submit a photocopy of the death certificate. 

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Disability Retirement

If you're receiving a disability retirement, you should notify ORS if your condition improves. 

If you are thinking about working and are under age 60, you must first gain approval from the Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement Board. If the board approves your return to work, you will be subject to an earnings limitation. This means that if your earnings exceed the limit set each year by statute, you will have to pay back any excess amount. Be sure to contact ORS in advance if you're a disability retiree under age 60 considering employment. We will give you more information about preapproval rules and the earnings limitation at that time. 

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If you divorce after retirement, your pension will not be affected unless you elected a survivor option. To change your survivor option to a straight life pension, you must submit a court order, called a Domestic Relations Order (DRO). To assist you and your attorney, ORS provides instructions and downloadable, fillable DRO forms. These are the preferred DRO documents to file with ORS. They are the fastest, most efficient way to complete your filing. Complete the form online, save it, print it, then take the printed copy to the court for the judge's signature. 

If your former spouse is enrolled as a dependent in your health, dental, or vision insurance plan, his or her eligibility will cease. Report the divorce immediately using the Insurance Enrollment/Change Request (R0452C) form or miAccount. Include a copy of your divorce decree. 

Since we cannot adjust your insurance premiums until we receive your Insurance Enrollment/Change Request (R0452C) form and because we cannot refund excess insurance premiums, be sure to send this form in as soon as possible. 

A divorce could mean you need to change your address or name. Use miAccount or the Name, Address, and Contact Information Change (R0357X) form to do so.   

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Direct Deposit Change

The quickest way to change your direct deposit is in miAccount. Ordinarily, if we receive your request by the first day of the month, your next payment should be deposited to your new account. Do not close your old account until your pension payment has been successfully deposited in your new account.

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See Working After You Retire. 

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Marriage of retiree. If you marry after your pension begins and you want to add your new spouse to your insurances, change your address, or add your new spouse as a survivor pension beneficiary, report the marriage to ORS. Otherwise, your marriage will not affect your pension payments. If you're in the Defined Contribution Plan or have a Personal Healthcare Fund account, contact Voya at 800-748-6128 to report the marriage. 

Adding your new spouse to your insurances. If you want to enroll your new spouse in your insurances, you can do so in miAccount or by completing the Insurance Enrollment/Change Request (R0452C) form. If your spouse is not eligible for Medicare, coverage can begin the first of the month after we receive your completed insurance request and proofs. If your spouse has Medicare, coverage can begin the second month after we receive your completed insurance request and proofs. Acceptable proofs for enrolling a spouse after marriage include a copy of your government-issued marriage certificate and a copy of your spouse's birth certificate. ORS must receive your completed application and proofs within 30 days of the qualifying event. If you do not meet this time frame your insurance coverage will begin the first day of the sixth month from the date we receive your completed application and proofs. 

Changing your address. Log in to miAccount to change your address. See Address Change above for more information. 

Naming a spouse as a beneficiary after retirement. You may name a new spouse as a survivor pension beneficiary under the following conditions: 

  • If you were married at the time of retirement and have since been widowed and remarried, you can name a new spouse as pension beneficiary as long as you elected a survivor option (100%, 75%, or 50% - not straight life) for your spouse at the time of retirement. Your new spouse will receive the same survivor option you elected for your spouse at the time of retirement. 
  • If you were single at the time of retirement and subsequently married, you can name a new spouse if you elected the straight life option at retirement.

When and how to apply. You may name your spouse as a survivor pension beneficiary after you've been married at least 179 days but before you've been married a year (12 months). 

If you meet all of the conditions listed above and want to see how much your pension will be reduced by naming your new spouse as a beneficiary, log in to miAccount or contact ORS to receive an estimate.

Upon your death. Upon your death, the pension payment will be paid for your spouse's lifetime, provided your death does not occur within 12 months of naming your new spouse as a survivor pension beneficiary. If your death does occur within 12 months of the election, pension payments to your surviving spouse will end 12 months after your death. 

If you named a new spouse as pension beneficiary after you retired, and you have the premium subsidy benefit, subsidized insurance coverage for your spouse will end upon your death. If your spouse was enrolled in insurances at the time of your death, your spouse will continue to be enrolled in those insurances but will have to pay the entire premium. 

