How do I calculate my retirement benefit?
- To calculate: Plan formula x age factor x service credit
x final (monthly) average salary = gross monthly benefit
OCERS has an online benefit calculator on the public website as
well as in the myOCERS online member self service portal. The
myOCERS member portal uses the member’s actual account
information to provide accurate estimates that can be run
When a member submits a retirement application, OCERS provides a
comprehensive benefit estimate reflecting the monthly benefit
with the retirement date the member elected.
How do I start the retirement process?
Most members start with a phone call to the retirement specialist
that handles their agency. The OCERS website has a list of
agencies and the associated retirement specialist assigned to
assist them in the retirement process. Comprehensive retirement
counseling is conducted over the phone and continues with an
appointment where we provide final average salary (FAS)
information. Members are encouraged to submit their retirement
application online. During the retirement appointment, members
provide original birth and marriage certificates. The retirement
application, tax withholding and direct deposit forms are
reviewed. The benefit options are explained thoroughly to ensure
a complete understanding. (Medical insurance is not
handled through our office so they will need to be directed to
the appropriate office.)
How does my OCERS benefit affect my Social Security benefit?
As government employees, OCERS members are in a unique situation
with respect to Social Security Benefits. Your OCERS retirement
benefit may affect your Social Security benefit due to two
federal laws: the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall
Government Pension Offset
Government Pension Offset is a law that affects Social Security
benefits paid to a spouse or widow/widower of an OCERS member.
The law applies only if you receive a government pension (such as
from OCERS) and are eligible for Social Security benefits as a
spouse or widow(er).
For detailed information and to see the Social Security
Administration’s fact sheet on “Government Pension
Windfall Elimination Provision
Windfall Elimination Provision is a law that affects those who
work for an employer who doesn’t withhold Social Security taxes,
such as for a government agency or an employer in another
country. If you are an OCERS member and are entitled to a Social
Security benefit based on your own work and earnings, the
Windfall Elimination Provision may reduce your Social Security
benefits. This law determines how your Social Security retirement
or disability benefits are computed if you receive a pension from
work not covered by Social Security.
For detailed information and to see the Social Security
Administration’s fact sheet on “Windfall Elimination
How much money will I receive when I retire?
Your retirement allowance will be based upon four factors: plan
type, retirement age, years of service credit, and final
compensation. Final Compensation is an average of your highest
monthly compensation during any one or three years, depending on
You can calculate your retirement benefit by using the Benefits Calculator on our website or
log onto your myOCERS
account and calculate your benefit based on your actual plan,
service and salary data.
NOTE: If you plan to retire within the next six months, contact
OCERS to request an official Benefit Estimate.
I am approaching retirement age. When should I contact OCERS to
begin the process?
We suggest you attend the Pre-Retirement Sessions at least three
years prior to your retirement and also submit your birth and
marriage certificates at our office.
When you are nearing retirement, make sure you have already
enrolled in the myOCERS Portal via OCERS’ Web site. You will then
have the ability to access the “Online Retirement Application”
area of the myOCERS Portal. You will be able to complete the
Application for Service Retirement, Retirees Authorization for
Electronic Deposit of Retirement Checks and Tax Withholding
Election form paperwork. Once received, an OCERS retirement
specialist will contact you to set up a one-on-one meeting if
For more detailed information, click here to view the
What are the retirement payment options?
The OCERS Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) list all the options
our members have when they retire; we direct them to our website
to review each one carefully. During retirement counseling, this
is a routine item staff discusses since the payment election is
irrevocable after receipt of their first benefit payment.
OCERS has 5 payment options:
- The unmodified option provides them with a maximum retirement
allowance available and provides for a continuation of 60% of the
allowance to an eligible spouse, qualified domestic partner or
eligible child upon the members death.
- Option 1 pays a reduced monthly allowance until the member’s
death and at that time the designated beneficiary receives a
refund of any remaining member contributions and interest.
- Option 2 pays an actuarially reduced monthly allowance to the
member until death, and their designated beneficiary receives the
same monthly allowance (100%) for the remainder of their lifetime
– members cannot change the
- designated beneficiary.
- Option 3 pays an actuarially reduced monthly allowance until
- death and then the designated beneficiary receives half, or
50% of the member’s allowance for the remainder of their lifetime
– members cannot change the designated beneficiary.
- Option 4 allows for multiple designated beneficiaries and may
select other survivor payment percentages if approved by the
Retirement Board. OCERS’ actuary calculates each Option 4 benefit
– designated beneficiaries cannot be changed once the member
receives their first benefit payment.
Will my monthly retirement allowance run out when I’ve received
the total amount I contributed to my OCERS retirement plan?
No, your OCERS plan is a defined benefit plan. “Defined Benefit”
means that your benefit is a guaranteed monthly allowance paid
for the rest of your life. Your benefit is based on your final
average salary, retirement age, and years of service, not your
How long do I have to be married before my spouse becomes
eligible for survivor benefits?
Under the Unmodified Payment Option, your spouse or registered
domestic partner will be eligible for survivor benefits if you
have been married/registered at least one year prior to your date
If you are married/registered less than 1 year prior to your date
of retirement or are married/registered anytime after retirement,
your spouse or registered domestic partner must be
married/registered at least 2 years prior to your death and be at
least 55 years old.
If you are choosing/have chosen a payment option other than
Unmodified, you may contact our office for additional