National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Ohio

Major public retirement systems in Ohio include the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), Ohio School Employees Retirement System, Ohio State Teachers Retirement System, and the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund.

The OPERS administers pension and other benefits to nearly all public employees except teachers and public safety personnel. Effective January 1, 2003, OPERS members have a choice to join either the traditional defined benefit plan, the defined contribution plan, or a combined "hybrid" plan. Defined contribution and Combined participants are automatically transferred into the defined benefit plan upon the fifth anniversary of their employment unless they elect to remain in their original plan.

The Ohio School Employees Retirement System administers pension, health care, disability, and survivors benefits for non-certified employees of the state's school districts.

The Ohio State Teachers Retirement System administers pension and other benefits to certified teachers and other faculty members employed in public schools and agencies of the state and political subdivisions. Effective July 1, 2001, new members have the choice of joining the traditional defined benefit plan, a new defined contribution plan, or a combined "hybrid" plan. Existing members with less than five years of service as of June 30, 2001, were given an opportunity to make an irrevocable election to switch to the defined contribution or combined plan. DC or Combined members are automatically transferred into the defined benefit plan unless they elect to remain in their original plan.

The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund administers pension and other benefits to all police officers and firefighters in Ohio municipalities and other political subdivisions.

Authorizing Statutes

State Employees

Chapter 145 of the Ohio Revised Code establishes the Public Employees Retirement System.

Section 145.04 creates the PERS Public Employees Retirement Board. According to the language the Board shall consist of the following members:

  • One member, known as the treasurer of state’s investment designee, who shall be appointed by the treasurer of state for a term of four years;

  • The director of administrative services;

  • Five members, known as employee members, one of whom shall be a state employee member of the system, another of whom shall be a county employee member of the system, another of whom shall be a municipal employee member of the system, another of whom shall be a university or college employee member of the system, and another of whom shall be a park district, conservancy district, sanitary district, health district, public library, metropolitan housing authority, union cemetery, joint hospital, township, or institutional commissary employee member of the system;

  • Two members, known as the retirant members, who shall be former members of the public employees retirement system who reside in this state and receive age and service retirement, a disability benefit, or benefits paid under a PERS defined contribution plan;

  • Two members, known as the investment expert members, who shall be appointed for four-year terms.

Section 145.01 deals with plan administration:

The public employees retirement system shall administer the PERS defined benefit plan and the PERS defined contribution plan.

Section 742.02 creates the Police & Fire Pension Fund.

There is hereby created an Ohio police and fire pension fund for the purpose of providing disability benefits and pensions to members of the fund and their surviving spouses, children, and dependent parents.

Educational Employees

Section 3307.03 creates the State Teachers Retirement System

A state teachers retirement system is hereby established for the teachers of the public schools of the state which includes the several funds created and placed under the management of a state teachers retirement board for the payment of retirement allowances and other benefits under Chapter 3307. of the Revised Code. The board may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, contract and be contracted with, and do all things necessary to carry out such sections. All of its business shall be transacted, and all of its funds invested, all warrants for money drawn and payments made, and all of its cash, securities, and other property shall be held in the name of the board or in the name of its nominee, provided that nominees are authorized by retirement board resolution for the purpose of facilitating the ownership and transfer of investments and are restricted to members of the board, the executive director, and designated members of the staff, or a partnership or corporation composed of any of the foregoing persons. If the Ohio retirement study council establishes a uniform format for any report the board is required to submit to the council, the board shall submit the report in that format.

Section 3307.81 establishes a defined contribution plan for the TRS.

The state teachers retirement board shall establish one or more plans consisting of benefit options that provide for an individual account for each participating member and under which benefits are based solely on the amounts that have accumulated in the account. The plans may include options under which a member participating in a plan may receive definitely determinable benefits.

Section 3309.03 of the Ohio Code establishes the School Employees Retirement System and describes the duties of the Board.

A school employees retirement system is hereby established for the employees as defined in section 3309.01 of the Revised Code, which shall include the several funds created and placed under the management of the school employees retirement board for the payment of retirement allowances and other benefits provided in Chapter 3309. of the Revised Code. The board may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, contract and be contracted with, and do all things necessary to carry out Chapter 3309. of the Revised Code. All of its business shall be transacted, all of its funds invested, all warrants for money drawn and payments made, and all of its cash, securities, and other property shall be held in the name of the board, or in the name of its nominee, provided that nominees are authorized by retirement board resolution for such purposes. The board may take all appropriate action to avoid payment by the system or its members of federal or state income taxes on contributions to the system or amounts earned on those contributions. If the Ohio retirement study council establishes a uniform format for any report the board is required to submit to the council, the board shall submit the report in that format.

Board Composition

Plan

Board Size

Appointed

Elected

Plan Members

Ex Officio

Ohio School Employees Retirement System

9

3

6

6

0

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

11

3

7

7

1

Ohio State Teachers Retirement System

11

3

7

7

1

Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund

9

3

6

6

0

Contributions

Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2014, employer contributions to Ohio state and local government pension plans were 3.94 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.

Constitutional Protections

No explicit constitutional protection for public pension benefits. Courts will look to pension statutes to evaluate contract claims. Herrick v. Lindley, 391 N.E.2d 729 (Ohio 1979) (public employees retirement system retirees have a statutorily created vested right to receive a retirement allowance at the rate fixed by law when such benefit was conferred); State ex rei. Horvath v. State Teachers Retirement Bd., 697 N.E.2d 644 (Ohio 1998)(public school teachers do not possess contract rights in any retirement benefit unless and until benefit vests by operation of applicable statute). (OH CONST., Article II, §28) Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits

Flag of Ohio (July 10, 1902)

Population (2016) 11,614,373

Ohio public pension statistics, per U.S. Census Bureau as of FY 2016 ($ in 000s)

Assets

$175,253,319

Active Members

661,497

Annuitants

462,616

Benefits Paid

$14,957,559

Employee Contributions

$3,272,508

Employer Contributions

$4,312,066

Systems

8

More Data

Other Resources