Upon termination of public employment in Ohio, you may elect to withdraw your account. It is important to understand that withdrawing your STRS Ohio account is not a type of service retirement. Withdrawal of your account will cancel your STRS Ohio membership, your accumulated service credit and your eligibility to qualify for STRS Ohio retirement benefits, including access to health care coverage, if eligible.
Account Withdrawal Restrictions
You cannot withdraw your STRS Ohio account if you are:
- Under any form of teaching contract including substitute teaching with an STRS Ohio contributing employer;
- Under any type of verbal or written agreement for future teaching with an STRS Ohio public employer under the retirement law;
- On a leave of absence;
- In the STRS Ohio Defined Benefit Plan and terminated your employment in an STRS Ohio-covered position but are now working with the same employer in an OPERS or SERS position;
- Receiving service retirement or disability benefits from STRS Ohio; or
- Currently contributing to a college or university alternative retirement plan. Only a transfer of STRS Ohio funds to the alternative retirement plan is permitted.
Spousal Consent on Account Withdrawal
If you are married and meet the age and service requirements for retirement, you can withdraw your account only if your spouse consents to the withdrawal by signing the spousal affidavit on the withdrawal application before a notary public. If your spouse does not consent, your application for withdrawal shall be considered an application for service retirement paid as a Joint and Survivor Annuity with one-half to beneficiary.
Monthly Payments vs. Account Withdrawal
|Plan Feature||Monthly Payments||Account Withdrawal|
|Lifetime monthly benefit||Yes||No|
|Access to health care coverage*||Yes||No|
|Direct control over funds||No||Yes|
|Possible rollover to a qualified plan||No||Yes|
|Possible tax penalties||No||Yes|
|Possible investment costs||No||Yes|
|Individual investment risk||No||Yes|
|Subject to reemployment guidelines for Ohio public positions||Yes||No|
|Receive at least the member contributions you have made to STRS Ohio||Yes***||Yes****|
Note: Any payments you receive from STRS Ohio may affect your eligibility for Social Security benefits. For more information, contact Social Security toll-free at 800‑772‑1213.
*Members who retire on or after Jan. 1, 2004, and before Aug. 1, 2023, must have at least 15 years of service credit to have access to the STRS Ohio Health Care Program (medical, dental and vision plans). Members who retire on or after Aug. 1, 2023, must have at least 20 years of service credit to have access to the STRS Ohio Health Care Program.
**Ohio law gives the State Teachers Retirement Board the authority to grant a COLA to benefit recipients. New benefit recipients are eligible to receive a COLA beginning on the fifth anniversary of their retirement date. All cost-of-living increases granted on or after July 1, 2017, are currently set at 0%. No later than the next actuarial experience review, anticipated to be completed in 2022, the Retirement Board will evaluate whether an upward adjustment to the cost-of-living increase is payable without materially impairing the fiscal integrity of the retirement system.
***You will receive a lifetime monthly benefit and your beneficiary will receive benefits as determined by the plan of payment you select at retirement. Regardless of the plan selected, you will receive at least the individual contributions you have made to STRS Ohio.
****See below for amounts and interest included in the account withdrawal.
The withdrawal amount consists of your contributions plus an additional amount payable under section 3307.563 of the Revised Code. The additional amount payable is based on years of qualifying service credit* and the rates of interest established by the Retirement Board. Interest rates noted below are subject to change without notice. To confirm current interest rates, contact us toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.
- With 5.00 or more years of qualifying service credit, interest at a current rate of 3% compounded annually will be paid on your member contributions and an additional amount equal to 50% of the sum of your member contributions, plus interest, will also be paid.
- With at least 3.00 years but less than 5.00 years of qualifying service credit, interest at a current rate of 3% compounded annually will be paid on your member contributions.
- With less than 3.00 years of qualifying service credit, interest at a current rate of 2% compounded annually will be paid on your member contributions.
Interest for all years withdrawn begins to accrue in the fiscal year following deposit. For example, interest on 2019–2020 contributions would begin accruing July 2020 and be payable August 2020 or later. No interest is payable if a member withdraws his or her account in July and contributed to STRS Ohio for only the year just ended. Interest stops accruing the month before account withdrawal.
*When referring to withdrawals, "qualifying service credit" refers to Ohio teaching service, restored withdrawn credit, purchased service for Ohio public teaching from which no STRS Ohio contributions were withheld, and credit obtained for leaves of absence under Section 3307.77 of the Revised Code.
Important Tax Considerations
If you choose to withdraw your STRS Ohio account, there are important tax implications.
If you choose to have your withdrawal paid directly to you:
- Your payment will be taxed in the year in which it is issued.
- STRS Ohio will withhold federal tax at a rate of 20%.
- If you receive the payment before age 59-1/2, you may have to pay a 10% tax penalty for an early withdrawal.
You may roll over your withdrawal amount to an eligible retirement account that will accept your rollover and:
- Your payment will not be taxed in the current year and no taxes will be withheld.
- The funds rolled over will be taxed when removed from the account to which they were deposited.
Beginning in the year you reach age 70-1/2 or terminate employment, whichever is later, a certain portion of your payment cannot be rolled over because it is a “required minimum distribution” that must be paid to you. STRS Ohio can tell you if your payment includes amounts that cannot be rolled over.
There are other tax implications if you withdraw your STRS Ohio account. Review our Account Withdrawal brochure and consult a professional tax advisor for more information. STRS Ohio cannot provide tax advice.
Account Withdrawal Procedures
You can complete and submit your Application for Withdrawal Payment online through your Online Personal Account. Log in and click on “Member Information” at the top of the page. Then select “Apply for Account Withdrawal”, and follow the instructions for completing the application. If you do not have an Online Personal Account, click here to register for one.
You can also access a paper copy of the Application for Withdrawal Payment in the account withdrawal packet, or by calling STRS Ohio at 888‑227‑7877 (toll-free). Due to the fact the application is dated, please do not request the application more than 30 days before your last day of teaching service.
Your withdrawal payment will be made within 30 days of STRS Ohio's receipt of a properly completed application or your last payroll date, whichever is later. If you have questions about completing the application, please call STRS Ohio.