OPERS and the Ohio Legislature made difficult decisions in recent years
In anticipation of demographic changes and following the global stock market crash in 2008-2009, Ohio lawmakers made changes to OPERS that took effect in 2013 to strengthen its long-term funding status. Some of the major changes included:
- Changing the age and service requirements for retirement eligibility, components of the benefit formula, and the actuarial reduction for early retirement benefits.
- Tying the cost-of-living adjustment for future retirees to the Consumer Price Index, capped at 3 percent, beginning in 2019.
- Eliminating subsidization of various benefits, such as service purchases, to ensure such benefits were actuarially funded.
By making these changes, the Ohio General Assembly helped strengthen the pension fund and reduce OPERS' unfunded liability. But just like regular maintenance on your automobile, the pension system requires regular checkups by actuarial studies and legislative oversight, which can lead to a periodic tune up through legislative action.
An example of those tune ups is OPERS' attempt to alter the cost-of-living-adjustment that is the subject of House Bill 413. The savings derived from such a change would significantly reduce OPERS' unfunded liability while maintaining balance among OPERS' diverse membership. We want to work with the Legislature to address such issues as they are identified and ensure OPERS continues to be a dependable retirement system well into the future.