Qualifying for Your Pension
To be eligible for a monthly retirement pension, you must meet minimum age and service requirements.
Age and Service Requirements
Most members will qualify when they meet these age and service requirements.
- Full Retirement. You will qualify for full retirement at age 60 with at least 10 years of service, or age 55 with 30 years of service. (Exception: If you are an unclassified legislative branch, executive branch, or judicial branch employee, you are vested for a full retirement benefit at age 60 with 5 years of service.)
- Early Reduced Retirement. If you are an active member with at least 15 but fewer than 30 years of service, you can choose to take an early reduced retirement at age 55. Your pension amount is permanently reduced by one-half of one percent for each month and fraction of a month you take your pension before age 60 (six percent per year). An active member is a working member who is on the state payroll. If you terminate employment before your 55th birthday, you become a deferred member and don't qualify for the early reduced pension.
Some employee classifications have different eligibility rules (and payment calculations).
- Covered Employees. If your employer has determined that you are responsible for the custody and supervision of prisoners (called covered employment), you may be eligible for a supplemental pension when you are age 51 with 25 years in a covered position, or at age 56 with 10 years in a covered position. In both situations, your last three years must be in a covered position.
- Conservation Officers. If you were hired as a conservation officer hired before April 1, 1991, you can draw your pension at any age after 25 years of service if 20 of those years were as a conservation officer. If you were hired as a conservation officer on or after April 1, 1991, you are eligible at any age with 25 years of service as long as 23 years were as a conservation officer. In either case, you must be employed as a conservation officer during the two years prior to your retirement.
- Community Health Facility Closures. If you are an employee of a Michigan community health facility that closes and your last 5 years were with that facility, you may be eligible to retire as of the facility closing date if you are age 51 with 25 years of service or age 56 with 10 years of service, or eligible for a deferred retirement at age 60 with 5 years of service. You qualify at any age with 25 years of service, as long as all 25 years were in a facility that closed.
Your retirement effective date.
Your retirement effective date is the first day of the month following the month in which:
- You satisfied the eligibility requirements
- You submitted your retirement application to ORS
- You terminated employment with the state of Michigan
Your termination date is usually the last day you are a state employee. For some, it is the same as the last day worked.
When You Are Vested
You are vested - meaning you have sufficient service credit to qualify for a benefit though you may not yet meet the age requirement - when you have the equivalent of ten years of full-time state employment. (If you are an unclassified legislative branch, executive branch, or judicial branch employee, you are vested after five years of service.)
Counting Other Michigan Government Service
You may be able to combine service credit you have earned with a number of governmental agencies in Michigan in order to meet eligibility requirements. Act 88 - Reciprocal Retirement Act of 1961 helps public servants who worked either full- or part-time for more than one Michigan governmental employer, but perhaps fall short of pension eligibility with any or all of them. Examples of a governmental unit include (but are not limited to) state, county, and municipal units as well as most public schools.
Combining years of service from multiple employers can help you qualify for a pension, but the other service won't count in the calculation of your pension amount. Act 88 can't be used to qualify someone for survivor or disability benefits - it can only be used for a regular retirement pension.
For more information about Act 88, see Act 88 - Reciprocal Retirement Act of 1961.
If You Leave Before Age 60
If you leave state employment before you're old enough to draw your pension but after you are vested, your pension is deferred until you apply for it at age 60. Be sure to apply before your 60th birthday. Your pension won't be any higher if you wait, and you could even lose money because we can't pay retroactively.
If you're between age 55 and 60 and leaving state employment you might face a choice between a deferred retirement or an early reduced retirement (assuming you meet the eligibility requirements). Use miAccount to calculate your pension both ways before making a decision. Also consider this:
- Early reduced. Your pension will be permanently reduced. You and your eligible dependents are eligible for the health, dental, vision, and life insurance plans upon your retirement.
- Deferred retirement. Your pension is calculated the same as a full retirement. You won't be eligible for health, dental, and vision insurances until your retirement effective date. You forfeit your eligibility for state-sponsored life insurance when you defer your retirement.
If You Become Disabled
If you become totally and permanently disabled while a state employee, you may qualify for a disability retirement. The Disability Protection section explains the disability benefit and application process more fully. Keep in mind, your disability application must be received within 12 months after terminating your state employment (unless there are extenuating circumstances). If more than 12 but less than 24 months have passed since your termination and you believe you have good cause, substantiation for late filing must accompany your application.