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Chair Talk
(August 2022)

Capitol News
(August 2022)

Retirement Matters
(August 2022)

2022 Directory

Death of a Retiree

Upon your death, your personal representative (family member or executor) should contact ORS as quickly as possible. We will need your social security number and a photocopy of the death certificate. See What Your Survivors Should Know for information to give to your survivors. 

Death of a pension beneficiary. If you elected a survivor option and your pension beneficiary predeceases you, notify ORS and provide a photocopy of the death certificate so we can adjust your pension amount to the full (unreduced) straight life pension. If you elected the equated plan and your beneficiary dies before you, your benefit will revert to the straight life equated amount.

If any person receiving a survivor benefit dies, ORS should be contacted immediately. We will need the social security number of the state retiree as well as that of the beneficiary who was receiving benefits, along with a photocopy of the death certificate.

ORS will stop pension payments as soon as we are notified of a death. If the death notice is not received timely, the estate is obligated to repay all payments made after death.

Death of insurance dependent. If anyone enrolled as a dependent in your health, dental, or vision insurance plan dies, report the death immediately using the Beneficiaries & Dependents section in miAccount. You must also submit a photocopy of the death certificate.

Additional information about reporting a death can be found in What Your Survivors Should Know.

ORS 800-381-5111

TAKE ACTION ON PENSION TAX REPEAL

Governor Whitmer and many legislators favor pension tax repeal now. The state is flush with revenue. Two bills to repeal or modify the pension tax had hearings last year and one of them even was reported out of the Senate Finance Committee. SERA has been at the forefront is advocating for pension tax repeal. SERA members need to contact their State Senators and State Representatives to let them know you want to repeal or significantly modify the tax treatment of retirement income like pensions, IRA distributions, Social Security, and annuities.

Read more here.


TAKE ACTION TO REMOVE THE $300 CAP ON OUR ANNUAL COLA

With an inflation rate of 7.5 percent in the Midwest, state employee pensioners need some relief. Increasing the cost-of-living factor for state employee retirees is contained in Senate Bill 775 sponsored by State Senator Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing). Not only has the pension tax burdened state employee retirees born after 1945, but our annual pension supplement has been capped at $300 a year for 25 years! That $300 adopted in 1987 is now worth only $129 due to inflation. It affects about two-thirds of all state employee retirees in the defined benefit pension plan.

SB 775 was introduced December 7, 2021 after several months of work by SERA advocates. Co-sponsors are State Senators Tom Barrett (R-Grand Ledge), Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), Paul Wojno (D-Warren), Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit), Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), and Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills). It has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee chaired by State Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland). 

Please contact your State Senator and urge a hearing and passage of SB 775. SB 775 needs to be one of the priorities for the state’s budget. Contact information for your Senator is available at senate.michigan.gov.


Retirement and Retiree Benefits Security During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Click here for document created by Mary Pollock, SERA’s Legislative Representative.


ANNUAL UPDATE ON MICHIGAN RETIREMENT SYSTEMS AND INVESTMENTS

Jon Braeutigam, Deputy Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer, Bureau of Investments, Department of Treasury, presented his  “ANNUAL UPDATE ON MICHIGAN RETIREMENT SYSTEMS AND INVESTMENTS” at the February 2, 2022, Zoom meeting  sponsored by the SERALansing Chapter. The document that he referenced in his talk can be found here.


About Michigan SERA

SERA is an non-profit organization devoted exclusively to issues and concerns of all current and future retirees of the State of Michigan.

SERA works to:

  • keep Michigan state employee pension and insurance benefits secure.
  • assure pension and insurance benefits are improved and keep up with inflation.
  • monitor and take action on important developments affecting state pension and retiree health care benefits.
  • inform its members about proposed federal and state legislation that will affect State of Michigan retirement systems and retiree health care.
  • stay in touch with old friends and make new friends with a common background.
  • monitor the State Employees Retirement Systems Board, the Investment Advisory Committee (which makes recommendations to the State Treasurer on investments in the State Employees Retirement System pension fund), and the 401K and 457 programs provided through Voya.
  • work with the Office of Retirement Services and Civil Service Benefits Division to help retirees and near retirees with their pension and benefits issues.
  • provide SERA PLUS, great discounts and services in many areas of retirement living such as first-year free tax preparation, estate planning, tax planning, home and auto insurance, mortgage services, estate transfer strategies, final settlement planning, and much more through SERA’s association with Hantz Group, Inc..

SERA works through its members, leaders, and committees to promote the best interests of state employee retirees and future retirees. At least eight times since 1974, SERA was a moving force in pension increases or benefit improvements. In 2011, we opposed the pension tax and helped eliminate it for 70% of retirees; we opposed the remaining tax on public pensions for those born after 1945 in the Michigan Supreme Court. We opposed the recent state employee retirement system changes. That work continues.

