Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's

When I retire, what are my choices concerning my defined contribution plan (annuity savings fund) balance?

Your Defined Contribution Plan (Annuity Savings Fund) balance consists of your contributions and interest credited on those contributions. You have the following choices when you retire:

  1. Complete or partial withdrawal of your entire balance. 
  2. Direct Rollover/Direct Transfer of the taxable portion of your balance to an Individual Retirement Account or to another employer plan. The non-taxable (Post-Tax) portion is not eligible for rollover and will be refunded to you. 
  3. Annuitize your entire balance or a portion with the Retirement Systems and receive a monthly annuity based upon your contributions, your pension option selected and your age.

Each of these options has tax consequences and, therefore, you should consult with your tax advisor prior to making your selection.

Posted in: Active Employees

When may I retire?

You may elect a service retirement if you have at least 30 years of credited service; or, if hired after January 1, 1996, 30 years of service and 55 years of age; or, if you are age 60 or older and have at least 10 years of credited service; or, if you are age 65 or older and have at least 8 years of credited service. An actuarially reduced service retirement benefit may be elected at any age with 25 or more years of service. Please see Question 4 for early retirement details.

When you retire you are entitled to a straight life retirement allowance each month for as long as you live. Instead of a straight life retirement allowance you may elect, at the time you retire, to be paid an alternative retirement allowance, which will provide benefits as long as either you or your beneficiary live. Please see Question 5 for alternative details.

Posted in: Active Employees

What is the cost of coverage for medical, dental and vision plans for the 2016 plan year?

The cost of coverage for medical, dental and vision plans for the 2016 plan year are listed below. The required monthly payment for your coverage will be automatically deducted from your monthly pension check. The payroll deductions for 2016 medical, dental and vision plans and all open enrollment changes will begin with your February 2016 pension check.

Medicare Advantage Plan Options – monthly contribution amounts listed are per each eligible enrolled member, spouse and/or dependent per month. 1/1/2016 Retiree Monthly Contribution Single 1/1/2016 Retiree Monthly Contribution Two Person
HAP Senior Plus HMO (available in Michigan only) $7.44 $14.88
BCN Advantage HMO-POS (available in Michigan only) $6.23 $12.46
BCBSM Medicare Plus Blue Group PPO (available anywhere in the U.S.) $39.81 $79.62
Dental Plan Options One Person Two Person Family
Delta Dental High Plan PPO* $32.09 $59.11 $99.56
Delta Dental Low Plan PPO* $28.38 $51.20 $87.56
Dencap Dental DHMO $19.40 $34.90 $51.17
Golden Dental DHMO $21.73 $36.83 $55.17
Blue Cross Blue Shield Dental PPO $33.74 $80.97 $101.21

*If you are currently enrolled in Delta Dental Plan A or Plan B, you will be automatically enrolled in the Delta Low Plan if you do not make any changes. Please note, the Delta Dental benefits have changed for the 2016 Plan Year. Please be sure you review the dental summary comparison. If you wish to choose the Delta Dental High Plan or another dental provider, you will need to make that election.

Vision Plan Options One Person Two Person Family
Vision Service Plan (VSP) $5.98 $11.94 $19.24
Heritage Vision Standard Plan $6.80 $6.80 $6.80
Heritage Vision National Plan $7.09 $14.03 $14.03

* If you choose to enroll in a dental or vision plan in the 2016 calendar year and decide to terminate coverage anytime in the same year, you will not be eligible to re-enroll in dental or vision coverage until the 2018 calendar year.

Posted in: Health Care

What if I elect the early retirement option?

If you elect the early service retirement option, your benefit will be actuarially reduced based on your age at early retirement and the age at which you would have been eligible to retire under regular retirement provisions.

To Illustrate: You are age 50 with 25 years of service. Your straight life retirement allowance based on 25 years of service was computed to be $1,000.00 per month. However, you are receiving benefits 5 years early (you need 30 years of service for a regular retirement benefit). Your early retirement straight life allowance would be $634.10 per month.

If you elect the early service retirement option, you are not eligible for fringe benefits (Hospitalization, Dental, Optical) until your 30th anniversary. You may, however, continue these benefits through the City of Detroit C.O.B.R.A. program at your cost.

