Giving thanks for pensions

Public workers of all ages say retirement benefits a key perk

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Nov. 26, 2019 – As Thanksgiving Day approaches, we’d like to share the results of a study that illustrates how much workers of all ages value public pensions.

The National Institute on Retirement Security’s recent survey entitled “State and Local Employee Views on Their Jobs, Pay and Benefits” indicates that 74 percent of millennials who work in the public sector said their pension benefit was a major reason they chose the job. Baby boomers also value their state-and-local public pensions, with 70 percent of them saying it’s a main reason they work where they do.

The NIRS survey also shows a majority of the 19 million state-and-local workers across the country highly value their opportunity to serve the public. Most agree they could earn more money in the private sector, so their pensions are an important factor in choosing their careers.

Cutting this benefit could push them out of the public-sector work force, the study states, so pensions also loom as an important recruitment tool, especially in technical fields such as engineering and information technology.

We sometimes read about the differences between generations of workers, but we’re encouraged to know that public employees of all ages are thankful for their pensions.

As a reminder to our members and retirees, OPERS will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and the day after Thanksgiving. The OPERS lobby and phone lines will close at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

We’ll post our hours for Christmas and New Year’s Day as those holidays approach. In the meantime, OPERS wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

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

  • At this time of year, especially….I am so very grateful & blessed to have my OPERS. When I speak to my peers who worked in the private sector, I realize just how lucky I am. Those 30 years were sometimes tough, but worth it! Now I just pray OPERS is able to continue to offer health coverage for the rest of my life. Thank you for all you do!

  • Yes, we greatly value our pensions and HEALTH CARE; but, seriously, what have you done for us lately? Since the Great Recession, in the best investment environment in history (record stock market gains), all OPERS can say is they are trying to hang on to what we have and slowly taking benefits away. Shame on those making OPERS investment decision over the the past decade!

    • Totally agree with John Mac. OPERS / employer promised many things when I was hired; however, those promises will never come to fruition. And, I do think the SS WEP news is to simply distract retirees/members from the true OPERS issues. However, having said all of that, I am grateful that I have some type of pension (but, will OPERS eventually lower our pension amounts? They could do it if legislators approve – I think.).

  • I would not trade my retirement for any out there. I depend on it as I have no other means of support. Thanks for what you do. Long live. Opera.

  • I count my blessings everyday for my OPERS pension. When I talk to my friends and hear about their pensions, I send up a silent prayer thanking God that He led me to the job that I worked for 32 years and I truly enjoyed working there. I went up the ranks from Secretary, learning every job there, ending up being a Supervisor. OPERS has served me well since I retired in 2000, twenty years ago.
    Thanks OPERS.

  • I too am grateful for having worked for the State and to have retired with such awesome benifits. Yes it was one of the best decisions that I made to endure all the headaches until retirement. On any job there is always going to be some joy and some pain but it’s at the end where it really counts.!That being said not only am I grateful but very blessed as well to have a decent pension that allows me to live comfortably and do my ministry work.

  • I am very grateful for my pension and feel so blessed to have it. So much so, that I don’t want to see any changes to our COLA, frozen or otherwise. I am also puzzled as to why, during the longest bull market in U.S. history, that OPERS claims to be losing money. I hope OPERS can figure out a way to make a go of this without penalizing retirees.

  • Too bad we cannot also get the social security we paid into. 27 years in social security and due to public pension only get half. Private pensions get both. Eliminate WEP.

    • I totally agree. Why are we penalized that we don’t have a 30-year OPERS pension but only get half of the Social Security for the years that we paid into. All while the State of Ohio allows people to retire and keep working. WEP is supposed to prevent “double dipping” but that makes absolutely no sense. How is retiring and still collecting a paycheck from the State not double-dipping but getting a pension for the years worked for the state and social security for those years worked in the private sector double-dipping? Eliminate WEP!

  • I am truly grateful that I stuck it out for 31 years although I was tempted to throw the towel in several times because of politics, etc. Thank you so much for working hard to keep what we have! I am very thankful because I am fully dependent on this income AND of course health insurance. I have within the last year racked up bills of over $100,000 because of cancer. I do not know what I would have done without you! Thank you! Anna

  • I retired two months ago after 30 years of service. While I was disappointed at some of the cuts in benefits such as: delayed COLA, COLA now tied to CPI, and retiree’s spouse or dependent no longer eligible for healthcare coverage, I am really impressed and proud of OPERS at the speed and efficiency my retirement benefit application was processed. It is recommended that retiree allowed at least 60 days for processing after submitting their retirement application. But, barely 30 days after I submitted my application, my benefit was processed, and I received my retirement benefit. It suffice to say that I submitted my application online and I sent OPERS all required documents. I like to say Thank You to the men and women at OPERS. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you, Kingsley, we’re glad everything worked out well. Congratulations on your retirement!

      Julie, OPERS

    • Ditto — I retired just a few months ago, was also disappointed in the benefit cuts, but super pleased with the speed in which OPERS processed everything pertaining to my retirement. Great job!

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