The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System next week will introduce a new online member account that features a fresh design, better security features and an enhanced user experience.
The account update will greatly improve the online features that our members currently enjoy. For instance, you’ll be able to change your tax withholding information online, and you’ll have access to your complete employment history, with a full breakdown of your service credit by year and month.
We are no longer referring to the online account as “My Benefit System.” Rather, we will refer to “your online account” in external messages, and it will be called “My Account” on the screen.
In preparation for this change, OPERS will be shutting down the online system from midnight Friday until 7 a.m. Monday. At that time, the new account system will debut.
Members will be able to log into their accounts by clicking on the “Member Login” button at www.opers.org. Upon logging in, you will discover a new interface and many new features. If you are a frequent user or even if you are new to the OPERS online account, you’ll see a comprehensive suite of measures designed to protect your personal information.
While we will be discussing many of the new features during the coming weeks, here are the major changes that will be helpful for you to know about now:
Registration and login process: In order to better protect our members’ information, we are implementing new ways to register and log in to the online account. For example, we are transitioning from a six-digit PIN to a minimum eight-character, alphanumeric password. All passwords must be reset the first time you log in with your old, six-digit PIN. Follow the instructional prompts to reset your password, and write it down in a secure location.
To improve security, we are requiring members who haven’t logged in within the past year to reregister. There will be an easy-to-follow link on the online account log in page for members who need to register or reregister.
Most members who already are registered and have used the online accounts within the past year will be prompted to answer the challenge question you have created before proceeding. You’ll then be prompted to set up the new password and perform other updates before accessing your account.
We’ll also require that you create one challenge question that you’ll be asked should you ever need to log in from another device, or if you forget your password.
Required updates: There are several points of identification and access that we’re going to require in order to provide better security for the external account. Here are a few examples:
- New passwords: If your password has expired or if you are logging in with a temporary password, you will be asked to update it here.
- Locators: We’ll ask you to update your address information, phone number and provide your current email address.
- Mistake check: If you have incorrect or missing data on the account that is critical for us to collect, you will be allowed to log in. But upon login, you’ll be required to enter correct information before proceeding to the My Account home page.
OPERS ID: All members will be assigned a unique identification number that you may use in many cases instead of your Social Security number. We believe that reducing the use of Social Security numbers adds a valuable level of security.
The OPERS ID is an 11-digit number that you’ll see in the header of your new online account. Use of this number is optional – you may still use your Social Security number. But we are encouraging its use, and eventually we will be including a field on many forms for it.
This identifier is for active and inactive members only. Recipients who have received a benefit before Sept. 9 will not be assigned the OPERS ID at this time.
Milestones/Alerts: To make the online account more dynamic for our members, we’re introducing a “Milestones/Alerts” panel to the home page. It’s the first thing that you’ll see when you log in.
The panel displays in-progress activities or any item that requires action on your part. For instance, members who wish to receive communication from us through email will need to specify that preference, because all members’ preferences are initially being set to mail correspondence.
Easy access to requested documents: Several documents that you might request of us have been moved to the account home page. They are displayed based on your current lifecycle status and are available in one panel.
Letters reflecting important information, such as service credit, refund amount, account value or income verification history, may be generated in real time and are available for you to print at home.
OPERS believes that this account update will provide our members with much more online functionality. We’ll be telling you more about the new online account in the future. Meanwhile, give it a try and tell us what you think.