You are guaranteed full recovery of all contributions you have made to OPERS. Upon leaving all public employment in Ohio, you may apply for and receive your accumulated savings.

As a member participating in the Traditional Pension Plan, you may receive your accumulated contributions, interest on those contributions and, if you have five or more years of qualified service credit in the Plan, an additional amount that is determined based on your years of service credit.

If you have at least five years of qualified service credit, the amount is 33 percent of your eligible contributions. If you have at least 10 years of qualified service credit, the amount is 67 percent of eligible contributions. Eligible contributions are the contributions you made to the Plan and any amounts paid to purchase certain types of service credit, plus applicable interest..

Before the refund is made, the law requires that two months must pass from the date, certified by your public employer, that you have terminated public employment. If you are also a member of STRS or SERS, an application for refund from the other system(s) must have been filed in order to receive the money from OPERS.

If you choose to take a refund, your service credit will be cancelled and the refund may be taxable if the contributions were made on a pre-tax basis.

You do not have to take a refund of your contributions if you terminate your 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, receive a retirement benefit, attain age 70½ or until your death. The following are benefits of leaving your account on deposit:

  1. With five years of service credit in the Traditional Pension Plan, you have earned a right to a retirement benefit payable, upon application, at age 60 or 62
  2. With 18 months of Ohio contributing service credit in the Traditional Pension Plan, and 3 months of that which occurred in the last 30 months, you have earned survivor benefit protection for qualified survivors.
  3. With at least 60 contributing months in the plan, if you become permanently disabled within two years of termination of plan participation, you may file for disability benefits. Disability coverage only extends to illnesses and injuries that occur before you terminate your contributing service, as well as illnesses and injuries that result from your contributing service, but do not become evident for up to two years after you terminate contributing service.
  4. You will continue to earn interest and applicable additional amount on funds left on deposit.
  5. There are no penalties or fees for leaving your funds on deposit in the Ohio PERS Traditional Pension Plan.