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.
For more information about membership, please see the Membership area in the About OPERS section. It covers several important topics, including contributions, service credit and alternative retirement plans for colleges & universities.
If I am employed part-time or for a short period of time do I have to be a member and contribute to OPERS?
All public employees, unless otherwise excluded or exempted, must become members regardless of the hours worked. In the Traditional Pension and Combined Plans, your earnings will determine your service credit; if you earn at least $600 per month for each of 12 calendar months you receive a full year of service credit. You earn contributing months in the Member-Directed Plan.
I did not contribute to OPERS for a period when I was working for a public employer. Why not?
- Your service was excluded from coverage and you were not entitled to coverage. For example, you were an independent contractor.
- Your service was exempted and you filed an exemption from membership. You may purchase this time.
- Your service was covered but your employer did not submit any contributions. This is referred to as non-contributing service and becomes a liability to the public employer.
How can I find out if I should be, or should have been in OPERS?
Will membership in OPERS affect contributions in an individual retirement account (IRA)?
Can I take a loan out of my account, or use my account as collateral when applying for a loan?
Your funds are here to provide you with benefits if you otherwise are qualified. You cannot make any withdrawals while you are still employed and no creditors can reach your funds. See the Refunds FAQ for when you may receive your account.
How do I know what contributions I have with OPERS or how much service credit? Can you give this information over the telephone?
A member may also contact the OPERS Member Services Center, by calling 1-800-222-PERS (7377) or by writing to OPERS at 277 East Town St., Columbus, Ohio, 43215-4642, at any time to request a statement of their contributions and service credit.
Quarterly statement for the Member-Directed Plan and the defined contribution portion of the Combined Plan are mailed to these members.
My statement went to my old address even though I had given my new address to my employer. Why?
Why didn't I receive an annual statement this year?
However, an annual statement is generated and set to inactive members who are vested for retirement benefits.
If you did contribute to OPERS and did not receive a statement, you may wish to confirm that OPERS has your current address (See Question 7 above). This is the primary reason why most members who are supposed to receive an annual statement do not.
How much will it cost for me to purchase military (or other types of) service credit?
I have heard my employer can buy additional service credit for me so I can retire early. How can I find out about this?
The cost to the employer is the additional benefit liability based upon factors supplied by the OPERS actuary, not just employee and employer contributions. A member must be eligible to retire with the purchase of the credit by the termination date of the plan. The employer must follow certain procedures to establish an ERI plan, and once a plan is in place, provide information to their eligible employees.
Because these are employer-initiated programs, any questions should go to your employer. Employers may request further information from OPERS on creating a plan.