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What to Expect After You Apply

Here is what happens from the time you send the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (ORS) your completed retirement application to when you begin receiving regular monthly pension payments. Remember, these time frames are approximate and represent the minimum time required to complete each process.

Application Review.

When we receive your application, we review it to make sure all required information and documentation were submitted. If anything is missing or incomplete, all materials will be returned to you with an explanation of what is needed and your application may be delayed.

Benefit summary and preliminary estimate.

When you submit your retirement application through miAccount, a summary of your selections is immediately available to you including your retirement effective date, insurance choices, and tax exemptions requested. It will also give you a preliminary pension estimate, which will not include your final salary, final payouts, or any recently purchased service credit.

Final salary confirmation.

After your termination date, we will verify your last day worked and your final salary. Your payroll record does not reflect this information until you terminate employment and receive your final paycheck. This step ensures all your wages are reported along with any final payouts.

Award letter.

Once we have your final wage and service information, we will verify your pension eligibility and put you on the retirement payroll. You'll get an award letter that tells you how much your pension payment is and when you can expect it. This letter details how your pension was calculated (final average compensation and service totals) as well as any deductions (insurance premiums, taxes) reflected in the payment amount. When you receive your award letter, you'll be given information about payment schedules, taxes, and so forth, as well as a guide to your reporting responsibilities. Keep this information in a safe place so you have an easy-to-find record of your pension benefits.

First pension payment.

Your first pension payment should arrive one to three months after you terminate your employment and receive your last paycheck, provided you meet all eligibility requirements and all required forms are on file with ORS. If your first  payment is delayed while we gather final salary information, you will be paid retroactive to your retirement effective date.

Ongoing pension payments.

Pensions are paid on the 25th of each month for the month they are due. If the 25th falls on a weekend or holiday, watch for your payment on the preceding business day. December payments are issued about one week early. If you want to know the specific date of an upcoming pension payment, log in to miAccount.

Your pension statements.

Your statements are available at any time in miAccount. This pension income statement reports the payments made to you during the previous year and any taxes withheld. You can view and print your 1099-R in miAccount any time after Jan. 1. You will need it when you file your income tax return. ORS will also send you a copy of your federal 1099-R every January.

If you chose the equated plan.

If you chose the equated plan for your pension, expect your pension payment to be permanently reduced (as described in your award letter) the month following your 65th birthday.

It doesn't matter when you actually begin receiving your Social Security checks - the pension reduction occurs at age 65. It also doesn't matter how much your Social Security checks are - the pension reduction is based on the Social Security estimate you provided when you retired. As such, you won't need to notify us when your Social Security begins.

Your insurance enrollments.

We will forward your insurance enrollment information to your chosen health, dental, and vision carriers after all proofs are on file. You should receive insurance identification cards and materials a few weeks after your pension begins. If you require health services before your cards arrive, save your itemized receipts for submission afterward. Or, if necessary, have the provider verify your coverage with ORS.

The State of Michigan 401 (k) and 457 Plans.

If you have accounts with the State of Michigan 401(k) and 457 Plans and would like to learn more about your options for your accounts, contact Voya Financial at 800-748-6128 or visit its website.

Once you're retired, there is no active link between your state human resources data and Voya. Therefore, if you update your address, phone, email, or dependent data with ORS, you will also need to contact Voya to report changes that affect your deferred compensation accounts.

If you disagree with a decision.

If you disagree with a determination made by ORS concerning your retirement benefits, you may request a review by writing to ORS stating the basis for your disagreement and providing all information you believe supports your position. Your request will be reviewed thoroughly, and you'll be notified in writing of the outcome.

IRS pension limits.

Section 415(b) of the IRS code, which limits the amount of a pension that is payable from a defined benefit plan, affects a small group of retirees who earned a very high pension. If you are in this group, ORS will let you know how the pension amount that exceeds the IRS limit will be paid to you.

Any overpayment must be recovered.

The retirement law requires ORS to correct any payment errors. As a result, any person who receives a benefit payment in error will be required to repay the benefit. Repayment is usually made through an automatic reduction to the next regular pension payment.