Marriage of survivor pension beneficiary. If you are receiving a survivor pension on the account of a deceased public school retiree, you don't need to report your marriage because your pension will continue as usual. If you have the premium subsidy benefit, your new spouse can receive insurance coverage at the unsubsidized rate until your surviving spouse pension is terminated at your death. Your new spouse may be eligible for insurance under COBRA for up to 36 months after your death but will pay at the unsubsidized rate. 

If you are a surviving child receiving a survivor pension on the account of a deceased public school retiree, your spouse is not eligible for insurance coverage. 

The following chart provides information regarding which individuals the surviving beneficiary may enroll in insurance coverage. 

Pension Beneficiary


Surviving spouse of retiree

Can enroll:

  • Self.
  • Child of retiree.
  • New spouse (at the unsubsidized rate).
  • Either your parent(s) or the retiree's parent(s) residing in your household (one set of parents or the other, but not both).

Surviving child of retiree

Can enroll:

  • Self.
  • Siblings in your care as long as they are the retiree's children.
  • Parent, who was the retiree's spouse, who is living in your household and has had continuous coverage.
Marriage of insurance dependent. Only unmarried dependents are eligible for insurance coverage. If anyone enrolled on your contract as an insurance dependent marries, you must notify ORS immediately. Use miAccount or the Insurance Enrollment/Change Request (R0452C) form.

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As soon as you or anyone else covered by your health insurance becomes eligible for Medicare, that person must enroll in both Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical). You must have Medicare parts A and B to enroll in retiree insurance and prescription drug programs. If you, your spouse, or your dependents don't enroll in Medicare Part B when first eligible, the insurance for that person will be canceled and there is a six month wait to reenroll. 

Once you are enrolled in Medicare you will receive your Medicare card from Social Security. As soon as you receive your card, tell ORS your Medicare number and effective dates for parts A and B. ORS will change your enrollment to the Medicare plans offered by your current carrier(s).  

You can submit your Medicare enrollment information one of the following ways:

  • Send a secure message on Message Board including your Medicare enrollment information. 
  • Update your insurance enrollment information in miAccount to include your new Medicare information and send ORS the confirmation page.
  • Make a copy of your Medicare card. Write your name, address, and date of birth on the copy and mail or fax the copy of your card to ORS. 
  • Mail or fax a completed Insurance Enrollment/Change Request (R0452C) form to ORS with your Medicare information. 
  • Call ORS at 800-381-5111 and give a representative your Medicare information. 

For most people, Medicare begins at age 65 or after 24 months of Social Security disability. If that happens before age 65, tell ORS your Medicare number and effective dates for parts A and B.  

Once you sign up for Medicare, we will enroll you in a Medicare Advantage Plan. A Medicare Advantage Plan is a private health plan that coordinates with Medicare and supplements Medicare coverage. 

Medicare Part D (prescription drug) is a federal program that is administered by your group insurance plan. When you enroll in a retiree prescription drug plan, we will automatically enroll you in Medicare Part D if appropriate. 

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Missing Payment

Notify ORS after three days if your regular direct deposit payment is not deposited to your account.

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Power of Attorney

If you designate a power of attorney, conservatorship, or guardianship, have your personal representative contact ORS right away. We will need a notarized copy of the legal documentation before your representative can act on your behalf. Send a healthcare power of attorney to ORS and your insurance carriers. See Power of Attorney and Advance Directive Resources for more information.

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Social Security

You don't need to notify ORS when your Social Security payments begin because it will not affect your pension. If you chose the equated plan, remember that your pension will be reduced when you turn age 62 regardless of how much your Social Security benefit is, or when it begins. The reduction in your pension is based on the Social Security estimate you provided when you applied for your pension. 

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You can change your federal or Michigan tax withholding rate at any time in miAccount

Log in to miAccount any time after Jan. 1 to view and print your Form 1099-R so you can file your income tax returns. This statement shows how much was paid to you during the year in pension benefits, as well as how much was withheld in taxes. ORS will also send you a copy of your Form 1099-R every January.

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