See the chart below for examples of early retirement allowances based on several combinations of age.


Age at Early Ret.

Normal Ret. Age

Monthly Benefit

45 48

$773.90

45 50

649.60

50 53

763.50

50 55

634.10

55 58

749.40

55 60

613.40

 

A straight life retirement allowance provides me with payments for life. 

Posted in: Active Employees

Will my accrued sick leave be counted in the Average Final Compensation calculation of my Old GRS Pension when I retire?

If you are eligible to rollover 25% of the unused frozen accrued sick leave payable to you in cash when you retire, you may continue to work for the City after June 30, 2014 and make a special election to have 25% of the unused frozen accrued sick leave that would be payable to you in cash if you retired as of June 30, 2014 included in your Average Final Compensation for purposes of calculating your frozen accrued benefit under the Old GRS Pension. Election forms are available on this website, on-line at www.rscd.org and at the Retirement System’s offices. The election form must be signed in the presence of a witness and must be received by the Retirement System. no later than August 22, 2014. Please note that the Retirement System’s new address is: 500 Woodward, Ste. 3000. Your witness may be any adult over the age of 18 who knows you personally and can verify that you signed the election form. Your witness should NOT be an employee of the Retirement System.

If you make this special election, the sick leave that is subject to the election will not be available for you to take as sick leave, nor will it be paid to you in cash when you retire. If you are not eligible to retire when you make this special election and your employment with the City is terminated before you become eligible to retire, the election will be void and your Average Final Compensation will not take into account any of your unused sick leave. If you are a unionized employee and you are not employed by DWSD or DDOT, your accrued sick leave is not counted in your Average Final Compensation calculation.

Can I protect myself in case my beneficiary predeceases me?

Yes. If you select a Joint and Survivor retirement allowance, you may also select a Pop-Up Plan. The Pop-Up Plan allows the retiree to automatically change to the Regular Option (Straight Life) amount should the option beneficiary predecease the retirant.

Joint and 100% Survivor Allowance with Pop-up

If you select this option, you would receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance for as long as you live, with the added provision that upon your death the option beneficiary designated by you, at the time you elect Pop-Up, would begin to receive 100% of your actuarially reduced retirement allowance for the remainder of their life; however, if your beneficiary predeceases you, your benefit would automatically change to the straight life amount.

To Illustrate: You are age 60 with a straight life retirement allowance of $1,000 a month. Your designated option beneficiary is also age 60. Your actuarially reduced retirement allowance would be $820.40 per month with Pop-Up, payable as long as your designated option beneficiary survives. If your beneficiary predeceases you, your benefit would automatically change to the straight life amount of $1,000 a month.

Joint and 75% survivor allowance with pop-up: 

If you select this option, you would receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance for as long as you live, with the added provision that upon your death the option beneficiary designated by you, at the time you elect Pop-Up, would begin to receive 75% of your actuarially reduced retirement allowance for the remainder of their life; however, if your beneficiary predeceases you, your benefit would automatically change to the straight life amount.

To Illustrate:  You are age 60 with a straight life retirement allowance of $1,000 a month. Your designated option beneficiary is also age 60. Your actuarially reduced retirement allowance would be $858.97 per month with Pop-Up, payable as long as your designated option beneficiary survives. If your beneficiary predeceases you, your benefit would automatically change to the straight life amount of $1,000 a month.

Joint and 50% survivor allowance with pop-up:

If you select this option, you would receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance for as long as you live, with the added provision that upon your death the option beneficiary designated by you, at the time you elect Pop-Up, would begin to receive 50% of your actuarially reduced retirement allowance for the remainder of their life; however, if your beneficiary predeceases you, your benefit would automatically change to the straight life amount.

To Illustrate: You are age 60 with a straight life retirement allowance of $1,000 a month. Your designated option beneficiary is also age 60. Your actuarially reduced retirement allowance would be $901.34 per month with Pop-Up, payable as long as your designated option beneficiary survives. If your beneficiary predeceases you, your benefit would automatically change to the straight life amount of $1,000 a month.

Joint and 25% survivor allowance with pop-up:

If you select this option, you would receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance for as long as you live, with the added provision that upon your death the option beneficiary designated by you, at the time you elect Pop-Up, would begin to receive 25% of your actuarially reduced retirement allowance for the remainder of their life; however, if your beneficiary predeceases you, your benefit would automatically change to the straight life amount.

