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Leaving Employment

Whether you’re leaving state police employment to pursue other opportunities or facing a layoff, it's important to understand what will happen to your retirement benefits.

After you terminate your state police employment, your termination date is sent to ORS and Voya Financial®.


Think about your choices

As explained on the Contributions page, you are required to make contributions to the pension fund which helps fund your monthly pension benefits once you reach retirement eligibility requirements. You are eligible for a pension benefit at age 55 if you have 25 years of service OR at age 60 with 10 years of service (but less than 25 years).

However, when you leave state police employment before you're eligible to retire, you can choose what to do with your pension account. You can:

  • Leave your pension contributions on account and maintain eligibility if vested; or
  • Request a refund of the money you've paid into your pension account and lose eligibility.

One of the biggest factors in your decision should be whether or not you are vested before you leave state police employment. You are vested with 10 years of service.

I’m not vested. What should I do?

If you have fewer than 10 years of service when you leave state police employment, you’re not eligible to receive a future monthly pension benefit, but you do have options for your pension account as you leave the retirement system.

Can I take a refund?

Yes. You can request a refund (or transfer your pension contributions and interest to another qualified retirement plan) at any time after you terminate.

Consider the following before requesting a refund:

  • All service is forfeited. By taking a refund of your pension contributions, you forfeit all of the corresponding service credit. 
  • It’s all or none. You cannot request a partial refund — all pension contributions must be fully refunded. 
  • Taxes and potential penalties. Refunds may be subject to federal and state tax withholding and/or early withdrawal penalties, as required by the IRS. Speak with your tax advisor about the tax implications before you request a refund.
  • Consider a plan-to-plan transfer. You can transfer the amount of your pension contributions and accumulated interest to another qualified tax-deferred savings plan to avoid taxes and penalties. Again, talk with your tax advisor and confirm with your plan administrator that your transfer meets IRS requirements. To initiate a refund request or plan-to-plan transfer, log in to miAccount and select Refunds on the left navigation. Once we receive your request, we’ll either send:
      • Your account balance in a lump sum (less required tax withholding) to you;
      • Your untaxed pension contributions and interest as a transfer to your qualified retirement plan administrator or IRA provider, and previously taxed contributions sent to you; or
      • A portion of your untaxed pension contributions and interest (specified by you) as a transfer to your qualified retirement plan administrator or IRA provider, and the remaining balance paid directly to you (less required tax withholding). 

If you don’t take a refund of your pension contributions, they’ll remain on deposit with the retirement system where they’ll continue to earn interest annually and will count towards your future monthly pension should you return to state police employment and membership in the Pension Plus Plan.

What happens if I die?

If you did not take a refund, are not collecting a pension benefit, or are not eligible for a deferred benefit at the time of your death, we’ll return any pension contributions and accumulated interest to your refund beneficiary or your estate once ORS is notified by your survivor.

Before you leave your job, be sure to name your refund beneficiary by logging into your pension account, miAccount. If your refund beneficiary’s name is not on file with ORS, your personal contributions and accumulated interest may be distributed by probate court order.

I'm vested. What should I do?

If you are vested with at least 10 years of service when you leave state police employment and you leave your contributions on deposit with ORS, you will be eligible for monthly pension benefits when you reach age 60 (or age 55 if you have 25 years of service). Because you are deferring your pension until you reach the minimum age for retirement, you are a deferred member.

Should I take a refund?

If you take a refund of your pension contributions once you are vested, that refund forfeits all corresponding service and you lose your eligibility for a pension benefit. Carefully weigh your pension contributions against the value of your future lifetime pension when considering a refund.

When can I get my pension?

If you are vested and haven’t reached retirement age, you are a deferred member. As a deferred member, you will be eligible at age 55 with 25 years of service or age 60 with 10 years of service.

Be sure to apply at least 30 days but no more than 90 days before you meet the age requirement. Your pension won't be any higher if you wait, and you could even lose money by waiting.

Your pension is calculated the same as a full retirement. Go to Ready to Retire > Calculating Your Pension for more information about your pension calculation.

What happens if I die?

If you die before you're eligible for a pension (while in deferred status), your eligible survivor pension beneficiary will qualify for a monthly pension provided you have at least 10 years of service.

The deferred monthly survivor pension becomes payable the month following when you would have turned age 50.

 

Any separation from service allows you to receive payment from your retirement investment account. But don’t forget: You’re enrolled in an investment account so you can enhance your savings for retirement. It’s a good idea to leave your savings invested and growing on your behalf until you reach retirement. Use Voya Advisory Service to help you figure out how much you’ll need to save for retirement.

If you leave state police employment before you’re 100 percent vested in your employer contributions to your retirement investment account, the non-vested portion will be removed from your account.

If you return to work for the Michigan State Police, you’ll be re-enrolled in the Pension Plus Plan, and your prior years of service will be reinstated for vesting purposes.

If you've terminated your state police employment and you're ready to begin taking payouts from your account, you'll need to call the Plan Information Line at 1-800-748-6128. Participant Services Representatives (PSRs) are available 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Eastern Time (ET), Monday through Friday (except on New York Stock Exchange holidays). Leaves of absence and layoffs are not considered separation from service until the leave or layoff is over and you separate from state police employment. Voya can issue payment 30 days after notification of your termination from employment with the Michigan State Police.

 
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