SERA has 21 local chapters statewide that are linked through the Coordinating Council of the State Employee Retirees Associations of Michigan (the SERA Coordinating Council). SERA chapters have periodic meetings with guest speakers, opportunities for networking, newsletters, and other activities.

SERA welcomes the new ideas and energy of new members! To join, contact Cheryl Streberger at 517-515-9815 or cstreberger@yahoo.com.

 

Join a chapter of the State Employee Retirees Association (SERA) and help protect your pension and health insurance benefits, meet old and new friends, and stay informed!

Join Michigan SERA

Join a chapter of the State Employee Retirees Association (SERA) and help protect your pension and health insurance benefits, meet old and new friends, stay informed, and gain access to SERA Plus benefits!

The Michigan State Employee Retirees Association is a non-profit organization devoted exclusively to issues and concerns of all current and future retirees of the State of Michigan.

SERA works to:

  • Keep Michigan state pension and retiree health care benefits secure and responsive to inflation.
  • Monitor and take action on important political developments affecting state pension and retiree health care benefits.
  • Inform our members about proposed federal and state legislation that will affect retirees and future retirees.
  • Watch the State Employees Retirement Systems’ Board, the Investment Advisory Committee (which make recommendations to the State Treasurer on investments in the defined benefit pension fund), and the 401(k) and 457 programs provided through Voya.
  • Work with the Office of Retirement Services and Civil Service Benefits Division to help retirees and near retirees with their pension and benefits issues.

SERA works through its members, leaders and committees to promote the best interests of current and future state retirees.

At least eight times since 1974, SERA initiated action for pension increases or benefit improvements. SERA has a lobbyist who watches legislative developments on our behalf. We helped to reduce the impact of the pension tax on public sector retirees.

SERA has 21 chapters statewide to provide you with:

  • A strong voice to protect and improve your benefits
  • Chapter meetings with interesting speakers
  • Periodic newsletter
  • A way to meet old friends and make new ones
  • Information important to retirees
  • SERA Plus discounts on services

SERA PLUS is a unique package of retirement benefits to help you protect your standard of living throughout your retirement years.

  • Free first-year tax preparation (Not valid for businesses and other restrictions may apply)
  • Discounted tax preparation in subsequent years
  • Home & auto insurance savings
  • $650 for complete estate plan including a living trust (Some estates may require other documents. Not all estates will require a living trust. Determination based on attorney’s recommendation.)
  • Free review of existing living trust documents
  • Life, health and long-term care insurance
  • Estate settlement assistance

You are eligible for SERA if you are:

  • Retired from the State of Michigan, receiving a retirement benefit from the State of Michigan, or a spouse of any living or deceased member of SERA
  • An active state employee and
    • have attained the age of 50, or
    • whose age and service totals 70 or more, or
    • on state deferred retirement.

SERA chapters always need new ideas, new energy, and especially new members. Join over 12,000 SERA members in our efforts to assure every state retiree has a voice!

New members — Call for your FREE one year membership! Contact Cheryl Streberger at 517-515-9815 or cstreberger@yahoo.com. Pay nothing now. Simply contact us now and we will explain how to obtain your first-year free membership. At the end of your complimentary year, we will mail you a renewal notice. Membership dues after the first year range from $6 to $20, depending on which chapter you join.

Renewing members — Print and then complete the membership form and send it along with your dues to the chapter you want to join. To find your nearest SERA chapter and the amount of chapter dues, meeting times and other information, please refer to the directory listing. Or e-mail your name, address, city, state, zip code, and the name of the chapter in which you are interested to: bobkopaszserachair@gmail.com.


SERA Plus

SERA is committed to providing exceptional value to its members by delivering quality products and services to our members through our SERA Plus program. Consistent with our philosophy, we are pleased to announce that insurance (including auto, home and liability), tax planning and estate planning advice will soon be offered exclusively through our relationship with Hantz Group, Inc., and its affiliates (together, “Hantz”), headquartered at 26200 American Drive, Southfield, Michigan 48034.

Our decision to offer insurance, tax planning and estate planning advice through Hantz allows us to provide you with a variety of services under one roof. Hantz Group, along with its affiliates, Hantz Tax & Business, LLC and Hantz Agency LLC to name a few, provides a comprehensive approach to your specific needs. Hantz will offer and provide its services through its 21 locations conveniently located near most of our chapters throughout Michigan.

For more information on Hantz, contact our SERA Plus program administrator, Cheryl Streberger at 517-515-9815.