The Combined Plan is a hybrid plan that includes both a defined benefit and defined contribution component, and your benefit is calculated from the total of both portions. Your employer contributions are managed by OPERS investment professionals under the defined benefit portion of the Combined Plan.
You direct the investment of your member contributions in the defined contribution portion of the plan, choosing from one (or more) of the OPERS investment options. You bear sole responsibility for the investment risk, similar to the way a 401(k) plan works in the private sector.
Key Aspects of the Combined Plan
The OPERS Combined Plan offers a number of specific features and benefits that are available to you both throughout your career as well as during retirement.
Security and freedom to invest
The Combined Plan offers security through the defined benefit portion and the ability to make investment decisions that come with the defined contribution portion.
The defined benefit portion of the Combined Plan offers security because your retirement income is based on a formula that includes your final average salary and years of service and is not subject to investment gains and losses.
OPERS investment professionals manage the investment of your employer contributions. And your monthly payment will last throughout your lifetime, which can make budgeting for retirement a whole lot easier. You can even take a reduced payment to make sure your spouse will be taken care of if you pass away.
The defined contribution portion gives you the freedom and flexibility to manage your member contributions. Your benefit is based on the amount you contributed and is affected by expenses, investment gains and losses, and annuity factors, such as your retirement age.
You have a number of distribution options when you retire including taking a monthly lifetime annuity, a lump sum refund or rolling over your balance to another account.
Disability and survivor benefits
If you get hurt on the job or become unable to work, the Combined Plan offers disability benefits and a Rehabilitative Services Program. Survivor benefits available through the Combined Plan provide income for your family should you pass away.
Additional Things to Keep in Mind About the Combined Plan
When you retire you may have access to the OPERS health care program, although this is not a guaranteed benefit.