Retirement FAQs and Definitions

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For other questions about benefits and retirement, call the SSC Contact Center at (734) 615-2000 or toll free at (866) 647-7657. Be sure to have your UMID number available when you call.


When am I eligible to retire with benefits?
Find out when you will become eligible to retire with benefits from the University of Michigan by viewing your estimated retirement eligibility date on Wolverine Access under Employee Self-Service > Benefits > Benefits Summary.
If I get married or acquire new dependent children after I retire, can I add them to my medical and dental coverage?
No. Newly acquired dependents are not eligible to be added to your coverage as a retiree.
My spouse/OQA works for or is retired from the university. Can I cover him/her on my retiree benefits?
No. You cannot cover anyone who works for or is retired from the university and has his or her own coverage, anyone not already enrolled on your benefits plans prior to your retirement, or any dependents who are already covered by a spouse or OQA who works for or is retired from U-M.
How long can I cover my dependents on my retiree benefits?
Dependents who are covered by your benefits at the time you retire can continue to be covered as long as they satisfy the university's eligibility requirements. Never-married dependent children can be covered through the end of the month they turn age 26.
Do my benefits continue to my surviving spouse or OQA in the event of my death?
Your surviving spouse or OQA may be eligible for continuing coverage if certain eligibility criteria are met.
Can I get a job with benefits at another employer and still keep my U-M retiree benefits?
Yes, you do not forfeit your U-M retiree benefits just because you obtain benefits through another employer. Keep in mind you will need to coordinate claims carefully if you obtain additional health and dental coverage as the primary payer will likely change.
Can I return to work after I retire?
Yes. Temporary Staffing Services offers assignments on the Ann Arbor and Medical campuses in a variety of positions ranging from secretarial, clerical, data entry, to skilled labor. If you are interested in temporary employment, contact:
Temporary Staffing Services
3003 S. State Street, Suite G250
Wolverine Tower
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Phone: (734) 763-5740
Please note that as of January 1, 2016, if you return to university employment after retirement, you may become eligible for health coverage under the Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) provision of the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about ESR or browse frequently asked questions.
Can I cancel my benefits and later enroll again?
Once you affirmatively cancel your U-M retiree benefits, the ability to enroll again is severely restricted. Call the SSC Contact Center for information on benefits eligibility.

Benefits in Retirement

When I retire, when do my U-M active employee benefits end?
Active employee benefits end the 1st of the month following the retirement date, unless the date of retirement is 1st of the month. Benefits end on the date of retirement if the date of retirement is the 1st day of the month.
Please note that as of January 1, 2016, if you retire and return to university employment, you may become eligible for employee health coverage under the Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) provision of the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about ESR or browse frequently asked questions.
What do I need to do to continue benefits in retirement?
Coverage for most benefits in effect at the time of your retirement continues automatically as long as retiree premiums are paid within 30 days of the due date. Long-Term Disability, Dependent Group Life Insurance, and Flexible Spending Accounts end upon retirement. Retirees participate in annual open enrollment to make benefits changes, however they may not add new dependents. Only eligible dependents covered at the time of retirement who remain eligible may continue to be covered during retirement.
What are my health benefits if I retire?
Health coverage for you and your eligible dependents in effect at the time of your retirement continues. For more information, refer to Your Retirement Benefits.
When do U-M retiree benefits start?
Retiree benefits start the 1st of the month following your retirement date, unless you retire on the 1st of the month, in which case benefits start on the 1st of the month.
How do I find out how much my benefits will cost?
Retiree monthly premiums for most benefit plans are the same as for employees. The U-M health plan rates for retirees differ depending on when you were hired, when you retire, your age, your eligibility for Medicare, and other factors. Rates change annually. When you retire your open enrollment materials will provide rates for the next calendar year.
I if I retire under age 62 I will have to pay the full cost of my university benefits. What are my options?
Individuals who have to pay the full cost of benefits because they retire under age 62 may choose not to enroll in U-M retiree benefits. If you waive coverage, you are eligible for re-enrollment in the U-M medical and dental plan at age 62 as long as you maintain continuous comparable coverage through another source. If you waive life insurance, you cannot re-enroll.
You may be able to enroll on your spouse's or OQA's benefits. Or there may be other more affordable coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace offers “one-stop shopping” to find and compare private health insurance options. To find out more about enrolling in the Marketplace, visit
Can I change benefit plans after I retire?
Each year during the Open Enrollment period, you may make changes to your current benefits package. Coverage is effective the following January 1.

Medicare and Social Security

When do I need to apply for Medicare?
Retirees and their dependents must enroll in Medicare when first eligible. You can call 800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to schedule an appointment with a Social Security counselor at an office near you or to request the enrollment forms by mail.
How much will I collect from Social Security when I retire?
Contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 for income estimates or visit

Retirement Notification Process

When do I have to notify my department of my intent to retire?
Check with your unit supervisor to determine how much advance notice is requested from an individual when they decide to retire.
What paperwork do I fill out to retire?
There is no application to complete to retire from the university; however, you need to notify your supervisor because they must submit an appointment change to indicate you will retire. This is necessary for a smooth transition to retirement regarding your benefits and helps ensure your final pay and any unused vacation/paid time off is issued to you correctly. Check with your supervisor to determine what kind of notice is requested from an individual when they decide to retire.

