What is OPERS? Importance of your OPERS membership
OPERS provides retirement income and benefits to Ohio public employees.
- FAQ: As a public employee, do I have to contribute to OPERS?
- What does it mean to be an OPERS member?
- What does OPERS do with my contributions?
- How can I access my money?
What It Means to Be a Member
You do not pay into Social Security
As a member of OPERS you do not pay into Social Security. OPERS replaces Social Security for Ohio public employees.
Instead, you pay into OPERS
You contribute a percentage of your salary to OPERS, and your employer contributes an amount equal to a percentage of your salary. OPERS invests this money for your retirement.
OPERS provides you with retirement income*
Your member and employer contributions both go toward your future OPERS retirement income.
How much do I contribute to OPERS?
Your Member and Employer Contributions How the funds are invested for you
Pension benefits and health care payments are funded by three sources: your contributions, the employers' contributions and income from investments. Your member contributions can only go into the pension trust fund. Employer contributions can be split and used to fund both pensions and health care.
Retirement benefits are paid through our pension fund and health care payments are paid through our health care fund.
Contributions must go to the pension trust fund first. Once our pension obligations are met, contributions can be made to the health care fund.
Accessing Your Money
You can access the funds you've paid OPERS two ways:
Receiving an OPERS benefit when you retire
When you are ready to retire the money you have invested with OPERS will be available to you.
Your retirement payment options depend upon the retirement plan you choose. You can either annuitize your account and receive a lifetime payments, or you can take a lump sum and annuitize the remaining portion (if any).
Refunding your account
If you leave public employment but are not yet eligible to retire, you have the option to refund your contributions. You'll receive 100 percent of your member contributions (the 10 percent of your salary you contributed to OPERS).
You may also be eligible for an additional amount depending on your retirement plan and years of service.
Your refund can be sent to you directly (with taxes withheld). Your refund can also be rolled over into another retirement account (with no tax consequences).
You Have a Choice to Make Selecting your OPERS retirement plan
New members, you have 180 days (from your start date) to select one of three retirement plans:
It's important to choose the right plan. Each plan has unique features and benefits. The plan you choose will determine how your contributions are invested and how your potential retirement benefit will be calculated.
OPERS Retirement Groups
OPERS members are divided into three retirement groups: Groups A, B and C.
Your retirement group is based on:
- How close you are to retirement
- How long you've worked in public employment
Which group am I in?
You can log into your OPERS online account anytime to view your retirement group.
Don’t have an online account? Sign up today, it only takes a few quick steps to register.