We can put ourselves in your shoes

As members, OPERS employees also are affected by rule changes

By Donna Castiglione, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Oct. 10, 2018 – When we say we can understand where you are coming from, we’re not just giving you lip service. We really can.

As Ohio Public Employees Retirement System employees, we also are OPERS members. That means changes to pension benefits or health care impact us exactly the same as they do you.

Let me give you an example. In 2012, pension legislation was passed that divided our members into three retirement groups: Group A, Group B and Group C. These groups determine when you’re eligible to retire and how your retirement benefit will be calculated. They also affect when you will be eligible for health care coverage through OPERS.

I personally am in Group C by 13 days and am impacted by these changes just as all the rest of you are. While I wish my birthday were 13 days earlier, I do understand that there has to be a line, and there will always be someone who is just on the other side of it.

Being an OPERS employee and member, I also am grateful that we were able to make the changes we did to secure retirement benefits for all members. In addition to being members, many OPERS employees have relatives who are members or retirees of OPERS. If not, some of us have parents or grandparents who are dealing with planning for retirement.

OPERS employees try to treat everyone who we interact with just as we would hope someone would treat us or one of our relatives. We are proud of what we do and grateful for the opportunity to assist you.

I hope that comes across in the service you receive from us.


Donna Castiglione

Donna Castiglione is the assistant director of Member Services and has been with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System for more than 13 years. She has extensive experience in customer service management in a variety of industries.

Donna Castiglione

Assistant Director of Member Services

  • Thank for every thing you do for our members. I have 32 years in the system and I’m looking forward to my retirement in 2020. Regg mercado

  • We can appreciate that current OPERS employees will likely someday be OPERS retirees.
    This of course involves a future date of “putting yourselves in our shoes”. For those not yet retired, you at least have the option of better planning for that date. If you are already retired, you are very limited indeed.

    Do current OPERS employees have the same health care plan options as the retirees?
    Pay the same price?
    Are spouses covered? (these are all rhetorical questions of course)

    I have no problem with paying a fair wage and benefits for good employees, but please don’t claim to be in our shoes. We only ask that current retirees be treated fairly, and be provided no more than what was originally agreed to.

  • My late husband was a PERS retiree and I receive his full retirement. His health insurance was wonderful. I am a SERS retiree and receive benefits from SERS.
    I have no complaints and leave any decisions to PERS and SERS as they are more
    than capable of trying to make the best decisions for all retirees so many thanks to
    the PERS and SERS,

  • The difference is many of us ALREADY retired were given one set of rules. Some of those rules were changed after we retired. Its one thing to ‘change’ the rules for people who are years from retirement.
    They can prepare. Many of us already retired can’t change what we are already doing without significant hardship.

    Thank you.

  • Nice article. And as people are living longer it only stands to reason that if your working your life span will be longer than those who are already retired . And yes missing the cut off by 13 days probably don’t feel good .

    Fortunately You can still control when you retire and thus manage your own finances.

    It’s when OPERS starts changing Benifits to people who are already retired that seems to be somewhat of a conflict of interest in so many ways.

    It is with great hope that OPERS realizes that.

  • I have always had very good experiences interacting with OPERS employees either in person or over the telephone. Staff were always competent and professional. Other gov’t agencies should strive to provide the same level of competence and service as OPERs.

  • If you are still working then you cannot put yourself in the shoes of those already retired. We were promised one thing, then OPERS tried to take it away. Most of us cannot go back and make up for lost benefits. You still have time to plan. We don’t.

  • Apples and oranges. We spent a career working for our communities. We were paid with tax dollars and contributed 10% of those wages towards our retirements. Your wages are 100% funded from our monies. You then contribute 10% of those monies back toward your future retirement which is also 100% funded from the retirement account. No outside monies are ever brought into the fund.

    • Jim, your contributions only pay a portion of your retirement. For those who retired in 2017, for example, 71% of their lifetime pension is funded by employee payroll deductions and investment income. The remaining 29% is funded by employer contributions.

      Julie, OPERS

      • Thank you, Julie, but I considered the employers’ portion to be monies that I paid in, too. It was part of my wage package, in lieu of wage increases and other benefits.

        • We respect your opinion, Jim, but employer and employee returns make up less of the retirement benefit than most people realize. Generally 2/3 of each pension comes from investment returns. Employer and employee contributions make up the rest.


  • I agree with Donna. If I know the rules, I can play the game.
    But if the rules are changed during the game and made up as we go, it’s not exactly fair.
    Unfortunately for most of us, we’re still forced to play because there’s no recourse. No one has our backs.

    • You can rely on OPERS for a secure pension. As your trusted retirement partner for more than 80 years, our ongoing commitment is to provide you with a meaningful retirement, including a pension and access to health care. Please continue to use OPERS as your source for information.

  • >