Who is a Member?

All employees who are paid in whole or in part by the state of Ohio, a county, municipality, or any other political subdivision of state or local government in Ohio must become members of OPERS unless they are covered by another state retirement system in Ohio or by the Cincinnati Retirement System. Membership begins from the first date of employment.

Membership Determination Process

Public employers and/or their workers seeking a membership determination for either independent contract/public employee status or carryover status follow this process:

Special Cases

Elected Officials

Membership in OPERS is optional for service as an elected official, however, if an elected official does not choose membership in OPERS, he or she must contribute to Social Security.

Back payments on earlier non-contributing elective service may be made after a member has contributed for at least 18 months based on current service, if earlier service was not covered under Social Security. Once an elected official becomes a member of OPERS, he or she is eligible for the same benefits as regular members.


Students working for the public school, college, or university they are attending may be exempt from contributing to OPERS by filing a request for exemption within the first month of employment.


The following individuals are ineligible for membership: