Combined Plan: Benefits

Retirement

The Combined Plan is a retirement plan with both a defined contribution (DC) and a defined benefit (DB) component.

Under the DC portion, member contributions were deposited into an individual account. The member directs the investment of these funds by selected from sixteen professionally managed OPERS investment options. The retirement benefit under the DC portion is based on member contributions and gains and losses on those contributions.

At retirement, a variety of distribution options are available for the DC portion of the Combined Plan. Payment options include an annuity based on their entire account balance, a partial annuity with the remaining account balance rolled over or distributed as a lump sum, or a rollover/distribution of their entire account balance.

Under the DB portion, OPERS investment professionals manage the investment of employer contributions. Upon retirement, a monthly annuity under the defined benefit portion of your Combined Plan account is calculated using a formula based on your service credit, final average salary (FAS) and a multiplier. A monthly annuity provides monthly guaranteed income for you as long as you live. It is a fixed amount and increases with an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

The annual benefit provided under a "full pension" under the defined benefit portion of the Combined Plan (in the form of a single life annuity) is calculated using a formula. There are different formulas based on your retirement group*:

Groups A and B

For members in Groups A and B, the DB portion of your retirement benefit consists of an annual lifetime allowance equal to 1.0 percent of FAS, multiplied by the first 30 years of service plus 1.25 percent of FAS for each year, or portion thereof, of service over 30.

Group C

For members in Group C, the DB portion of your retirement benefit consists of an annual lifetime allowance equal to 1.0 percent of FAS, multiplied by the first 35 years of service plus 1.25 percent of FAS for each year, or partial year for service credit over 35.

More Information

For more information on retiring under the Combined Plan, view the Retiring from Public Employment – The Combined Plan leaflet.

**To find your retirement group, please refer to your annual statement. New members who begin contributing to OPERS on or after January 01, 2013 are in Group C.

Refunds

Upon leaving all public employment in Ohio, you may apply for and receive a refund. As a member participating in the Combined Plan, you may receive your employee contributions and any investment earnings (or losses) on those contributions. If you have five or more years of qualified service credit in the Combined Plan, you may receive an additional amount that is determined based on your years of eligible service credit.

If you have at least five years of qualified service credit in the Combined Plan, the additional amount is 33 percent of your total member contributions, deposits, as well as an additional interest calculation (used only to calculate the additional amount). If you have at least 10 years of service credit, the amount additional amount is 67 percent of your total member contributions, deposits, as well as an additional interest calculation (used only to calculate the additional amount).

Disability

Disability benefits may be available for those members who are disabled from their last public employment.

OPERS offers Combined Plan members, who are eligible, one of two disability programs -- the Original Plan or the Revised Plan. Employees who had contributions on deposit with OPERS on July 29, 1992 had a one-time opportunity to select coverage under one of these programs. Those employees hired after July 29, 1992 are covered only under the revised plan.

Prior to payment of a disability benefit, Combined Plan members must agree to transfer both their employer contributions and individual defined contribution account to the Traditional Pension Plan for payment of benefits.

More information regarding the disability program can be found on the traditional Disability Benefits home page.

Survivor

In addition to the disability and retirement benefits available to Traditional Pension and Combined Plan members, their survivors may qualify for benefits if the member dies before age and service retirement or while receiving a disability benefit.

Depending on who the member designates as his or her beneficiary, the survivors will receive either a refund of the member's account (Lump Sum Benefit) or Monthly Benefits. However, if the member is survived by a child or children qualified to receive monthly benefits, only monthly benefits can be paid.

Prior to the payment of a survivor benefit, survivors of Combined Plan members must agree to transfer both the deceased member's employer contributions and individual defined contribution account to the Traditional pension Plan for payment of benefits.