Retirement FAQ's

Retirement Eligibility & Notification Process

What is an Official GVSU Retiree?

An Official GVSU Retiree is a benefit eligible faculty/staff member who was hired prior to January 1, 2014 and whose years of service at GVSU and age total a minimum of 75 at the time of retirement. Affiliate and Visiting Faculty are not eligible for Official Retiree status.

When do I notify my department of my retirement?

You should provide your department a minimum of 2 weeks notice before your retirement. Additional notice may be required by your department.

If you are eligible for vacation you should refer to your Employment Handbook or contract for information on the payment of accrued but unused vacation time.

What is phased retirement?

Phased retirement is an arrangement made between the University and a faculty/staff member in which the faculty/staff members workload and compensation are reduced as the faculty/staff member approaches retirement. For additional information consult the GVSU Phased Retirement Agreement document.

What paperwork do I fill out to retire?

Participants in the MGS Retirement Plan A & PSS Retirement Plan A should complete a retirement application and turn it in to the Human Resources Office 2-3 months before retirement. Contact the Human Resources Office for a copy of the application.

All faculty and staff members who will be retiring should provide their supervisor and the Human Resources Office an official retirement letter or email at least 2 weeks in advance of the retirement date.

Upon notification of your retirement the Benefits Office will provide you with enrollment information for the Retiree Medical Plan (if under 65) or Medicare Supplement Reimbursement instructions.

Benefits In Retirement

When do my benefits end?

Your GVSU benefits will end on your retirement date. Official Retirees under the age of 65 will have the option of enrolling in the GVSU Retiree Medical Plan. Retirees over the age of 65 should enroll in Medicare. You can find additional information by visiting the Benefits In Retirement page.

When do benefits end for faculty members retiring at the end of the Winter Semester?

Faculty members whose contracts are for the academic year will be covered by GVSU benefits until August 5 unless a separate agreement has been arranged. Faculty members whose contracts are for the calendar year will be covered by GVSU benefits until their retirement date unless a separate agreement has been arranged.

When will my coverage in the Retiree Medical Plan begin?

If you are enrolling in the GVSU Retiree Medical Plan your coverage will be retroactive to your retirement date.

Can my spouse/household member and dependents be covered under the Retiree Medical Plan?

Spouses, household members, and dependents of Official Retirees can be covered under the Retiree Medical Plan. Spouses can be covered by the plan until the age of 65. Dependents can be covered on the plan until age 27 if a full-time student or age 26 if not a full time student.

If I do not enroll in the GVSU Retiree Medical Plan when I retire can I enroll later?

The GVSU Retiree Medical Plan is available for Official Retirees under the age of 65. If you do not enroll in the plan when you retire you must experience an IRS Qualifying Event to enroll.

How much will my benefits cost?

Premium amounts for the Retiree Medical Plan are based on your years of service at GVSU. You can find the current years monthly premium in the 2018 Summary of Medical Benefits for Official GVSU Retirees.

Retirees over the age of 65 should enroll in Medicare and may purchase Medigap coverage or a Medicare Advantage Plan from the insurance vendor of their choice. The costs of these policies will vary. GVSU will reimburse Official Retirees to help pay for this coverage. The reimbursement amount is based on years of service at GVSU and current age. The spouse/household member of an official retiree is also eligible for reimbursement. You can find the GVSU monthly contribution amounts in the 2018 Summary of Medical Benefits for Official GVSU Retirees

Dental and vision coverage end on your retirement date. You can continue your coverage for up to 18 months by electing COBRA and paying the monthly COBRA premium.

What happens to my unused vacation when I retire?

Refer to your Employment Handbook  or contract for information on the payment of accrued but unused vacation time.

Retirement Income

When will I receive my last paycheck from GVSU?

You will receive your last paycheck from GVSU on the pay date of the pay period in which your retirement date falls. You can find pay calendars on the Payroll Office Website.  

Faculty members retiring at the end of the Winter Semester will receive their last paycheck on either May 15 or August 15 depending on how they have chosen to have their pay allocated.

How much will my pension benefit be?

If you are a participant in the MGS or PSS Retirement Plan A your pension estimate will be calculated after you have filed an application for retirement. A meeting will be scheduled with the Human Resources Representative to review the pension calculation.

How much income will I receive from Fidelity Investments and/or TIAA?

You should schedule a meeting with your retirement vendor to review your retirement income projections. Representatives from both Fidelity Investments and TIAA are on campus monthly. To view upcoming dates when representatives will be on campus please view our Events Page.

