Pension Matters

State Employees Retirement Fund
Most Recent Market Value | Michigan Treasury Bureau of Investments

March 2020

Retirement Saving Assistance

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” (SECURE) Act. This new law does several things that will affect your ability to save money for retirement and influence how you use the funds over time. While some provisions are administrative in nature or intended to raise revenue, most of the changes are taxpayer-friendly measures designed to boost retirement savings. Information from Kiplinger Today (2/14/20)

Social Security Benefits Not Necessarily Tax Free

If your provisional income is less than $25,000 ($32,000 for married couples filing a joint return), your Social Security benefits are tax-free.

If your provisional income is between $25,000 and $34,000 ($32,000 and $44,000 for joint filers), then up to 50% of your benefits are taxable.

If your provisional income is more than $34,000 ($44,000 for joint filers), then up to 85% of your benefits are taxable. (Kiplinger

Most pensions are funded with pretax income, and that means the full amount of your pension income would be taxable when you receive the funds. Payments from private and government pensions are usually taxable at your ordinary income rate, assuming you made no after-tax contributions to the plan.

IRS Data from Michigan Tax Returns

Michigan residents reported an average income of $64,041 on their 2017 federal tax returns, according to the most current state-level data from the Internal Revenue Service.

That’s up 3.5% from the previous year and 33% from 2009, the depth of the recession, the data show

Meanwhile, the state’s collective adjusted gross income increased from $218 billion to $300 billion, or 37%, between 2009 and 2017, the result of both income growth and higher employment. Read the entire article at

Supreme Court to Review Affordable Care Act Decision That Jeopardizes Health Care for Millions

LANSING – The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to review a lower court’s decision that found the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional, at the urging of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and 19 other attorneys general and the governor of Kentucky, who collectively filed the petition for review. Read more at the Michigan Department of Attorney General web site.

Virus Information from BC-BS

This corona virus causes symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, cough and fever, as well as a pneumonia-like illness. Since the virus is brand new, there is no vaccine to prevent an infection. Like the flu, it’s spread by coughing, sneezing, or by being in close contact with someone who’s already sick. According to current estimates, it takes two to 14 days for symptoms to appear.

In the U.S., the first case was confirmed in a Washington state resident Tuesday, Jan. 21. As of Feb. 28, there are 15 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 47 cases among people repatriated to the U.S. To date (Feb. 28) there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Michigan.

To prevent the spread of the virus, one should take the following precautions:

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol-based.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and a cough.
  • If you are sick with a respiratory illness, practice cough etiquette: maintain your distance, cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues or clothing, and wash your hands.
  • If you have a fever, are coughing and have difficulty breathing, seek medical care and share any travel history with your doctor.
  • If visiting live markets in areas affected by the corona virus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live farm or wild animals.
  • Meanwhile, influenza activity is widespread in Michigan. To date there have been 388 confirmed cases since October 2019, which have resulted in 318 hospitalizations and two pediatric deaths.
  • Across the U.S., the CDC estimates there have been 15 million to 21 million flu illnesses so far this flu season, resulting in at least 8,000 deaths. Flu shots  are still readily available and provide immunity to the predominant strain of influenza.
Keep your Medicare Card Safe

Guard your card. Identity theft can happen when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Guard your Medicare Number and card, and keep your Social Security Number safe.

Editor’s note: June Morse may be contacted at or 517-886-9323.

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