Explaining changes to your benefit

OPERS sends notices to retirees whenever an amount is updated

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Dec. 28, 2017 – There are many reasons that an OPERS retiree’s monthly benefit might change from one year to the next, such as updates in health care premiums or tax withholding.

Any time there is such a change, we send you a Benefit Change Notice. If your benefit changes in January, we’ll send you that notice by mail soon. This notice also will be viewable through your OPERS online account, usually a few days prior to the end of the month.

Then, if there are changes to the annual IRS tax tables (which affect your withholdings), we’ll issue another notice in February.

Most retirees review their tax withholdings when they file taxes for the previous year. The best way to do this is through your OPERS online account, which allows you to see the impact the change will make to your net monthly benefit amount. You can find your January 2018 monthly benefit amount now if you log in.

If you’d like to know your January 2018 benefit amount now, sign in to your online account and click on “Last Net Payment Amount.”

More info on taxes: OPERS will mail the 1099-R and 1095-B documents by the end of January. If you would like to access them early, log into your OPERS online account. You can usually access them through your online account up to a week before they are mailed.

One designation you’ll notice on the 1099-R if you’re a disability benefit recipient is in Box 7. It will have a code number 7 or 2 depending on your age. Your tax adviser may incorrectly indicate this code should be a 3. OPERS members are evaluated for disability from their OPERS-covered position not as a person who is permanently disabled as defined by the IRS.

 

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

    • Good question, Tom. Once we receive tax table changes from the IRS we will make those changes in your benefits and send you a Benefit Change Notice. We cannot estimate what those changes will be before that time.

      Julie

  • Is it true that you at OPERS have $8+ billion of our money in hedge funds and derivatives? If so, that is a VERY DANGEROUS AND RISKY strategy. Gambling really should be reserved for casinos.

    Jim Davis
    jhdavismd@gmail.com

    • As of Sept. 30, 2017, OPERS had about $7 billion of our total $96.3 billion portfolio invested in hedge funds. It is a common misperception that a portfolio of hedge funds is riskier than a portfolio of stocks and bonds; it is not. A diversified portfolio of hedge funds across a variety of strategies is designed to improve consistency of expected returns by exposing the overall portfolio to less risk than simply putting more money into stocks and bonds.

      Julie, OPERS

      • Question. Is the cost benefit ratio worth the price of fees and risk, if much? And the derivatives, the same question? That is, if we are involved in derivatives. If so to what extent.

    • Mr. Jordan, you can change your tax withholding amount by logging into your OPERS online account.

      Julie, OPERS

  • Is there a plan in place or in the works regarding the employees of Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District to continue in the Cincinnati Retirement System even though Hamilton County is proposing to take over the Sewer District? I understand that the State Legislature will have to approve this proposal.

  • My request has been totally ignored in the past. I would like to know if there is any consideration to increase I g the HSA amount in the future.

    • Apologies for the oversight.
      I assume you are referring to the Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)? To provide some backstory, between 2016 and 2018, the monthly allowance amount was decreased annually until the final allowance amount was reached in 2018. The three year transition to reduce funding is complete.

      At this point, the Board has not discussed anything further about making major changes to funding. Your 2019 HRA monthly allowance amount will be communicated in your open enrollment materials this fall.

  • I have an appointment with the tax guy next week I must have lost the 1095B and I need to know if I have to have it.

    • Mr. Benedict,

      You will want to bring a copy of your 1095-B to the meeting. You can access it by logging into your OPERS online account and clicking on ‘Documents.’

      Julie, OPERS

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