To Illustrate: You are age 60 with a straight life retirement allowance of $1,000 a month. Your designated option beneficiary is also age 60. Your actuarially reduced retirement allowance would be $948.11 per month with Pop-Up, payable as long as your designated option beneficiary survives. If your beneficiary predeceases you, your benefit would automatically change to the straight life amount of $1,000 a month.

See the chart below for examples of actuarially reduced retirement allowances with the Pop-Up Option, based on several combinations of age.

Sample Computations

Joint and 100% Survivor Allowance
Joint and 75% Survivor Allowance
Joint and 50% Survivor Allowance
Joint and 25% Survivor Allowance

Based on $1,000 Straight Life Retirement Allowance

 Age at Retirement  Optional Monthly Benefits
 Member Beneficiary   100% 75% 50% 25%
 65 70  812.03 852.07 896.26 945.29
 65 65 777.82 823.56 875.02 933.35
 65 60 746.02  796.60 854.54   921.57
   
     
60 65 847.19 880.64  917.27  956.85
60  60 820.40  858.97 901.34   948.11
60 55 795.65 838.49 886.20 939.67 
           
55 60 876.82   904.68 934.37  966.07
55 55 856.42  888.31 922.66  959.77
55 50  837.63   873.07 911.64 953.78 

Posted in: Active Employees

How is the amount of my retirement allowance computed?

Your service retirement allowance is based on your years of credited service, your age and your average final compensation. "Average final compensation" means the average of the annual compensation paid you by the City during the period of 36 consecutive months of service which produces the highest average. The 36 consecutive months used must occur within your last 120 months of service. You have the option of receiving an Unused Sick Leave on Retirement payout of 25% of your unused sick leave (normally 50%) and having the value of the payout added to the earnings used to compute your average final compensation. CET changes: Unused Sick Leave on Retirement- Any sick leave accumulated after July 17, 2012 and remaining unused at retirement will not be paid out. Sick Time Inclusion in Final Average Compensation -The inclusion of sick time in an employee's Final Average Compensation will be discontinued for certain unions based on the CET agreement. The implementation date is December 1, 2012.

Your retirement allowance consists of the following 3 amounts: 1. A basic pension of $12 for each full year of service, but not to exceed $120. 2. A pension allowance equal to the sum of 1.6% times your first 10 years of credited service, plus 1.8% times each year of service greater than 10 years up to 20 years, plus 2.0% times each year of service greater than 20 years up to 25 years, plus 2.2% times each year of service over 25 years; multiplied by your average final compensation. CET changes:The multiplier has been reduced to 1.5%for service time earned subsequent to July 17, 2012 and the escalator eliminated. The implementation date is December 1, 2012. 3. An annuity, provided you made contributions for it and you do not withdraw those funds at the time of retirement. The annuity portion depends on the balance in your account and your age on your retirement date.

Typical Estimated Monthly Straight Life Retirement Allowance

(Based on Basic Pension of $120 plus 1.5% for 1st 10 years of service, plus 1.7% for 11 to 20 years of service, plus 1.9% for service over 20 years)

Average Final Comp.

