For members of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System
   
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FAQs

Here you’ll find some answers to frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the information you need here or on our website, contact us.

1. How do I know if I’m in the Pension Plus retirement plan?
  You're in the Pension Plus retirement plan for Michigan public school members if you:
  • First worked for a Michigan public school between July 1, 2010, and September 3, 2012.
  • First worked for a Michigan public school on or after September 4, 2012, and you did not choose the Defined Contribution (DC) retirement plan.

You must also be a member of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. Members include employees of:

  • K-12 public school districts.
  • Intermediate school districts.
  • District libraries.
  • Public School Academies (PSAs)/charter schools.
  • Tax-supported community colleges.

If you’re unsure about your membership in the retirement system, check with your employer.

   
2. What is the role of Voya Financial?®
 

The Office of Retirement Services has partnered with Voya® to bring you the Savings Component of your plan. Voya serves as the record keeper for the Savings Component, provides you with account statements, and tracks all contributions, transactions, and balances for your investment account. Voya also provides valuable online tools and resources to help you plan and set your goals for retirement.

   
3. What exactly is the Pension Plus retirement investment account?
  The Savings Component of your plan enrolls you in a tax-deferred investment account so you can enhance your savings for retirement. Your contributions to this account are invested in a 457 plan, and your employer’s contributions to this account are invested in a 401(k) plan. Employer and employee contributions to the Savings Component are invested in the State of Michigan 401(k) and 457 Plans.
   
4. What is the Personal Healthcare Fund?
  The Personal Healthcare Fund, is a portable, tax-deferred fund that can be used to pay for healthcare expenses in retirement. It is a part of the Savings Component of the Pension Plus plan. You have the Personal Healthcare Fund if you chose that retiree healthcare benefit under Public Act 300 of 2012 or you first worked for the retirement system on or after September 4, 2012. The Personal Healthcare Fund automatically enrolls you in an additional 2 percent contribution to your 457 Plan account, earning you an additional 2 percent employer match to your 401(k) Plan account. Personal Healthcare Fund contributions made by you and your employer are invested in the State of Michigan 401(k) and 457 Plans.

For members who first work on or after September 4, 2012, the Personal Healthcare Fund also provides a credit into a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) at termination of you have at least 10 years of service at termination. The credit will be $2,000 for if you’re at least age 60 at termination or $1,000 if you are less than age 60 at termination.
   
5. How much am I contributing to my retirement plan?
  You and your employer begin contributing to your pension and investment accounts your first day on the job. Your contributions are made through payroll deductions. Go to Contributions for more information about your contributions.
   
6. Can I contribute more to my retirement investment account?
  Yes. You may contribute any amount to your 457 Plan account, in whole percentages (e.g., 5 percent, 6 percent, 10 percent), up to IRS limits.
   
7. How can I increase my contribution amount?
  You can change your contribution percentage by logging in to your retirement investment account online after you receive your password in the mail from Voya. You will need to call Voya at (800) 748-6128 to change the contribution percentage if you work for more than one public school employer.
   
8. When will I get my password from Voya?
  Your password will be mailed to you after your account has been set up by ORS and Voya, typically in the month following your first paycheck. The password is different from the Member ID that you’ll receive to access your pension account. You will receive both in the mail separately.
   
9. How much should I be contributing to my retirement investment account?
  The amount you contribute to your retirement investment account is based on many personal factors — you have a lot to consider, and you should start now. It is important to at least contribute enough to take advantage of your employer’s match. It’s a good idea to consult a financial advisor to help you set your goals for retirement. You can also the Voya Advisory Service by logging in to your retirement investment account and clicking on the Voya Advisory Service link at the top of the page.
   
10. How do I learn more about my investment options?
  You can log in to your retirement investment account and select your account. Click on Plan Investments to see your options. Click the links for each fund to access fund fact sheets, which give more detailed information on investment style, major holdings, past performance, and other details.
   
11. What happens if I don’t tell Voya how to invest my money?
  Contributions to your retirement investment account are automatically invested in the default Target Retirement Fund appropriate for you that assumes you will retire at age 65. Target Retirement Funds offer instant diversification by providing a mix of stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents over time, becoming more conservative as the fund nears its target retirement date.
   
12. How do I change where my money is invested?
  You can change your investment option(s) by logging in to your retirement investment account online or by contacting Voya. If you’re logging in for the first time, you’ll need the password Voya mailed to you when you began your public school employment.
   
13. Can I choose not to contribute to my retirement investment account?
  Yes. However, because this plan can provide you with a source of income in retirement, choosing not to contribute is not recommended. If you don't make contributions to your retirement investment account, you will also miss the employer matching contribution.
    1. If you choose not to contribute, you will need to wait until you receive your password in the mail from Voya.
    2. Once you have your password, log into your retirement investment account online or by contacting Voya to change your contributions.
    3. Voya, through ORS, will inform your employer to stop your contribution.
    4. Your contributions remain invested until you terminate employment.
   
14. When can I retire?
  The earliest you could begin receiving a pension is age 60 if you have at least 10 years of service. You’re vested for your pension when you have at least 10 years of service.

The earliest you could begin withdrawing funds from your retirement investment account is 30 days after you terminate your Michigan public school employment. (If you take distributions from your 401(k) prior to age 59 1/2, an early withdrawal penalty will apply.) Your contributions to your retirement investment account and any earnings on those contributions are always yours, regardless of your years of service. You become 100 percent vested in your employer’s contributions and any earnings on those contributions after 4 years of service.

Go to Eligibility/Vesting for more information.
   
15. How do I earn service?
  In general, you earn one year of service when you work 1,020 hours within the July 1 through June 30 school fiscal year. You can earn no more than one year of service in any given school fiscal year, and you can receive no more than 30 hours of credit if you're on a weekly payroll and no more than 60 hours if you're paid biweekly.
   
16. Can I buy service credit in the Pension Plus plan?
  No. Although you cannot buy service credit under the Pension Plus plan, exceptions apply for intervening military service and repaying a refund of pension contributions. Contact ORS if this applies to you.
   
17. If I am a former employee of the State of Michigan, can I transfer my state service into the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System?
  No. You cannot transfer State of Michigan service into the Pension Plus plan
   
18. What is miAccount?
  miAccount provides you online access to your pension account. To log in for the first time, you’ll need your Member ID, which you can find on most correspondence from the Office of Retirement Services (ORS). Once you’re logged in, you can track your pension contributions and service  totals, and you can complete transactions including designating your pension beneficiary and updating your personal information with ORS. 

If you have questions about your pension account, you can use miAccount’s Message Board to correspond securely with one of ORS’s knowledgeable customer service representatives.
   
19. How is my pension calculated?
  Your annual pension is based on a formula that multiplies the average of your highest five consecutive years of earnings, times a pension factor of 1.5 percent, times your years of service. Your pension amount also depends on the pension payment option you choose (straight life option or a survivor option) when you retire.
   
20. Will I get account statements?
  You’ll receive statements mailed from Voya summarizing your retirement investment account status including your total account balance, investment selections, and the current value of each investment. You can also access this account statement by logging into your retirement investment account, selecting your account and clicking on Statement on the left side of the page. Pension Plus News will be sent along with your statement, which will help keep you up-to-date on your retirement plan.
 
For your pension account statement, log in to miAccount and click on Member Statement. You’ll have access to your current pension account details including your wage, service, and contribution information. 

 

 

 
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