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.

Before the refund is made, the law requires that three 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. Many times, it is better to leave the account on deposit. The following are reasons for maintaining the account:

  1. With five years of service credit a member earns the right to a retirement benefit payable, upon application, at age 60.
  2. With one and one-half years of full service credit, a member has earned survivor benefit protection for qualified beneficiaries for up to 27 months following service termination.
  3. With five years of service credit, if the member becomes permanently disabled within two years of termination of employment, he or she may file for disability benefits.