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Welcome to School Employees Retirement System of Ohio

Now that you’re a SERS member, we encourage you to take an active role in planning for your retirement. It is never too early to begin planning.

One thing you’ll notice on your pay stub is that you pay a Medicare tax but do not pay Social Security taxes. As a public employee in the state of Ohio, you do not pay into Social Security and do not earn qualified service toward Social Security. In place of Social Security, you contribute 10% of your pay to SERS in return for a lifetime pension, which is earned after meeting certain age and service requirements.

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All non-teaching employees of Ohio’s public schools, including vocational, technical, and community schools, community colleges, and the University of Akron, are required to be members unless the position permits exemption from membership.
 

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SERS is a defined benefit plan, which guarantees you a lifetime pension in a specified amount based upon your age, final average salary, and years of service.

A 401(k) plan is a defined contribution plan, which means future benefit amounts are not guaranteed or specified. Because benefit amounts are based on contributions made to the employee’s account, plus or minus investment gains or losses, they can vary and shift.

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Retiring with SERS means that you really don’t need to worry about how much money is in your SERS account, managing stocks, or watching the market. You only need to meet the necessary age and service requirements to receive your pension. In fact, your career contributions will most likely pay for only your first 2.5 to 4.5 years in retirement. That is when our investments kick in. Your pension is then paid out of a general retirement fund made up of employer contributions and our investment returns. Because investment returns on contributions are vital for funding pensions, members are not allowed to borrow from their accumulated SERS contributions. Members also are not allowed to contribute extra money to their SERS accounts.
 

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SERS offers two types of service retirement: unreduced service retirement and reduced service retirement.

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  1. For unreduced service retirement, you will earn the maximum pension amount based on your service credit (how long you’ve worked in an Ohio public service job) and final average salary (the average of the three highest years of salary).
     
  2. Reduced service retirement is based upon the same factors for an unreduced service retirement, but since it allows a person to retire earlier, it will be reduced to cover the cost of providing a pension over a longer period of time.

Service Retirement Eligibility

Members who do not have 25 years of service credit as of Aug. 1, 2017, and who retire on or after Aug. 1, 2017, are subject to the pension reform law that went into effect in Jan. 7, 2013. The means a member must meet the following requirements to retire:
 

Unreduced Service Retirement Age 67 with 10 years, or
Age 57 with 30 years
Reduced Service Retirement Age 62 with 10 years, or
Age 60 with 25 years

Curious on how your pension will be calculated? More information is available on the When to Retire page of our website.

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If you don’t work in your SERS-covered job long enough to meet the age and service requirements necessary to receive a pension, the money in your SERS account can be refunded. However, keeping your SERS account might be a smart choice if you think you may return to a public service job in the future.

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SERS service time can be combined with other public service time into one retirement benefit. You also can purchase service time if you previously worked in another public service job. If this is a possibility, do it now. The longer you wait, the more it will cost. 

If you worked in another public service job, review how this time can be combined with SERS’s time on the Earned Service Credit page.

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Like Social Security, a SERS pension alone may not provide all of the income you’ll need to live comfortably during retirement. While having a guaranteed lifetime SERS pension provides a solid foundation for retirement security, having other sources of retirement income is usually necessary for most people to pay for basic needs, such as food, gas, and medical costs. No matter if you are 18 or 48, the sooner you begin your retirement planning, the more financially secure you’ll be when your working career ends.

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Many people put off retirement planning because it seems too complicated and takes too much time, but it is important to plan. While there are many different companies that offer supplemental retirement plans, Ohio Deferred Compensation is a good place to start. The program is designed specifically for public employees, and offers a variety of plan choices and competitive fees.

 

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There are two Social Security provisions that may affect you: the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision.

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These provisions may reduce, and in some cases totally eliminate, your monthly Social Security payment. Your SERS pension is not affected by Social Security, or any other pensions or annuities.

More information about these provisions is available on the Social Security and SERS page of our website.
 

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Designate Your Beneficiary

SERS provides qualifying survivors with certain benefits if you pass away. Be sure to complete a beneficiary designation form and return it to our office.

Want a Comprehensive Handbook about Your SERS Membership?
Account Login

Don't have an online account with SERS? Click the Member Account Login button to register today. It's a secure and convenient way to view your account and stay connected with SERS.

ATTENTION:  Because of its increased functionality and capabilities, the system's security features have been upgraded

Even if you previously registered for an online account, you will need to create a new account to access your SERS account information.