Ohio House passes bill to assist OPERS members

The Ohio House has passed legislation that would improve survivor benefits and facilitate contribution refunds for members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

Ohio House Bill 520 includes provisions that would affect all five state retirement systems. It contains several adjustments to the 2012 pension law that are intended to streamline business practices and improve administrative efficiency.

The bill now moves on to the Ohio Senate.

For OPERS members, the measure would remove the requirement that children of a member who dies before retirement need to be attending an institution of learning or training in order to receive survivor benefits. It also would resume paying survivor benefits of qualifying children under age 22 whose benefits were terminated because they were not in school.

Another provision of the bill would reduce from three months to two months the wait period (without a return to public employment) before an OPERS member could apply for a contribution refund.

OPERS believes these changes are common-sense improvements for our members. With limited time remaining in the legislative session, passage of the bill is dependent on swift Senate action. If the bill is not passed by the end of year, it would have to be reintroduced next year.

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

    • Tom,

      Currently, OPERS beneficiaries between 18 years and 22 years of age can receive survivor benefits (if the member died before retiring) only if they are enrolled in an institution of learning. This bill would remove that proviso.

      –Ohio PERS

  • I wish the premium would be reduced. Mine went from 70,00 to 154.00 that’s over double what I was paying. I can see an increase but more than double is awful.

    My premiums more than doubled from 70.00 to 154.00 that’s awful. I can see an increase but more than double that’s crazy. JUST AWFUL.

  • First OPERS and the legislature decreased the pensions and cost of living adjustments for future retirees and their spouses. Then health care was eliminated for spouses and retained for dependant children. Now survivor benefits are being extended to more surviving dependants age 18-22. Rather than taking care of young adults, how about taking care of more retirees?

    • We understand that this can be frustrating. But to clarify, health care for spouses did not go away. Pre-Medicare plan participants still have access to the OPERS medical plan as well as vision and dental. Vision and dental are available to all. While Medicare spouses will no longer have an HRA allowance after 2017, they will still be able to leverage the OPERS Medicare Connector to select a medical/pharmacy plan along with the Medicare retiree that is on the account.

      -Ohio PERS

      • Don’t tell me it didn’t go away. I am not old enough for medicare and unless I want to pay $750.00 a month for my healthcare (just for me, one person)in 2017 and $1.200.00 a month in 2018, I don’t have healthcare. I cannot afford to pay that. So as of January, I’m no longer covered. That’s like paying another mortgage!
        They can’t afford to pay $1000.00 a month for a spouse/surviving spouses healthcare, but they can give $22,000.00 a year for 4 years to an able bodied adult (18-24) when they are not enrolled in full time college??!?!?!?!?!?

    • Cara,

      House Bill 520 was signed by the Governor on January 4, 2017, and will become effective on or about April 5 (an official date has not been assigned by the Secretary of State).

      Julie, Ohio PERS

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