Traditional Pension Plan Refunding from the Traditional Pension 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 Traditional Pension Plan
If you refund your Traditional Pension Plan account you will receive 100 percent of the employee contributions you've made to OPERS, plus interest.
If you have at least five years of qualified service credit, you can also receive 33 percent of those eligible contributions as an additional amount.
If you have at least 10 years of qualified service credit, that additional amount increases to 67 percent.
You do not receive any of your employer's contributions when refunding your account.
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 Traditional Pension Plan
You are not obligated to refund your contributions when you terminate your OPERS-covered job. There are no penalties or fees for leaving your account on deposit with OPERS for members in the Traditional Pension Plan.
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 age 70½, 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 with be paid to your beneficiaries and/or dependents (see the Survivor Benefits leaflet for more detail)
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 have earned a reduced retirement benefit for each retirement group.
If you are in Group A and B, you may apply to receive a reduced retirement benefit at age 60.
If you are in Group C, you may apply to receive a reduced retirement benefit at age 62.
You may qualify for additional benefits.
If you have 18 months of contributing service credit in the Traditional Pension 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.
You can accrue interest on your account.
You will continue to earn interest on your employee contributions and any amounts paid to purchase service credit. The interest granted each year is the interest rate in effect at that time. The rate is set annually by the OPERS Board of Trustees.
Returning to an OPERS-covered Position in the Traditional Pension 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. You don't have to choose a new plan – you can stay in the same plan.
OPERS members who receive a refund from the Traditional Pension Plan may redeposit the amount withdrawn to the same plan from which the member refunded after returning to OPERS-covered employment and contributing to the Traditional Pension Plan for at least 18 months. The redeposit automatically restores the service credit that was lost as a result of the refund. The cost to redeposit funds will include the amount refunded, plus interest.
To learn more about the cost of redepositing funds, refer to the Service Credit and Contributing Months leaflet.
Returning after leaving your account on deposit
If you don't take a refund you can pick up right where you left off when you return to OPERS-covered service.
This page contains specific information concerning refunding from the Traditional Pension Plan. To learn more about refunding your OPERS account, visit the Refunds page.