OPERS recommends additional legislative changes to improve plan design, strengthen pension fund

OPERS is also exploring the following plan design adjustments. Identified through a proactive, routine review of the plan design, these adjustments, if implemented, would help OPERS maintain financial strength into the future. In all cases, legislative action will be required.

With the exception of retiree health care coverage, the OPERS Board of Trustees does not have authority to enact any plan design changes without passage of legislation.

Survivor Benefits

Survivor benefits were established in the 1950s with no significant modifications to the calculation formula since. Recommended changes would apply to benefits for members eligible for survivor benefits but not yet eligible to receive a pension. The goal would be to better align the benefit to the actual contributions remitted on behalf of the member and reduce subsidization. OPERS is also exploring optional life insurance offerings.

Clarify Five Years of Service Requirement

Current law establishes benefit eligibility at 60 contributing months. It is possible for those with less than full-time service to contribute for 60 months and receive a benefit based on service significantly less than five years. The recommendation would be to change the statute for all benefit eligibility purposes from 60 contributing months to five years of service (consistent with other eligibility criteria).

Minimum Payment Threshold

Minimum payment thresholds exist for most benefit payments with the exception of service retirements (pensions). The recommendation is to set a minimum payment threshold of $50 a month for all benefits. For accounts that produce less than a $50 a month benefit, the member will be given a lump sum payment (greater of refund amount or lump sum pension equivalent).

We look forward to working with members of the General Assembly to advance these proposals through the legislative process.

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