Election services by retirees OK under certain circumstances
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Oct. 24, 2017 — As this year’s election season approaches, it’s a good time to review whether OPERS retirees can work at the polls, and what impact that might have on their retirement benefits and access to health care.
Individuals employed as election workers and paid less than $600 per calendar year for that service are not considered public employees.
However, you should know what it means to be an “election worker” for purposes of participation in OPERS.
An election worker is “an individual who performs services as a precinct election official or voting location manager for the board of elections for a day the election polls are open and training or preparation for such service.”
If the combined amounts you are paid to work the polls on a given election day and the money you earn while training add up to $600 or more, you are considered a public employee from that point forward during the calendar year.
If an OPERS retiree works as an election worker and makes more than $600, the retiree may experience a change in eligibility for OPERS-sponsored health care coverage.
Regarding health care, OPERS has specific rules for re-employed retirees that differ depending on whether they’re eligible for Medicare and enrolled in a plan through the OPERS Medicare Connector or not yet eligible for Medicare while enrolled in OPERS group coverage.
Retirees should carefully evaluate the financial and health care issues surrounding re-employment in an OPERS-covered position. We have a comprehensive section of our website that explains how re-employment works, including the health care plan for re-employed retirees who are eligible for Medicare and what happens if you reach the re-employment earning level midyear or subsequently stop working in your OPERS-covered position. It includes a decision tool to help you navigate the process.
For questions about the specifics of your personal situation, you should contact us through your online account or at 1-800-222-7377.