Years of Service

10 15 20 25 30 35 40
$24,000 $330.00 $ 510.00 $ 690.00 $ 890.00 $ 1,110.00 $ 1,330.00 $ 1,550.00
26,000 356.57 551.67 746.67 963.33 1,201.67 1,440.00 1,678.33
28,000 383.33 593.33 803.33 1,036.67 1,293.33 1,550.00 1,806.67
30,000 410.00 635.00 860.00 1,110.00 1,385.00 1,660.00 1,935.00
32,000 436.67 676.67 916.67 1,183.33 1,476.67 1,770.00 2,063.33
34,000 463.33 718.33 973.33 1,256.67 1,568.33 1,880.00 2.191.57
36,000 490.00 760.00 1,030.00 1,330.00 1,660.00 1,990.00 2,320.00
38,000 516.67 801.67 1,086.67 1,403.33 1,751.67 2,100.00 2,448.33
40,000 543.33 843.33 1,143.33 1,476.67 1,843.33 2,210.00 2,576.67
42,000 570.00 885.00 1,200.00 1,550.00 1,935.00 2,320.00 2,705.00
44,000 596.67 926.67 1,256.67 1,623.33 2,026.67 2,430.00 2,833.33
46,000 623.33 968.33 1,313.33 1,696.67 2,118.33 2,540.00 2,961.67
48,000 650.00 1,010.00 1,370.00 1,770.00 2,210.00 2,650.00 3,090.00
50,000 676.67 1,051.67 1,426.67 1,843.33 2,301.67 2,760.00 3,218.33
52,000 703.33 1,093.33 1,483.33 1,916.67 2,393.33 2,870.00 3,346.67
54,000 730.00 1,135.00 1,540.00 1,990.00 2,485.00 2,980.00 3,475.00
56,000 756.67 1,176.67 1,596.67 2,063.33 2,576.67 3,090.00 3,603.33
58,000 783.33 1,218.33 1,653.33 2,136.67 2,668.33 3,200.00 3,731.67
60,000 810.00 1,260.00 1,710.00 2,210.00 2,760.00 3,310.00 3,860.00

Federal Social Security benefits are in addition to the amounts shown. Current Social Security information can be obtained from any office of the Social Security Administration.

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

May I withdraw all or a portion of my defined contribution plan (annuity savings fund) balance prior to my retirement?

Employees with twenty-five (25) years of credited service may withdraw, one time only, all or part of their Defined Contribution Plan (Annuity Savings Fund) balance.

Employees awarded a Duty or Non-Duty Disability Retirement may also withdraw, one time only, all or part of their Defined Contribution Plan (Annuity Savings Fund) balance.

Employees who withdraw all or part of their Defined Contribution Plan (Annuity Savings Fund) balance should consult with their Tax Advisor with respect to the taxability of amounts withdrawn.

Posted in: Active Employees

Can I coordinate my retirement allowance with my social security benefit?

Yes. If you retire before age 65, you may elect the Social Security coordination option. Under this option, you would be paid an increased allowance until you become eligible to receive Social Security benefits at either age 62 or 65, and a reduced retirement thereafter.

To Illustrate: You are age 60 with a projected retirement allowance of $1,000 per month and an estimated Social Security benefit at age 62 of $680 per month. Your monthly retirement income until age 62 will be $1,000. When you begin to receive a Social Security benefit at age 62, your estimated monthly income could increase to $1,680 ($1,000 plus $680). You could level the amount of your monthly income by electing the Social Security coordination option at the time you retire. Under this option, your retirement allowance until age 62 could be increased to $1,550. At age 62, your estimated retirement allowance would be decreased to $870. The sum of your reduced estimated retirement allowance ($870) and your estimated Social Security benefit ($680) could be $1,550 which is the same estimated amount you were receiving before age 62, so your monthly income should remain level.

  Without Social Security Options  With Social Security Options
Source of Income Payable Monthly until Age 62 Payable Monthly at Age 62  Payable Monthly until Age 62 Payable Monthly at Age 62
Estimated Retirement Allowance $1,000 $1,000 $1,550 $870
Estimated Social Security Primary Benefit 0 680 0 680
Total $1,000 $1,680 $1,550 $1,550

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

Suppose my spouse and I divorce before I retire, are my benefits affected?

If your accrued retirement benefits are included as a marital asset in a divorce property settlement, the courts can allocate the marital portion of your pension among the involved parties under an Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO). You should consult with your attorney concerning Public Act 46 of 1991.

Posted in: Active Employees

I retired prior to January 1, 2015 and am not eligible for Medicare. What are my enrollment options?

The VEBA will continue to provide benefits to non-Medicare eligible Participants through a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). Monthly HRA benefits available to eligible VEBA Participants will remain unchanged in 2016 at the following amounts: 

Member Category Amount
Non Medicare Eligible (Pre-65) $125.00
Non Medicare Eligible Spouse w/≤ $75K Household Income on Public Exchange $125.00
Non Medicare Eligible w/ ≤ $75K Household Income on Public Exchange $175.00
Non Medicare Eligible Duty Disabled $300.00

Although you are not eligible for Medical coverage in the Plan until your Medicare eligibility date, you are eligible to enroll in optional dental and vision benefits. The dental options available, at full cost, to you and your family are:

Dental Plan Options:

  • Delta Dental High Plan PPO
  • Delta Dental Low Plan PPO
  • Dencap Dental DHMO
  • Golden Dental DHMO
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Dental PPO 

The vision options available, at full cost, to you and your family are: 

Vision Plan Options:

  • Vision Service Plan (VSP) 
  • Heritage Vision Standard Plan 
  • Heritage Vision National Plan

Posted in: Health Care

I retired before January 1, 2015 and am eligible for Medicare. What are my enrollment options?

