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.
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 will 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 investment options available to Combined Plan participants and your account will continue to be subject to investment gains or losses.
- If you leave your account on deposit with OPERS, you will continue to be charged a monthly administrative fee of $6. This fee is subject to change. The OPERS Board of Trustees reviews the fees and will make adjustments 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 may be eligible for a retirement benefit, depending on your age and retirement group.
To learn more, see the Retirement Eligibility section.
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.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR INVESTMENT ACCOUNT:
Your account balance remains subject to daily gains and losses associated with the specific investment options you have chosen until your balance is liquidated. If you would like to make a change to your investment options(s) between now and the time your account balance is liquidated, please visit opers.org and log into your online account or call OPERS to manage your defined contribution account.
OPERS cannot guarantee the date when your investment account balance will be liquidated. While OPERS and the retirement system’s third-party administrator for the Combined Plan follow standard procedures to process retirement/refund distribution, unforeseen circumstances can occur that cause delays in processing.
Returning to an OPERS-covered position in the Combined Plan
Returning after leaving your account on deposit
If you don't take a refund – you will pick up right where you left off if you return to OPERS-covered service – and continue contributing to 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. The Combined Plan is no longer an option for new members to select as of January 1, 2022.
Depending on when you refunded from the Combined Plan and when you return to public service, you may be able to purchase that service.
To learn more your options, refer to the Service Credit and Contributing Months leaflet.
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.