Service credit in a defined benefit plan with Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and the School Employees Retirement System (SERS) can be combined with STRS Ohio service credit at the time you retire. The benefit is calculated and paid by the system in which the greatest amount of service credit is established.
Rules Governing Combined Service Retirement
- Although the accounts may be combined, you cannot earn more than one year of service credit per fiscal year in one, two or all three public retirement systems.
- When the accounts are combined, your final average salary (FAS) will be based on the average of the five highest years of total earnings from all systems. (For retirement dates July 1, 2015, and before, the FAS is the average of the three highest years of earnings.)
- If you have withdrawn service with STRS Ohio, OPERS or SERS, please contact STRS Ohio to learn how restoring this service will affect your benefit.
Rules Governing Independent Service Retirement
- If you are eligible for, and elect to take a monthly service retirement benefit from one of the other retirement systems, your STRS Ohio service credit will be reduced for any years during which you earned concurrent OPERS or SERS credit. The reduction in credit for concurrent years is based on the ratio of earnings in STRS Ohio to the total earnings in all retirement systems.
- If you do not combine the accounts, your final average salary will be based solely on your STRS Ohio earnings.
OPERS and/or SERS credit that was earned concurrently with STRS Ohio service usually does not increase the STRS Ohio benefit. In these cases you may want to consider withdrawing the account(s) from the other retirement system(s). If you are considering independent retirement, you should discuss your situation with an STRS Ohio benefits counselor.