Account Withdrawal

Upon termination of public employment in the STRS Ohio-covered position, you may elect to withdraw your account. Withdrawal of your account will cancel your STRS Ohio membership. If you are younger than age 50, a withdrawal of the entire account is the only payment option available.

If you have a defined benefit account with OPERS and/or SERS, you may withdraw your STRS Ohio defined contribution account without withdrawing from OPERS and/or SERS.

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 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
Direct control over funds No Yes
Possible rollover to a qualified plan No Yes
Control of estate to pass to heirs 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.

Withdrawal Amount

Account withdrawal amounts consist of member contributions plus any gains or losses on those contributions. Withdrawal amounts will also include the employer portion of the account (consisting of the employer contributions plus any gains or losses), according to the following vesting schedule:

  • If your membership began before July 1, 2013, you are 100% vested in the employer portion of the account after one year of membership.
  • If your membership began on or after July 1, 2013, you are vested in 20% of the employer portion of the account for each full year of membership.

Your withdrawal amount might be affected by fees and early withdrawal penalties.

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” under Useful Links. 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 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 your account after permanently electing the Defined Contribution Plan and later return to STRS Ohio-covered employment, you will reestablish your defined contribution account.

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.