Account Withdrawal

Upon termination of STRS Ohio-covered employment, you may elect to withdraw your total account value. 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.

If you withdraw your account prior to age 50, you must withdraw both the defined contribution and defined benefit portions of your account.

Account Withdrawal Restrictions

You cannot withdraw your STRS Ohio account if you are:

  • Under any form of teaching contract in an STRS Ohio-covered position, including substitute teaching;
  • Under any type of verbal or written agreement for future teaching with an STRS Ohio employer under the retirement law;
  • On a leave of absence;
  • Receiving a monthly service retirement or disability benefit 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 Withdrawals

If you are married, at least age 50 and are eligible to withdraw a balance of at least $5,000, you can withdraw your account only if your spouse consents to the withdrawal by signing 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
Survivor benefits Yes No
Access to health care coverage (defined benefit portion)* Yes No
Direct control over funds No Yes
Possible rollover to a qualified plan No Yes
Possible tax penalties No Yes
Optional death benefits Yes No
Possible investment costs No Yes
Individual investment risk No Yes
Subject to reemployment guidelines for Ohio public positions Yes No**

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.

**Assumes both the defined benefit and defined contribution portions of the account are withdrawn.

Withdrawal Amount

For the defined contribution portion of the account, the withdrawal amount consists of member contributions deposited to the account plus any gains or losses on those contributions.

The withdrawal amount may be affected by low balance fees or early withdrawal penalties.

For the defined benefit portion of the account, members with 5.00 or more years of service credit are eligible for the greater of: (1) the present value of the future benefits, or (2) the member's total contributions to the defined benefit portion of the account.

The defined benefit portion of the account consists of the member's total contributions to the defined benefit portion of the account if the member withdraws before accumulating 5.00 years of service credit.

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. Click on “Withdraw Your Account” under “Account Withdrawal.” If you do not have an Online Personal Account, click here to create one.

You can also access a paper copy of the Application for Withdrawal Payment on the website 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.

Return to Employment

If you withdraw both portions of your account after permanently electing the Combined Plan and later return to STRS Ohio-covered employment, you will reestablish your defined benefit and defined contribution accounts.

If you withdraw only the defined benefit or defined contribution portion of your account and later return to STRS Ohio-covered employment, your contributions will fund a new account based on your status as a reemployed retiree.

If you did not make a permanent election, you will be able to select the Defined Benefit Plan, Combined Plan or Defined Contribution Plan upon your return to employment.