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Retirement System

FAQ

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The following topics are addressed on this page:

1.  Eligibility Requirements5.  Deferred Retirement
2.  Vesting6.  Applying for Retirement
3.  Annual Retirement Amount Calculation7.  Employee Contributions
4.  Early Retirement8.  Beneficiary Information


Effective January 1, 2017, the Retirement System was amended and restated to add to the existing defined benefit plan (to be called the "Traditional Retirement Plan"), a defined contribution money purchase pension plan (the "Dual Retirement Plan") which will only apply to non-union, AFSCME, and Teamsters Civilian Supervisor employees first hired or rehired on or after January 1, 2017. Employees who are members of the Dual Retirement Plan will also participate in and accrue benefits under the Traditional Retirement Plan, but at a rate of accruals that is 50% of the rate of accruals for members of the Traditional Retirement Plan who were not first hired or rehired on or after January 1, 2017. Certain collective bargaining units may agree that newly hired or rehired members of that union will be covered by the Dual Retirement Plan on dates after January 1, 2017. The Traditional Retirement Plan and the Dual Retirement Plan are together called the City of Ann Arbor Employees Retirement System.


1. What are the eligibility requirements for retirement with the City?

General Members: Age 60 or over and have at least 5 years of service (or 10 years depending on the date of hire); or

Age 50 years, or at such older age at which 25 years of credited service is acquired.
 
Police & Fire Members: Age 55 or over and have at least 5 years of service (or 10 years depending on the date of hire); or

Age 55 years and have at least 5 years of service (or 10 years depending on the date of hire), or the age at which 25 years of credited service is acquired, which ever occurs first. 

Mandatory Retirement Age: None.

If you have any questions about eligibility, you should contact the Retirement Office.

2.  What does vesting mean?

An employee is vested once they have participated in either of the Plans for 5 years (or 10 years depending on the date of hire). Vesting means that they have earned the right to the retirement benefits. If you leave city employment after 5 years of service (or 10 years depending on the date of hire), you can leave your contributions in the plan and collect a monthly pension at age 60. Alternatively, you can request a refund of your contributions and not be entitled to any additional benefits under the Plan.  For members of the Dual Retirement Plan, The City contributions are vested after 5 years.


3. How is the benefit annual amount calculated?

General Members: If hired before January 1st, 2017, Total service time X 2.5% of final average compensation (FAC).

If hired on or after January 1st, 2017, total service time X 1.25% X final average compensation (FAC).

Police & Fire Members: Total service time X 2.75% of final average compensation (FAC).

A member may elect to receive all or a portion of his accumulated contributions in a lump sum at retirement and receive a lesser benefit.

Final Average Compensation: Highest 3 consecutive years (or 5 years depending on the date of hire) out of the last 10 (some lump sum payouts of accrued banks included).


4. What is the eligibility requirement for Early Retirement?

General Members: Age 50 with 20 years of service.

Police & Fire Members: Age 50 with 20 years of service.

The annual amount is computed as a regular retirement, but reduced by .33% for each month by which retirement precedes:

  • General Members: Earlier of a) age 55, or b) the age the member would have had 25 years of service, but not later than age 60.
  • Police & Fire Members: Earlier of a) age 55 or b) the age the member would have had 25 years of service.
5. What is the eligibility requirement for Deferred Retirement? (vested benefit)

All members: 5 years of service (or 10 years depending on the date of hire). Payable at age 60.

The annual amount is the same as regular retirement, but based upon service and final average compensation at termination. (A member may elect to receive all or a portion of his accumulated contributions at termination, if the member's age plus service total at least 50, and receive a lesser benefit at age 60).

6.  How do I start the retirement process?

When your retirement date is approaching, The Retirement Office can make sure your benefits will be ready for you.

Step 1: Request an updated estimate of your monthly benefit from the Retirement Office.

This can be done up to six months prior to your anticipated retirement date.  You may submit an estimate request by calling the Retirement Office or by submitting the completed Estimate Request Form.  You may email your completed Estimate Request form to the Pension Analyst.

Step 2: Schedule a Pre-Retirement Session.

A pre-retirement session should be scheduled at least 60-90 days before your anticipated retirement.  An explanation of benefit options and other retirement issues will be discussed.

Step 3: Schedule a Final Retirement Session.

A final session should be scheduled with the Retirement Office at a minimum of 30 days and no more than 90 days prior to your effective retirement date.  You will be completing the retirement application process at this time.  You may bring your beneficiary and/or advisors to this session.


7. How much do I contribute to my retirement fund?

If hired before January 1st, 2017, you contribute six percent (6%) of your total compensation to the

Retirement System through payroll deductions. If hired on or after January 1st, 2017, you contribute six percent (6%) with three percent (3%) contributed to the 401a and three percent (3%) contributed to the Retirement System.  These are pre-tax deductions.  The City does not match employee contributions to the Retirement System. Voluntary contributions beyond the 6%/3% to the Retirement System are not allowed.

 

The City shall contribute an amount equal to 5.2% of each Dual Retirement Plan Member’s compensation for the plan year to the 401a Plan.


8. How do I elect a beneficiary?

There are a number of times throughout employment when a beneficiary selection should be made.

a. At the time of hire, you will nominate a "beneficiary" who may be eligible to receive the accumulated contributions in your retirement account in the event of your death prior to retirement.

b. If there is a divorce or death, you may want to change your beneficiary designation.

c. When you have 5 years of service (or 10 years depending on the date of hire) and are "vested" in the Retirement System, there are additional benefits available to you and your beneficiary:

1. If you are married and die in service, your spouse would receive an automatic Option II Allowance.

2. You can designate someone other than your spouse to receive the Automatic Option II Benefit, if the person has an insurable interest in your life.

3. If you take a deferred retirement status, your beneficiary will not be eligible to receive death benefits before your effective retirement date. Be sure your beneficiary information is up to date with the Retirement System! Call the Retirement Office at (734) 794-6710 to request a Beneficiary Election Form.