Refunding Your OPERS Account

As a member of OPERS you have options if you decide to leave public employment: you can refund your contributions or leave your account on deposit with OPERS. Both options will impact your status with OPERS.

What is a refund?

After leaving OPERS employment, you can refund your contributions and receive 100% of your member contributions (the 10 percent of your salary you contributed).

You may also be eligible for an additional amount depending on your retirement plan and years of service.

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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Refunding

To decide if refunding your account is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

Changing jobs?

OPERS covers a large network of more than 3,700 employers across Ohio. That means you have many opportunities to become (or remain) an OPERS member if you plan to change jobs or move.

It's easy to search for OPERS employers near you.

Refunding Basics

If you're thinking about refunding your account, keep the following things in mind:

How soon can I request a refund?

You can apply for a refund as soon as you leave your OPERS-covered position. However, two months must pass from the date you terminated public employment before your refund will be issued.

If you return to public employment before your refund is issued, you are no longer eligible to receive it.

Refund eligibility may be impacted if you are a member of another Ohio retirement system. If you are a member of State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS), School Employees Retirement System (SERS), Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund (OP&F), State Highway Patrol Retirement System (SHP) or Cincinnati Retirement System (CRS), you are not eligible to receive your OPERS refund if you are currently employed under the same public employer who was your last public employer under OPERS.

Spousal consent

If you are eligible to retire and are legally married, spousal consent is required. OPERS will provide you with a spousal consent form.

Do I get all my money back when I refund?

Yes, if you refund your account you will receive 100 percent of your member contributions.

You may also be eligible for an additional amount depending on your retirement plan and years of service.

Can I leave my money with OPERS?

Yes. You are not obligated to refund your account when you terminate your OPERS-covered job.

There are unique considerations for each plan when deciding whether or not to leave your account on deposit:

What if I return to an OPERS-covered position?

If you refund your OPERS account and decide to return to OPERS-covered employment, you may be eligible to make a new retirement plan selection. Beginning January 1, 2022, the Combined Plan will no longer be a plan selection option.

Please refer to the Service Credit and Contributing Months leaflet for more detailed information concerning refunded contributions.

If you kept your account on deposit with OPERS – you can pick up where you left off and continue contributing to the same plan.

How to Apply for a Refund

You can apply for a refund through your online account.

You have two options: roll over all or a portion of your account to an eligible retirement plan or have your refund deposited directly into your bank account.

Members who have participated in an Alternative Retirement Plan cannot apply for a refund online. They must contact OPERS to receive the appropriate refund form.

Refunds and Taxes

Your account may be subject to federal and/or state taxes unless you roll over your account to another qualified retirement plan.

When you apply for a refund online, you’ll also have access to a Special Tax Notice Regarding OPERS Payments.

If you have any questions, please contact OPERS or consult your financial advisor.

More Information

This page contains general information for members looking to refund their OPERS accounts. For more information, visit the specific Refunding Your Account pages for each plan.