If you are Medicare eligible and retired prior to January 1, 2015, your medical plan options are:

  • HAP Senior Plus HMO (available in Michigan only)
  • BCN Advantage HMO-POS (available in Michigan only)
  • BCBSM Medicare Plus Blue Group PPO (available anywhere in the U.S.)

You must have Medicare Part A and Part B and continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium to join a Medicare Advantage plan.

Additionally, you may elect to opt out of the above Medicare Advantage plans during the open enrollment period and receive a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). Your HRA will be credited $115 for each month you are not enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan offered through the VEBA during 2016. You may use this account for reimbursement of out-of-pocket qualified medical expenses. Note that if you opt out of the Medicare Advantage plan and your spouse is currently covered under your Medicare Advantage plan, you and your spouse will no longer have Medical coverage.

In addition to the Medicare Advantage plans listed above, you are also eligible to enroll in optional dental and vision benefits. The dental options available, at full cost, to you and your family are:

  • Delta Dental High Plan PPO
  • Delta Dental Low Plan PPO
  • Dencap Dental DHMO
  • Golden Dental DHMO
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Dental PPO

The vision options available, at full cost, to you and your family are:

  • Vision Service Plan (VSP)
  • Heritage Vision Standard Plan
  • Heritage Vision National Plan

Please refer to page 5 of this letter for monthly premium rate information.

Posted in: Health Care

What if I become totally and permanently disabled?

If you are granted a duty connected disability retirement and you are under the age of 60, you would receive a disability allowance consisting of a pension computed at two thirds of the average final compensation at date of disability, but not to exceed $9,000 per year ($5,700 per year if retired prior to January 1, 1999), plus an annuity allowance based on your annuity balance on the effective date of disability.At the age of sixty or with 30 years of service credit (30 years & age 55 if hired after January 1, 1996), the disability allowance would end, and you would then receive a retirement allowance consisting of an annuity (assuming that you have elected to contribute to the Defined Contribution Plan) (Annuity Savings Fund) which you would have received had you continued to work at the pay level of your final compensation, at your annuity percentage in effect the previous June 30, and a pension based on the years that you worked for the City the years that you were on the duty disability roll. Medical coverage is available with the payment of appropriate co-pays. If you are granted a non-duty connected disability retirement, have ten or more years of credited service, and, you are under the age of sixty, you will receive a disability allowance consisting of a pension computed in the manner of a service retirement pension but limited to a maximum of $6,000 per year ($3,900 per year if retired prior to January 1, 1999), and, an annuity allowance based on your annuity balance on the effective date of disability (assuming that you have elected to contribute to the Defined Contribution Plan) (Annuity Savings Fund). At age sixty, the disability allowance is recomputed as a service retirement allowance; however, no credit is given for the years you were receiving the non-duty disability allowance. Medical coverage is available with the payment of appropriate co-pays.

Upon retirement at the age of sixty, or with 30 years of service (30 years & age 55 if hired after January 1, 1996) all disability recipients can choose either a straight life retirement allowance or a Joint and Survivor retirement allowance.

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

Can I protect a beneficiary by electing some other form of payment?

Yes. You can provide lifetime protection for your designated option beneficiary by electing an alternative retirement allowance, with or without the Pop-Up Option, at the time you retire. You cannot change your election or your option beneficiary after you retire.

Joint and 100% survivor allowance:

If you select this option, you would receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance for as long as you live, with the added provision that upon your death, the option beneficiary designated by you, at the time of retirement, would begin to receive 100% of your reduced retirement allowance for the remainder of their life.

To Illustrate: You are age 60 with a straight life retirement allowance of $1,000 per month. Your designated option beneficiary is also age 60. Your reduced retirement allowance would be $834.35 per month, payable as long as either you or your designated option beneficiary survive.

