Combined Plan Retiring from the Combined Plan

Deciding to retire is a milestone requiring careful thought and planning.

You have a number of tools and resources available to help you plan for your retirement and guide you through the retirement application process.

Retirement Eligibility for the Combined Plan

Before you apply for retirement, you’ll need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for a benefit.

Under the Combined Plan, the minimum age and service eligibility requirements for each retirement group are as follows:

Unreduced Benefit
Group A Group B Group C
Age Service Age Service Age Service
Any 30 52 31 55 32
    Any 32    
65 5 66 5 67 5
Reduced Benefit
Group A Group B Group C
Age Service Age Service Age Service
55 25 55 25 57 25
60 5 60 5 62 5

Unreduced Benefit vs. Reduced Benefit

You’ll notice the charts above give eligibility requirements for two types of benefits – unreduced and reduced.

If you choose to retire early upon reaching the minimum requirements, your benefit will be reduced. This reflects the longer period of time you'll be receiving benefits.

However if you work longer and meet the eligibility requirements for your full benefit amount, you will receive your full (unreduced) benefit.

When Am I eligible for Health Care?

Pension eligibility may not mean access to health care coverage through OPERS when you retire. Health care is not a guaranteed benefit.

The Pension and Health Care Eligibility Guide can help you determine when and if you will qualify for both.


Retirement Application for the Combined Plan

To apply for retirement from the Combined Plan you need to complete the Combined Plan Retirement Application.

You can do this yourself through your OPERS online account, or with a counselor who can walk you through each step of the application.

Your Retirement Payment Options

As a member of the Combined plan you effectively have a two separate accounts - the defined benefit portion and the defined contribution portion.

Therefore when you apply for retirement, you'll need to select retirement payment options for each portion of your account.

These options determine how you receive your monthly retirement benefit.

Defined Benefit Portion

When you apply for retirement, you'll be asked to select your retirement payment option for the defined benefit portion of your Combined Plan. These will determine how you receive your monthly retirement benefit.

When you retire from the Combined Plan you have two options for the defined benefit portion of your account:

  1. You can receive a lifetime, monthly benefit

    You can choose from three payment plans from which to receive your monthly benefit:

    • Single Life Plan
    • Joint Life Plan
    • Multiple Life Plan
  2. You can take a Partial Lump Sum Option Payment with a reduced monthly benefit

    You have the option of a partial lump sum option payment that allows you to initially receive a lump-sum payment along with a reduced monthly retirement benefit.

Defined Contribution Portion

When you apply for retirement, you'll have three choices from which to take a distribution of the defined contribution portion of your Combined Plan. These choices will determine how you receive your monthly retirement benefit and/or lump sum refund.

When you retire from the Combined plan, you have three options for the Defined Contribution portion of your account:

  1. You can receive a lifetime, monthly benefit

    You may choose to receive a lifetime, monthly benefit by annuitizing your entire account.

    If you choose this option, you will fill out the retirement application normally, and select one of three payment plans:

    • Single Life Plan
    • Joint Life Plan
    • Multiple Life Plan

    Your monthly benefit is a lifetime annuity that provides a guaranteed income for as long as you live, and you will receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment.

  2. You can take a partial lump sum refund and receive a reduced lifetime, monthly benefit

    You can receive a monthly benefit by annuitizing a portion of your account and receive a lump sum refund of the remaining portion.

    You will need to select a payment plan for the annuitized portion of your account. (see option 1)

    The partial lump sum refund can either be rolled over to another company or qualified retirement account, or sent directly to you with taxes withheld.

    If you choose this option, you will fill out the retirement application normally, and select what percentage of your account you would like annuitized and what percentage you would like refunded.

  3. You can take a full lump sum refund

    You can take a full lump sum refund of your account, and either have the entire account balance sent directly to you, with taxes withheld or rollover the account balance to another qualified retirement account.

    If you choose this option, you must apply for a refund through the OPERS secure online refund application, rather than filling out a retirement application.

More Information

More detailed information about your retirement options can be found in the Retiring From Public Employment - Combined Plan leaflet.


Retirement Planning Tools for the Combined Plan

We are your trusted retirement partner, and we want you to be well-informed when it comes time to make the decision to retire. We provide a number of planning tools and educational resources to help you.

myOrangeMoney Tool

Voya's myOrangeMoney tool has been tailored specifically for OPERS members. The tool allows you to get an idea of what your retirement account will look like in the future and compare your estimated monthly income with what you think you may need in retirement. Certain factors such as annuity factors and contribution rates have been customized for your plan.

Don't forget the cost of health care

The myOrange Money tool provides a visual idea of how much of your retirement income may be needed for health care costs based on national health care costs for the Medicare population and is based on the state of residence. These are not OPERS health care costs.

Access the myOrangeMoney Tool

You can access the myOrangeMoney tool through your OPERS online account. For more detailed instructions, watch the video below.

Ready to Retire Seminars

If you are within five years of meeting your retirement eligibility, consider attending a Ready to Retire seminar. During this seminar you’ll learn more about the retirement application process and the tools and resources available to help you with your retirement decisions.

OPERS Education

OPERS offers a variety of seminars, webinars, and recorded presentations to learn more about your retirement.

Visit the resources page to learn more.

OPERS Counseling Sessions

A counseling session is the perfect way to learn everything you need to know prior to retirement. You'll meet with an experienced OPERS professional who can walk you through every aspect of retirement.

You can schedule a counseling session at any time from your online account or by calling 1-800-222-7377.

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.