OPERS answers member questions

Pension payments must be made in the year they’re earned

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Jan. 10, 2018 – We receive a lot of good questions through our social media channels, but we can’t always post answers on those sites.

So from time to time we like to use our blog to answer a few questions we believe can benefit our members and retirees.

Q: I noticed that when you published the 2018 benefit payment schedule that the payment for January almost always comes after the first of the year. Why can’t you pay it at the end of December, rather than after the first of the year as you do in some other months?

A: OPERS makes benefit payments on the first day of each month. When that day falls on a weekend or holiday, our policy is to make the payment in the previous month if we can.

Except for the January payment. Here’s why:

Taxable income, as reported on IRS Form 1099-R, is computed on the gross income paid to an individual from Jan. 1-Dec. 31 of the tax year.

OPERS operates on a calendar tax year, and thus we report to the IRS income actually paid during the tax year. Paying benefits during one tax year and reporting them in another is not an accurate method of complying with IRS tax reporting statutes and regulations; therefore, we must pay January benefits in January, not in December of the previous year.

Q: Now that Congress has passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will tax reform lead to any changes in my monthly pension benefit? When will it occur?

A: Once we receive tax table changes from the IRS, we’ll make those changes in your benefit and send you a Benefit Change Notice. We cannot estimate what those changes will be before that time, nor when we’ll receive updated tax tables.

Q: I’ve been hearing that OPERS has a certain amount of money invested in alternative investments. What is the truth behind the amount?

A: We always post our current asset allocations, and the amount of money we have invested in each asset, on our website. You can find this data in the investment information section of our website. There are market values and recent returns listed for a number of investments in our Defined Benefit and Health Care funds.

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

14 thoughts on “OPERS answers member questions

  • January 10, 2018 at 1:16 pm
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    Once again you fail to address certain questions, specifically the last question about “alternative investments”. What we are really concerned about is that OPERS is putting billions of OUR money into hedge funds and derivatives and as usual you want to put off an answer to the issue.

    Reply
    • January 12, 2018 at 8:51 am
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      Ken,

      Our answer here is designed to point observers to our investment information page, where they can find the most-current totals for that asset class and all others.

      A full breakdown of our investment allocations, including to alternative investments such as hedge funds, is in our comprehensive annual financial report, which is posted on our website. We also post our annual investment plan, which includes the outlook for all of our asset classes.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply
  • January 10, 2018 at 8:24 pm
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    Even if we get a few dollars more in our pensions each month, that will not effect our total tax owed for 2018. We could get more money each month but then owe a lot more on total taxes for 2018. Need to check the tax tables when they are available and then adjust the amount withheld each month if necessary.

    Reply
  • January 10, 2018 at 9:09 pm
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    How many of the approximately 208,000 retirees still live in Ohio?

    Reply
  • January 11, 2018 at 9:28 am
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    I always enjoy these updates that via e-mail. Most I already know but I’ve found stuff that I missed. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • January 12, 2018 at 3:32 am
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    I was just needing to reset my user ID and password so I can get on my account I want to withdraw my account

    Reply
    • January 12, 2018 at 7:57 am
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      Please call us at 1-800-222-7377 and a member of our staff can help you.

      Reply
  • January 12, 2018 at 3:11 pm
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    I was not aware of the PAFR report until now. This is a very good informative report with pertinent facts and information. Not the usual dry cotton of a traditional financial report. I would like to see a little more diversity among the OPERS trustees.

    Reply
  • January 14, 2018 at 10:05 pm
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    When will the IRS Form 1099-R for our 2017 Income tax be mailed out???

    Reply
    • January 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm
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      Mr. Wylie,

      OPERS mails the 1099-R and 1095-B documents by the end of January. Most of the 1095-Bs have been mailed and can be found in your online account. The 1099-Rs are being processed now and will be mailed by the end of January. They will be available in your online account after Jan. 24.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • January 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm
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    why cant one exchange switch our medical re-imbursment funds to a debit card medical account?to use for dr. co-pays,prescriptions, e.t.c would make more sense than filling out claim forms mailing ,fax then spending hours on the phone just trying to find out if they even received them,or when you might get re-imbursed, they say 7-days to receive mail 7-10 days for processing and that’s not true,takes weeks and weeks, never get same answer,they pass the buck.i know o.p.e.r.s has a 5 yr contract please see if they they might switch to card system eliminate a lot of stress for retirees..

    Reply
  • January 16, 2018 at 6:02 pm
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    If im the beneficiary on my dads account and he passed how do i find out how much is the payout for…?

    Reply
    • January 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm
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      Sorry about your father’s passing, Andre. Please call us at 1-800-222-7377 and a member of our staff will be able to help you.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply

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