Do I have to start withdrawing money from my Fidelity Investments and/or TIAA account when 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 70 1/2. If you are still working at 70 1/2 you can wait until April 1 of the year following your retirement to take your first minimum distribution.

Who gets my retirement income if I pass away?

In the event of your passing the beneficiary that you have designated will receive the funds in your retirement accounts. It is important to designate a beneficiary and make any changes to your beneficiary if your circumstances change.

The beneficiary for your Fidelity or TIAA account can be updated by logging into your account online or by completing the Beneficiary Designation Form and submitting it to the appropriate company.

If you are a participant in the PSS or MGS Retirement Plan A you can complete the "Beneficiary Designation For Defined Benefit Plan" form found in the Anytime Events system.

Please note that designating a beneficiary for your life insurance policy does not designate that beneficiary for your retirement accounts. You must complete separate beneficiary designations for each plan that you are enrolled in.

How can I find a reputable financial planner?

A Certified Financial Planner can assist you with your personal financial planning. For more information and to find a CFP in your area visit the CFP Board website.


Medicare & Social Security

If I am still working and over 65 do I need to apply for Medicare?

If you are over the age of 65 and covered by the GVSU High Deductible PPO Plan or the GVSU Standard PPO Plan you do not need to apply for Medicare.

Medicare will become your primary health coverage upon your retirement date. You should consider enrolling in Medicare Parts A & B approximately 2 months before your retirement date to avoid a gap in coverage.

If you are still employed and have your spouse/household member covered by your GVSU medical plan they do not need to apply for Medicare when they turn 65. They should consider enrolling in Medicare Parts A & B approximately 2 months before your retirement date.

When do I need to apply for Medicare?

If you are already receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically when you turn 65.

You can apply for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP is the seven months around your 65th birthday (3 months before, the month of, and the 3 months following your birthday). If you are still working and covered under one of GVSU's medical plans you do not need to apply for Medicare during the IEP. Because you have coverage under an employer health plan you will have a Special Enrollment Period. You will be able to apply for Medicare at any point while you are working and for up to 8 months following your loss of coverage. See page 26 of Medicare and You 2018 for more information on Special Enrollment Periods.

You should consider enrolling in Medicare Parts A & B and researching and enrolling in a Medigap policy about 2 months prior to your retirement date to avoid any lapse in coverage.

What is Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?

A Medigap policy is additional insurance that you can purchase from a private company that will help pay for some of the health care costs that Medicare Part A and Part B don't cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

Before purchasing a Medigap policy, check with your State Insurance Commission for information to help you compare the various supplemental policies sold in your state. In Michigan, the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) will provide a copy of the most recent Medigap policy comparison. They can be reached at (800)803-7174.

What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?

Medicare Advantage Plans are health plan options that are part of the Medicare program. If you join one of these plans, you generally get all your Medicare-covered health care through that plan (Parts A, B, & D).

To join a Medicare Advantage Plan you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will have to pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium to Medicare. In addition, you might have to pay a monthly premium to your Medicare Advantage Plan for the extra benefits that they offer.

If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, your Medigap policy won't pay any deductibles, copayments, or other cost-sharing under your Medicare Health Plan.  Therefore, you may want to drop your Medigap policy if you join a Medicare Advantage Plan.

How do I apply for Social Security retirement benefits?

You should apply for Social Security retirement benefits three months before you want payments to start.

You can apply for benefits in one of three ways:

  1. Online by visiting the Social Security Website
  2. By phone. You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday from 7 am- 7 pm.
  3. In person by visiting your local Social Security Office.

When you file for benefits, you need to submit documents that show you're eligible, such as a birth certificate for each family member applying for benefits, a marriage certificate if your spouse is applying, and your most recent W-2 form.

How does initiating Social Security Benefits after the age of 65 effect my Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility?

If you initiate your Social Security benefit after age 65 you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A. The Medicare Part A coverage is made effective retroactively to the earlier of age 65 or six months. This is important because the Medicare Part A retroactive effective date is the date you are enrolled in Medicare and is when you lose your eligibility to make ongoing contributions into your HSA. In addition, the amount you can contribute to your HSA for the year the Medicare Part A coverage was effective will be prorated. For an example of how to calculate your prorated contribution limit consult page 6 of IRS Publication 969.

How much will I collect from Social Security when I retire?

The Retirement Estimator is a tool available through the Social Security website that will give you an estimate of your Social Security benefit based on your actual Social Security earnings record. You can also contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 for an estimate.

An actual benefit amount can't be provided until you apply for benefits

Where can I find additional information?

Additional information can be found on the Retirement Documents and Resources page.


Page last modified April 6, 2018