Retiring? Get the process started early

Apply at least two months before planned retirement date

By Kristen Dohrmann, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

June 18, 2019 – If you’re planning to retire within the next few months, it’s important to allow yourself plenty of time to complete the retirement application process. Although you can apply for retirement up to six months prior to your retirement effective date, we recommend you apply at least two months in advance to allow enough time for OPERS to process your application and issue your first check.

Once you’ve selected your retirement effective date (the first day of the month following your last day of employment) and notified your employer, you’ll need to complete and submit your retirement application to OPERS.

Along with your application, you’ll be required to submit a number of additional documents that are necessary to process your retirement. You can submit copies of these documents to OPERS at any time during the application process – or any time during your working career.

It typically takes 30 business days to process a completed retirement application, so you can expect to receive your first benefit payment approximately 30 business days after OPERS receives all valid documentation from both you and your employer, or your retirement effective date, whichever is later.

If you chose a partial lump sum option payment, it will be released 90 days after your first benefit check.

Traditional Pension Plan participants are encouraged to apply for retirement online where you’ll be guided through each step of the application process. Applying online also means fewer errors and faster processing time. Members in the Combined and Member-Directed plans can access the appropriate retirement application online. At any time during the application process you can call us, and one of our representatives can talk you through the process.

To learn more about the retirement application process visit our Ready to Retire page.


  • I have 32 years of State service, I am in the Traditional Plan (A) and am eligible to retire. I will be under 59 and a half years old when I retire. Since I am fully eligible to retire with service and age under plan A, what code will I have in my 1099R box 7? Code 7 or 2?

    • A distribution code 2 means that there was a distribution prior to the normal retirement age, but the recipient is not subject to the early withdrawal penalty. This is for a benefit recipient under the age of 59 ½.

      A distribution code of 7 is for a normal distribution and applies to benefit recipient over the age of 59 ½. For more information you can review the Income Tax Guide, If you have additional questions please contact us at 800-222-7377.

      Julie, OPERS

    • Ms. Leffel,

      Planning for retirement takes a lot of preparation, and it’s important to get started early. If you haven’t yet registered for an online account with OPERS, you can create an account to review your service credit, account value, run benefit estimates and apply for retirement. We recommend that you apply for retirement at least 2 months in advance of your retirement effective date.

      We offer counseling sessions at OPERS and by phone. If you’re interested in a counseling session, you can schedule an appointment through your online account under the Tools and Resources then Seminars and Counseling tabs or you can contact us at 800-222-7377 and a member of our staff would be happy to assist you.

      For more information go to the Ready to Retire page on the OPERS website,


  • Since I don’t have a lot of money in my account even though I have several years in the system, can I withdraw the entire amount. I am aware that some of my account is taxable.

    • A retirement application can be cancelled anytime during the processing of the application. However, once the first benefit payment is released, you have exactly 30 days to return that payment to OPERS and cancel the retirement. Please contact us at 800-222-7377 if you have any additional questions.

      Julie, OPERS

  • How can I set up a retirement conference with a OPER’s rep in Columbus? I will need to retire 12/31/19.

    • Mr. Trefney,

      You can schedule an appointment through your online account or by calling 1-800-222-7377.

      Julie, OPERS

    • Your retirement effective date is the first day of the month following your last day of employment.If your last day of employment is Oct. 31, your retirement effective date is Nov.1. If your last day of employment is Nov. 1, your retirement effective date is Dec. 1. For more information, go to the Ready to Retire page on the OPERS website,

  • I’ve called OPERS several times regarding my retirement and the representatives were all outstanding. They patiently answered all my questions and made other valuable suggestions. I’d say they were superb.

  • I plan on leaving my employer at the end of the year for a federal job outside of opers, with a little over 25 years of service. I won’t be 48 until May. By my understanding, it should not be a problem to apply for early retirement in December (up to 6 month prior), leave my account as is, and receive my first check in June. Am I correct in my understanding?

    • Ilm,

      One of the holdups in applying for retirement is often a form that’s not filled out completely or correctly. By requiring this form to be filled out online, the risk of errors has been vastly reduced.

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