Combined Plan

How Does It Work?

The STRS Ohio Combined Plan includes features of the Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution plans, so you have benefits while teaching and two elements to your retirement benefit.

  • From your current contribution of 14% of annual salary, 12% goes into a defined contribution account where you manage the investment allocation and risk.
  • The remaining 2% of your contribution along with employer contributions fund a defined benefit portion of the plan — managed by STRS Ohio — to pay for service retirement, disability or survivor benefits and access to retiree health care coverage.*
  • Contribution rates and eligibility for health care are established by the State Teachers Retirement Board and are subject to change.
  • If you have credit in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System or the School Employees Retirement System, accounts cannot be combined for future benefits. Please call STRS Ohio toll-free at 888‑227‑7877 for more information.

What are my investment choices?

A portion of your retirement income will be created through the performance of investment choices you select for your contributions. Learn more about these investment choices in the Investment Options Guide.

*Coverage under the STRS Ohio Health Care Program is not guaranteed. STRS Ohio may change or discontinue all or part of the program for all or a class of eligible benefit recipients and covered dependents at any time.

Benefits While Teaching

STRS Ohio’s Combined Plan provides benefits and services during your teaching career. These include:

Portability

You can withdraw the assets of your Combined Plan or roll them into an individual retirement account (IRA), an eligible employer plan or another qualified plan if you leave STRS Ohio-covered employment before you reach retirement eligibility. Your withdrawal amount in your defined contribution account includes all contributions deposited to the account plus any investment gains or losses. The defined benefit withdrawal is the greater of employee contributions deposited to the account or the present value of your future benefits. At age 50 or later, you may withdraw or annuitize the defined contribution portion and leave the defined benefit portion to fund a service retirement benefit at age 60 with at least five years of service credit.

Survivor Benefits

Upon earning five years of service credit, qualified survivors are eligible to receive annual benefits that range from 25% to 60% of your final average salary if you should die before retirement. Survivors receiving this benefit have access to health care coverage (medical/prescription, dental and vision)* through STRS Ohio. All contributions and earnings in your defined contribution account and the defined benefit portion of the plan will be used to fund this benefit; therefore, your survivors will not have a defined contribution account to manage. Survivors will also have the option of withdrawing your entire account in lieu of receiving a benefit.

Disability Benefits

With 10 years of service credit, you may apply for monthly disability benefits if you become disabled while employed or within one year following your last date of STRS Ohio-covered service. Annual benefits range from 45% to 60% of your final average salary. Access to health care coverage (medical/prescription, dental and vision)* is also available through STRS Ohio. If you become disabled, all contributions and earnings in your defined contribution account and the defined benefit portion of the plan are used to fund this benefit; therefore, you will no longer have a defined contribution account to manage. At age 65, the disability benefit converts to a service retirement benefit that provides 2.2% of your final average salary for each year of service. In lieu of disability benefits, you may withdraw your account.

Service Credit Purchase

You may be eligible to purchase credit for teaching interrupted by military service and leaves of absence.

*Coverage under the STRS Ohio Health Care Program is not guaranteed. STRS Ohio may change or discontinue all or part of the program for all or a class of eligible benefit recipients and covered dependents at any time.

Benefits While Retired

Retirement Income

Benefits consist of two parts:

  • An annuity from the defined benefit portion equal to 1% of your final average salary for each year of service credit.

Your retirement income is based on a formula:

Years of service x 1.0%
X
Final average salary
=
Annual Benefit
35 x 1.0 = 35%
X
$80,000
=
$28,000 annually
  • An annuity from the defined contribution portion based on the value of the account and market annuity rates at the time of retirement.

Example of how the defined contribution portion is funded:

Starting salary
$32,000
Member contribution allocated to DC (12% of $32,000)
  $3,840
Funds placed in individual account during first year
  $3,840
  • You are eligible for the defined benefit portion at age 60 with at least five years of service; eligibility for the defined contribution portion is at age 50.

Access to Health Care Coverage*

You and your eligible dependents will have access to health care coverage (medical/prescription, dental and vision) through STRS Ohio. Beginning Aug. 1, 2023, new retirees will need 20 years of total service for eligibility.

*Coverage under the STRS Ohio Health Care Program is not guaranteed. STRS Ohio may change or discontinue all or part of the program for all or a class of eligible benefit recipients and covered dependents at any time.

Graphic of an exclamation point in a circle.

What This Means for You

With the Combined Plan, if you retire with 35 years of service under the current formula, you will receive 35% of your final average salary as an annual retirement benefit starting at age 60. You can also select from several payout options for the defined contribution portion of your account.

Summary

  • With the STRS Ohio Combined Plan, you get the security of the Defined Benefit Plan for a portion of your account with the flexibility, portability and choice of the Defined Contribution Plan from the other portion of your account.
  • You receive a predictable monthly benefit payment in retirement equal to 1% of final average salary for each year of service from your defined benefit account, and
  • You have control of the investments in your defined contribution account.
  • If you choose the Combined Plan now, your decision is not permanent. You will have an opportunity to evaluate your decision before completing your fifth year of membership.
  • You can compare this plan with your other STRS Ohio retirement plan options in the Retirement Plan Comparison Chart.