Joint and 75% survivor allowance:

If you select this option, you would receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance for as long as you live, with the added provision that upon your death, the option beneficiary designated by you, at the time of retirement, would begin to receive 75% of your reduced retirement allowance for the remainder of their life.

To Illustrate: You are age 60 with a straight life retirement allowance of $1,000 per month. Your designated option beneficiary is also age 60. Your reduced retirement allowance would be $870.39 per month. Upon your death, your beneficiary would receive $652.79 per month until their death.

Joint and 50% survivor allowance:

If you select this option, you would receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance for as long as you live, with the added provision that upon your death, the option beneficiary designated by you, at the time of retirement, would begin to receive 50% of your reduced retirement allowance for the remainder of their life.

To Illustrate: You are age 60 with a straight life retirement allowance of $1,000 per month. Your designated option beneficiary is also age 60. Your reduced retirement allowance would be $909.69 per month. Upon your death, your beneficiary would receive $454.85 per month until their death.

Joint and 25% survivor allowance:

If you select this option, you would receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance for as long as you live, with the added provision that upon your death, the option beneficiary designated by you, at the time of retirement, would begin to receive 25% of your reduced retirement allowance for the remainder of their life.

To Illustrate: You are age 60 with a straight life retirement allowance of $1,000 per month. Your designated option beneficiary is also age 60. Your reduced retirement allowance would be $952.71 per month. Upon your death, your beneficiary would receive $238.18 per month until their death.

See the chart below for examples of reduced retirement allowances, based on several combinations of age.

Sample Computations

Joint and 100% Survivor Allowance
Joint and 75% Survivor Allowance
Joint and 50% Survivor Allowance
Joint and 25% Survivor Allowance

Based on a $1,000 straight life Retirement Allowance

Age at Retirement   Optional Monthly Benefits
 Member Beneficiary  100%  75%  50% 25%
65  70   842.22 876.80 914.35 955.26
65 65   799.33  841.55 888.48   940.95
65  60  760.47  808.91 863.94  927.00

         
60  65   866.62 896.51  928.54  962.95 
60 60  834.35  870.39 909.69  952.71
60  55  805.10 846.34  892.03  942.93
           
55 60  889.14  914.48 941.32 969.77 
55 55 865.24 895.41  927.75 962.52 
55  50 843.71 878.02 915.23 955.74 

Posted in: Active Employees

Are retirement benefits subject to federal, State of Michigan or local income tax?

Defined Benefit (Pension) Plan. Generally, only federal income tax will be a factor when you receive benefits from the Defined Benefit (Pension) Plan. Pension benefits are currently exempt from the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan income taxes. Prior to your retirement you will be given withholding forms relative to each plan. Unless you fill out the form instructing the Board of Trustees how much to withhold, tax will be withheld in accordance with current Federal Law. Your tax obligation will depend on the federal, state and local income tax laws in effect when you retire. You should consult your tax advisor with respect to your individual tax matters.

Defined Contribution (Annuity) Plan. If you elect a full or partial lump sum refund, you will be subject to tax on interest earnings and you may be subject to pay additional taxes depending upon certain circumstances.

The tax laws change from time to time. The Board of Trustees cannot and does not provide tax advice. You should obtain this advice from your own tax advisor so as to be aware of your tax obligations and consequences.

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

How are retirement system funds invested?

The Board of Trustees of the Retirement System is responsible for the proper operation of the Retirement System. Investment of all Retirement System assets (which consist of the assets of the Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution plans) are made by the Board of Trustees as authorized by State Law. It is Board policy to prudently invest pension funds so that the highest return is attained among the safest investments. To assist in carrying out these responsibilities, the Board utilizes the services of Investment Advisors who make recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding investments in accordance with the authority and limitations provided by law.

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

When I begin my service retirement, what happens to the fringe benefits I currently receive under the employee benefit plan?

Hospitalization and Medical Insurance

Please be patient, we are in the process of updating information.

Death Benefit Plan

If a retiree has a minimum of ten years of service, at a cost of $1.08 per year, the retiree may choose to be insured for $1,860. This benefit is increased by $93 for each year of service, in excess of ten (10) years. The Death Benefit Plan is administered by the Trustees of the Employees Benefit Plan.

