Combined Plan Refunding from the Combined plan
As a member of OPERS you have options if you decide to leave public employment:
You can refund your contributions or leave your account on deposit with OPERS. Both options will impact your status with OPERS.
How Your Refund is Calculated in the Combined Plan
If you refund your Combined Plan account you will receive 100 percent of your member contributions, plus any investment earnings or losses on those contributions.
However, you will not receive any of your employer contributions.
Instead, if you have five or more years of qualified service credit in the Combined Plan, you will receive an additional amount that is a percentage of your eligible contributions.
See the accompanying chart for more details.
To see an estimate of your refund amount, log in to your OPERS online account or check out your annual statement. You can find your refund and monthly benefit amounts on the first page.
Leaving your Account on Deposit in the Combined Plan
You are not obligated to refund your contributions when you terminate your OPERS-covered job.
When you terminate public employment, you may leave your account on deposit with OPERS until:
- You choose to take a refund of your account
- You receive a retirement benefit
- You attain the Required Minimum Distribution age, at which time you must take a refund or begin receiving a retirement benefit (if eligible)
- Or until your death, at which time your money with be paid to your beneficiaries and/or dependents (see the Survivor Benefits leaflet for more detail)
Things to keep in mind when leaving your defined contribution account on deposit with OPERS
- You can continue to direct your individual account in the OPERS Investment Options you selected and your account will continue to be subject to investment gains or losses.
- If you leave your account on deposit with OPERS, you will be charged a monthly administrative fee of $5. This fee is subject to change. The OPERS Board of Trustees reviews the fees annually and will make adjustments in future years as necessary.
Benefits of leaving your account on deposit with OPERS
You may be eligible to receive a benefit.
If you have at least five years of contributing service credit in the plan, you have earned a reduced retirement benefit for each retirement group. If you are in Group A and B, you may apply to receive a reduced retirement benefit at age 60. If you are in Group C, you may apply to receive a reduced retirement benefit at age 62.
You may qualify for additional benefits.
If you have 18 months of contributing service credit in the Combined Plan (and three months of that occurred in the last 30 months) you have earned survivor benefits for your survivors.
With at least five years of contributing service credit, if you become permanently disabled within two years of termination of plan participation, you can still file for disability benefits.
Returning to an OPERS-covered position in the Combined Plan
Returning after taking a refund
If you decide to return to public employment after a refund, you will be treated as a new member and may be eligible to pick a new plan. You don't have to choose a new plan – you can stay in the same plan.
OPERS members who receive a refund from the Combined Plan may redeposit the amount withdrawn to the same plan from which the member refunded after returning to OPERS-covered employment and contributing to the Combined Plan for at least 18 months. The redeposit automatically restores the service credit that was lost as a result of the refund. The cost to redeposit funds will include the amount refunded, plus interest.
To learn more about the cost of redepositing funds, refer to the Service Credit and Contributing Months leaflet.
Returning after leaving your account on deposit
If you don't take a refund – you can pick up right where you left off if you return to OPERS-covered service.
This page contains specific information concerning refunding from the Combined Plan. To learn more about refunding your OPERS account, visit the Refunds page.
Your account value in the Member-Directed Plan or the defined contribution portion of your Combined Plan is not a guaranteed amount. It is dependent on the performance of the investment options you select.