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Retirement with SERS is a matter of eligibility. You must meet one of the age and service credit combinations that entitles you to apply for a monthly, lifetime pension.

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Several factors determine eligibility for retirement: your date of retirement, your age, and your amount of service credit. Eligibility for retirement through SERS is not the same as eligibility for Social Security. Call Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213 for additional information.

SERS offers two types of service retirement: full service retirement and early service retirement. For full 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). Early retirement benefits will be reduced to cover the cost of providing a pension over a longer period of time.  

SERVICE RETIREMENT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

 

Current Eligibility

Eligibility Changes

 

Applies to:

  • Members Who Retire Before Aug. 1, 2017
  • Members with 25 Years or More of Service On or Before Aug. 1, 2017 (Grandfathered)

Applies to:

  • Members with Less than 25 Years of Service on Aug. 1, 2017

Retire with Full Benefits

Age 65 with 5 years, or
Any age with 30 years

Age 67 with 10 years, or
Age 57 with 30 years

Retire Early with Reduced Benefits

Age 60 with 5 years, or
Age 55 with 25 years

Age 62 with 10 years, or
Age 60 with 25 years

Members who will have fewer than 25 years of service credit as of Aug. 1, 2017, have the opportunity to retire under previous retirement eligibility requirements if they pay the actuarial difference between the benefit they would have received under the new requirements and the benefit they may receive under the previous requirements. To take advantage of this buy-up option, members must complete their payment in one lump sum on or before Aug. 1, 2017. Members can estimate their buy-up costs by using the calculator on the Member Account Login; however, the actual cost must be determined by SERS’ actuary upon request. Members must submit a written request to SERS for the actual cost calculation.

Retroactive Retirement

In some instances, school employees will leave employment before reaching eligibility age, and not file for service retirement until reaching age 62 or 65, thinking they should apply at the same time they file for Social Security benefits. Please refer to the above table to determine your first eligible date.

The first payment will include all payments due from the time you first became eligible to retire. However, health care coverage cannot be retroactive. Therefore, it is best to apply for your retirement when you are first eligible. When filing for a retroactive retirement, we suggest you contact Social Security to determine any possible adjustments.

If You Have Multiple Jobs

If you have more than one job with a SERS employer, you may retire from the highest paying position and continue working in the lower-paying job(s). For example, if you are a custodian and a bus driver, and have two distinct salaries, those salaries will both be used in the calculation of your pension, and you can keep working in the lowest-paying job after you retire. You must have distinct salaries or individual contracts, or work for more than one SERS employer to do this.

If you work under Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) or State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) in addition to SERS, you might be able to retire from the highest paying position and continue in the lower-paying job. If you continue in the lower-paying position after you retire, you will be a reemployed retiree. Your original pension will not be affected by continuing to work in this lower-paying position. See Reemployment for more details.

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Once you have determined whether or not you are eligible to retire, you will probably want to know what your pension will be and how it is figured.

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Your pension is based on age, service credit, and salary.

The age used in a pension calculation is your actual age at the time you retire. If you plan to retire July 1, but your birthday is July 15, it may be to your advantage to postpone your retirement date until August 1.

However, one month’s delay will mean one pension check lost. It may not be worth it. Only a comparison of the “before” and “after” estimates will supply the answer.

All of your service credit is used in calculating your pension. All service credit must be purchased before your retirement date. Our Member Services staff can show you the pension amount before and after purchase of credit. In some cases, you can recover the cost of a purchase in two or three years by receiving a higher pension amount.

For more information on purchasing credit, see the Service Credit page.

If you want SERS to send you an estimate of your benefit, you must choose an actual retirement date, such as July 1, 2013. Even though this date may only be tentative, a date is necessary for calculating the correct age, service credit, and final average salary (highest three years of salary).

SERS will review your file, and an estimate will be sent to you. In some cases, additional estimates will be included to help you determine your best options. The amounts given are meant only to provide you with an estimate of your pension and probably will differ slightly from the actual pension you receive at retirement. If you would like an estimate, use our online Estimate Request form.

Helpful Hints to Consider:

  • If you are a 12-month employee and receive credit for 120 days, you could retire January 1.
  • If you are a nine-month employee and receive credit for 120 days, you could retire March 1.
  • If you are a nine-month employee and receive “stretch pay” throughout the summer, you could retire July 1, rather than September 1.
  • If you are under age 67 and have less than 30 years of service, retiring after your next birthday may increase your pension.
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Estimating what your pension will be before you retire helps you make an informed decision about when to retire. At SERS, we have two ways in which you can estimate your pension.

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Website

You can create an online account and estimate your pension. Go Member Account Login , an, and after you create your account, follow the “Benefit Calculator” instructions.

Using the Pension Table

Another way you can calculate your own pension estimate is to use the Pension Tables on this page. These tables give a percentage figure to apply to your final average salary to find the pension amount on an annual basis.

For example, if you are 58 years old and have total service credit of 27 years, your annual gross pension would equal 50.4% of your final average salary. Divide that figure by 12 to get your monthly pension amount.

Covered earnings that average less than $3,909 per year will be credited with a flat $86.00 per year of service credit.

 

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