Life Insurance

Upon retirement, you may arrange to convert your group term life insurance policy to a regular individual policy. The current carrier of group term coverage for City employees is the MetLife Insurance Company.

Dental Program

Retiree and spouse are eligible for dental coverage. Current carriers are Blue Cross and Golden Dental.

Optical Program

Retiree and spouse are eligible for an optical program currently administered by Heritage Optical.

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

If I chose a joint and survivor allowance option, is my beneficiary entitled to fringe benefits?

Spouses receiving Joint and Survivor Allowances are entitled to fringe benefits (Hospitalization, Dental and Eye Care) that the employee received.

Posted in: Active Employees

What happens to my accrued or “banked” sick leave after June 30, 2014?

Your unused, sick leave banks (which may have been frozen in 2012 or 2013) will not be affected by the June 30, 2014 freeze of GRS. If you currently have the right to make an election to have 25% of the unused accrued frozen sick leave that you are eligible to receive in cash when you retire applied to increase the Average Final Compensation used to calculate your accrued benefit under GRS, you will have a special election to have 25% of the value of the unused frozen sick leave that would be payable to you if you retired as of June 30, 2014 applied to increase the Average Final Compensation used to calculate your frozen accrued benefit. You may know this as the “rollover” amount. See Q&A 3 for more information about the special sick leave election.

Posted in: Active Employees

Can I still receive a lump sum distribution of a percentage of my accrued sick leave when I retire, even if it is after June 30, 2014?

YES. Your eligibility for a lump-sum distribution of a portion of your unused accrued sick leave at retirement is not affected by the June 30, 2014 freeze of GRS. The lump sum payment amount you will receive will vary depending on whether you make a rollover election or you receive full payment of your frozen sick leave bank. See Q&A 3 for more information about the special sick leave election.

Posted in: Active Employees

What if I die before my retirement eligibility, do I receive a pension?

If you separate from City employment after age 40, and were hired by the City before July 1, 1980 with at least 8 years of service, or, were hired by the City July 1, 1980, or later, and have at least ten years of service, you are eligible for a Vested Retirement Allowance. (Non-Union employees hired between July 1, 1980 and March 29, 1992 may choose either of the above methods). This pension is based on years of service and average final compensation computed at the time of resignation. Payment will begin upon attaining eligibility. Should you die before you are eligible to begin drawing your Vested Retirement Allowance, your spouse is not eligible for any allowance. They would, however, receive any balance in your Defined Contribution Plan (Annuity Savings Fund) plus interest earned in a lump sum upon request. If you do not meet the requirements for a Vested Retirement Allowance, you or your designated beneficiary will be paid your accumulated contributions, including interest earned until the June 30th following your separation, in a lump sum upon request.

Employees eligible for a Vested Retirement Allowance should notify the Retirement Systems whenever they change addresses so that notice of Retirement Eligibility is sent to the appropriate location and Retirement collection begins on a timely basis.

Posted in: Active Employees

Will I get credit for military service?

Yes. If you are granted a leave of absence to enter the military while you are employed by the City, you will be given service time credit as if your service was uninterrupted, provided you return to City service after completing military duty within the period of time prescribed by law. You will not make contributions while you are in military service, but interest will continue to be credited to your accumulated contributions.

A new employee may purchase pre-employment military service credit for up to three years of Honorable Military Service served during the periods December 8, 1941 to July 1, 1946, June 27, 1950 to December 31, 1953 or August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.

A new employee must apply within 180 days from the date of hire. The cost would be 5% of the employee’s annual rate of pay for each full year of service credit or .4167% for each full month.

Pre-Employment Military Service Credit cannot be used to qualify for earlier retirement. It can only be used to increase the amount of pension benefit you will receive upon retirement.

Posted in: Active Employees

Who should my beneficiary contact on the event of my passing?

Your beneficiary, family or funeral home should contact the Retirement Systems at 313-224-3362, extension 239 to report the death of the member.

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

Is my retirement allowance safe?

Yes.  The Michigan State Constitution provides that each year of service must be funded and makes pension and retirement allowances a contractual obligation of the City and will not allow the City to decrease benefits.  In addition, the City Charter and a City Council Ordinance provide for proper funding.

