Additional Benefits Under OPERS Retirement Plans

Below you will find answers to a set of some of the most frequently asked questions about the OPERS' pension plans. Click on the arrows beside the questions to either reveal or hide the answers.

Can you describe the survivor and disability protection offered under each of the OPERS retirement plans?

Traditional Pension Plan and Combined Plan

Survivor Benefits. Your dependents may qualify for survivor benefits if you die. The benefits they receive are based on your years of service credit and the number of qualified survivors. You must have at least eighteen months of full-time service at time of death for your survivors to qualify for these benefits.

Disability Insurance Coverage. Should you become permanently disabled, you will receive a regular monthly benefit. The benefit you receive will be based on your years of service credit and final average salary. You must have at least five years of service credit to be eligible to apply for and receive disability benefits.

Member-Directed Plan

Survivor Benefits. No monthly survivor benefits are available through OPERS. In the event of your death, the vested portion of your individual OPERS account balance is available to your beneficiaries.

Disability Protection. No monthly disability benefits are available through OPERS. However, the vested portion of your individual OPERS account will be available through a refund after your job-related services are terminated.

Which of the OPERS retirement plans include a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)?

The Traditional Pension and Combined Plans include a COLA. An annual three percent fixed COLA is provided to benefit recipients under those Plans. All benefit recipients who have received benefits for at least 12 months are entitled to the COLA on their annual anniversary date, subject to the limits imposed by the Internal Revenue Code. In the Member-Directed Plan, a COLA option is offered as long as the funds are converted to an OPERS annuity.

A retiree who has received benefits for 12 months will receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The COLA is determined by the recipient’s retirement group. Group A members who retire within the first five calendar years after Jan. 7, 2013 will receive a simple, 3 percent COLA until Dec. 31, 2018 and, thereafter, their COLA will be based on an allowance equal to a percentage of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), up to 3 percent. Groups B and C members will receive a COLA based on an allowance equal to a percentage of the CPI, up to 3 percent.

The COLA is not compounded, it will always be based on your initial retirement annuity benefit, not the benefit plus accumulated allowances. If the CPI used to determine COLA is negative, no allowance will be granted the following year