Retirement Income

Do I have to start taking money out of my account(s) at TIAA or Fidelity Investments once I retire?
No, you may postpone taking any withdrawals from your account until you meet the IRS age requirement for minimum distribution. You are not required to start taking distributions from your account until April 1 of the calendar year following the calendar year you reach age 70½ once retired. If you are already over age 70½ when you retire, then you must take a distribution by April 1 of the following year.
How much income will I receive from my accounts at TIAA and Fidelity Investments when I retire?
Schedule a meeting to review your TIAA retirement income illustrations at (800) 732-8353.
Schedule a meeting to review your Fidelity Investments retirement income planning at (800) 642-7131.
Who gets the accumulations in my TIAA and Fidelity account(s) when I pass away?
The beneficiary you designate will receive the accumulations in your account in the event of your death. Designating a beneficiary, and keeping it updated if your situation changes, is critical to ensure that your retirement account is paid to the beneficiary of your wishes, and helps avoid legal disputes over your account.
Please note that updating your beneficiary for life insurance does not update it for your retirement savings plan accounts. You must complete a separate beneficiary designation for each plan in which you are enrolled. Your life insurance and the retirement savings plan are two separate benefit programs; designating or updating a beneficiary for one plan does not affect the other. And if you have accounts with both TIAA and Fidelity Investments, you will need to designate beneficiaries for your account at each company.
How do I update my beneficiary?
It is important to keep your beneficiary designations up to date. Family status changes, such as marriage, divorce, birth, or adoption may affect your desired beneficiary intentions. It is recommended that you review and update your beneficiaries periodically to make sure they reflect your wishes as your circumstance change.

Definitions of Common Retirement Terms

Employment record with the University of Michigan, which identifies classification, department, employment status, rate, and appointment fraction. The appointment fraction equates to the hours normally scheduled to work.
Date of Hire
The first day of the current continuous employment relationship with the university. Not all university job titles are eligible to accrue service to retire.
Date of Service
The date at which an individual obtains an appointment as a regular or supplemental faculty or staff member and is eligible for the Basic Retirement Savings Plan. Typically, this is a 1% appointment for regular titles and 50% for Adjunct, Supplemental, and LEO I. Note that a 1% appointment as a regular staff member does not accrue service to retire with benefits but can be used to establish eligibility for determining the university contribution for retiree benefits.
Individuals eligible to be covered on your U-M benefit plans; includes your spouse or other qualified adult (OQA); your children by birth or adoption and children of your spouse or OQA (to age 26); never married legal guardianship (to age 18 or court specified); never married principally supported children (to age 19); and never married disabled children (age 26 or older).
Eligible Service to Retire with Benefits
Continuous years employed in a status that was eligible for participation in the Basic Retirement Savings Plan and the health plan benefits. This is a regular or supplemental faculty or staff member with a 50% or greater appointment lasting at least four continuous months with university funding.
Full Time
A regular or supplemental staff member normally scheduled to work 32 hours or more per week (80% to 100% appointment effort). The number of hours per week for the definition of full time may vary for members of certain unions or bargaining units. Please note that this definition only applies to service to retire from the University of Michigan with benefits.
Part Time
A regular or supplemental staff member normally scheduled to work 20-31.9 hours per week (50% to 79.9% appointment effort). The number of hours per week for the definition of part time may vary for members of certain collective bargaining units. Please note that this definition only applies to service to retire from the University of Michigan with benefits.
A unit of accrual toward meeting the eligibility requirements to retire from the university. A point can be measured as a year of eligible service as a regular or supplemental staff member or as age of an individual in years.
Regular Staff
A staff member whose employment is either full or part-time and is reasonably expected to continue indefinitely. Regular staff does not include the following titles: House Officer, Research Fellow, Professional Specialist, Graduate Student and temporary hourly staff.
To voluntarily terminate employment from the university based on meeting age and continuous years of eligible service as of the last day of pay. Health plan, dental and life insurance benefits are continued by the university for individuals who have maintained eligibility for these benefits during all years of continuous eligible service needed to be eligible to retire.
A university-designated title for any individual who voluntarily terminates from the university and who meets the age and continuous years of eligible service( as of the last day of pay) requirements with a regular or supplemental appointment.
Supplemental Staff
An instructional staff member typically classified as Adjunct, Visiting or Clinical I titles.
University Contribution for Retiree Health Care
The university contribution for health care is calculated as a percentage of the enrollment-weighted average premium of the two lowest-cost comprehensive health plans offered at U-M. This calculation yields a fixed amount that is the maximum university contribution toward the health plan you select.