The Retirement System is administered by a Board of Trustees who represents you and protects your retirement benefits.  The Board of Trustees is composed of the Mayor, or his or her alternate; a member of the City Council; the City Treasurer; a retiree elected by the retirees; a citizen appointed by the Mayor; and five members elected by City employees (no two from any one department).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, as has been determined by In re City of Detroit, Michigan, Debtor, Chapter 9, Case No. 13-53846, United States Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of Michigan, public employee retirement benefits may be subject to reduction in bankruptcy proceedings pursuant to Chapter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Posted in: Retired Members

Who pays for retirement system benefits?

As a member of the Retirement System, you are eligible to participate in two plans: 

  1. Defined Benefit Plan. The Defined Benefit Plan is a plan funded by employer contributions and earnings from the assets of the system. The City contributes actuarially computed amounts required to maintain the System as mandated by the Constitution of the State of Michigan. 
  2. Defined Contribution Plan. This Plan is also referred to as the Annuity Savings Plan; it is a voluntary optional program which permits you to contribute toward an annuity, which can be used to enhance your retirement. You may elect to contribute nothing, 3%, 5% or 7% of your gross pay toward an annuity. If you elect to contribute 3%, then 5% must be contributed on amounts which exceed the FICA limit. The Defined Contribution Plan is funded only by employee contributions and earnings from the assets of the System.

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

How is retirement service credit earned?

A month of retirement service credit is earned if you have been paid for eighty hours of work during a month.

With the exception of the final year of employment a full year of retirement service credit is credited provided you have earned a minimum of nine (9) months service during a calendar year. In the calendar year of your final year of employment you will only be credited with the actual number of months served.

Posted in: Active Employees

If I am covered by a collective bargaining agreement, is there any effect upon my retirement system benefits?

Your collective bargaining agreement may contain retirement benefit provisions which are applicable to you. In the event the Retirement benefit provisions in your collective bargaining agreement are different from the Retirement System provisions found in the City Charter and Ordinances and which provisions were submitted to the Internal Revenue Service, the terms of your collective bargaining agreement are controlling; provided they do not diminish constitutionally protected rights and benefits. Be sure to review your collective bargaining agreement and consult with your union representative if you have any questions.

Posted in: Active Employees, Retired Members

I retired after January 1, 2015. What are my enrollment options?

Retirees that retired after January 1, 2015 are not participants in the VEBA and are not eligible for medical coverage. You will need to obtain your own health insurance coverage for you and your dependent family members.

Although you are not eligible for Medical coverage in the Plan, the VEBA Board of Trustees have extended the option to you to enroll in optional dental and vision benefits. The dental options available, at full cost, to you and your family are:

Dental Plan Options:

  • Delta Dental High Plan PPO
  • Delta Dental Low Plan PPO
  • Dencap Dental DHMO
  • Golden Dental DHMO
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Dental PPO

The vision options available, at full cost, to you and your family are:

Vision Plan Options:

  • Vision Service Plan (VSP)
  • Heritage Vision Standard Plan
  • Heritage Vision National Plan

Posted in: Health Care

When will my open enrollment changes take effect?

If you elected a new medical, dental and/or vision plan during the open enrollment, the coverage for your new plan will start on January 1, 2016. If you added a dependent to your medical, dental and/or vision plan, that dependent’s coverage will start on January 1, 2016. If you elected to terminate coverage during the open enrollment the coverage will end on December 31, 2015.

Posted in: Health Care

Current News That May Interest You:

read all news »

Nov

03

Active Employees married to a City of Detroit Retiree are now eligible to enroll their spouse for health care coverage effective January 1, 2017

Please visit the online system www.mydetroitbenefits.com to enroll your retired spouse. Eligibility Documentation is required. You may also call toll-free (855) 224 6200 to compl...

Read More »

Mar

16

Last call for retirees to collect health funds

Time is running out for thousands of city retirees who are eligible to recoup millions in out-of-pocket costs for medical co-pays and prescriptions they paid for last year.

Read More »

Important Retirement System News You Need To Know Learn More ›

A Message from GRSD Chairman Tom Sheehan Read Letter ›


 

The 2016 Annual Report is now available

. Click here to view report

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