What Every Retiree Needs To Know Before Returning To Work

If you are returning to work, these are things you need to know before you begin working:

1.Working after receiving an approved disability pension

If you've been approved for and are receiving a disability pension, these rules are for you. If not, you may skip to No. 2.

Because of the nature of a disability pension, you must gain approval from the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (ORS) before you return to work for any employer. Write a letter to ORS before you resume working. The letter should include:

  • Name and contact information of your potential employer.
  • Official job description from your potential employer.
  • The number of hours you’ll be working.

2.Work that won't affect your pension

There is no limit on your earnings — unless you're receiving an approved disability pension, as mentioned above — if you return to work in:

  • A private sector job outside of a Michigan public school reporting unit.
  • A private or parochial school in Michigan.
  • A public school in another state.
  • A public college or university in Michigan that's not part of the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System.

You can earn as much as you can in these situations and still collect your full pension.

3.Bona fide termination for public school and state employment

You cannot work in a Michigan public school reporting unit or for the state of Michigan during the month of your retirement effective date, even as a volunteer. You can't have a promise of reemployment or a contract for future employment in place to work in a Michigan public school reporting unit before you terminate employment and begin collecting your pension. A bona fide termination means there is a complete severing of the employee-employer relationship. If you are collecting your pension and it’s subsequently discovered that a bona fide termination did not exist, you will be required to repay pension payments you erroneously received. In addition, you will be disenrolled from insurance retroactive to your retirement effective date. Any medical costs you incurred during this time will be your responsibility.

4.Public school employment

You may be subject to earnings limits or temporary forfeiture of your pension if you return to work either for or in a Michigan public school reporting unit. Working for a Michigan public school reporting unit means you have been hired directly by the school. You can also be working in a Michigan public school reporting unit but hired through a third party or as an independent contractor.

Michigan public school reporting units include:

  • K-12 public school districts
  • Charter schools/public school academies*
  • Intermediate school districts
  • Some public libraries and museums
  • Tax supported community colleges
  • Central, Eastern, Northern, and Western Michigan Universities, Ferris State and Lake Superior State Universities, and Michigan Technological University

 *Charter/public school academies are considered reporting units even if they don't participate with the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.

  1. Earnings Limit Rules for Public School Employment

    The rules are different depending on whether you retire before July 1, 2010 or on or after July 1, 2010. Click on the corresponding button below to view the rules specific to when you retired:


    Click here If you retired before July 1, 2010      Click here If you retired on or after July 1, 2010