Tips for re-employment
Pension benefits, health care differ from regular membership
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Jan. 27, 2022 – OPERS membership changes substantially for those who retire and then go back to work. If you’re considering becoming a re-employed retiree, here are some things to consider.
A re-employed retiree is one who is receiving an OPERS pension benefit and is also employed in an OPERS-covered position. It includes re-employment in full-time, part-time or seasonal/occasional OPERS positions.
In the event you become re-employed by an OPERS-covered employer, you must inform the employer that you are receiving an OPERS benefit. Discuss your potential re-employment plans with your employer to determine whether there are any restrictions or policies on re-employment. Contributions to OPERS must begin from the first day of re-employment.
Re-employed retirees continue to receive their retirement benefits and are not eligible to select one of the OPERS retirement plans. Re-employed retirees contribute toward a Money Purchase Plan account. If returning to work in a full time position with a college or university, re-employed retirees may be eligible to elect an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
A retiree who has received a retirement allowance for less than two months when reemployment begins will forfeit the retirement allowance and health care for any month of reemployment during that two-month period.
Returning as an independent contractor to any OPERS employer within the first two months of retirement or returning to the same employer at any time results in forfeiture of the pension portion and suspension of the annuity portion of the retirement benefits without access to OPERS health care for the length of the contract.
Re-employed retirees are eligible for OPERS health care, but because the OPERS HRA is a retiree-only plan it works a little differently for re-employed retirees.
Pre-Medicare re-employed retirees can accrue HRA deposits during their re-employment period beginning in 2022. Like a Pre-Medicare benefit recipient who is not re-employed, you can enroll in any medical plan you choose; however, you must be opted in to the HRA to receive monthly HRA deposits from OPERS. Even though you are accruing HRA deposits while re-employed, any expenses incurred during your re-employment period are not reimbursable.
As a re-employed retiree, your monthly HRA deposits from OPERS will accrue in a Re-employed Accumulated HRA for the month(s) you are employed in an OPERS-covered position. Balances that remain when you reach Medicare age will carry over.
Your Re-employed Accumulated HRA will not be accessible during your re-employment period. You may use any balance you had in your HRA prior to your re-employment period to be reimbursed for expenses incurred prior to your re-employment period, but not for expenses incurred during your reemployment period.
For more information about how the OPERS HRA is administered during and after a reemployment period, please see the 2022 OPERS Health Care Program Guide available on opers.org.
For additional information about re-employment, refer to our “Returning to Work After Retirement” leaflet on the OPERS website.
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.
9 thoughts on “Tips for re-employment”
I had to quit 2 part time OPERS jobs I had last year in order to have access to my HRA to pay for health insurance this year. Very unfortunate.
I am now retired and on Medicare. If I have an opportunity at re-employment that offers Dental & Vision coverage, can I take the D&V insurance coverage? I did not take the OPERS membership insurance
If you are re-employed and your employer offers dental and vision coverage you would want to speak with your employer in regards to the coverage and how to enroll. If you are enrolled in any dental and vision coverage with OPERS keep in mind you can only cancel our coverage during the annual open enrollment period that runs from October through December for the changes to become effective the first of the following year. For any additional questions on Re-employment you may submit an online message through your OPERS online account or contact us at 1-800-222-7377.
I worked one day for the election in November 2021 and my HRA is showing up as a re-employed. This is before I was even in the HRA. Guess I can’t work for the Election anymore or lose my HRA for the month.
Paul, Individuals employed as election workers and paid less than $600 per calendar year for that service are not considered public employees. Therefore, retirees may accept employment as an election worker without being considered re-employed, as long as they do not earn over $600 in a calendar year. Please contact us at 1-800-222-7377 for further assistance.
Will be retiring from ODOT in August with 31 years. Have also been a high school baseball coach for the past 12 years. I sign a supplemental contract for that position with the school system. The contract is basically for 3 months each year (Mar-Apr-May) and there are no health care options for the position. I’ve gotten conflicting answers on if this will prohibit me from using my HRA. Any clue if I would be considered re-employed in an “OPERS covered position”?
Todd, Please forward your inquiry through our online message center or contact us at 1-800-222-7377. This way we can review your account specific information and respond to your question and go over any additional information on re-employment that would pertain to you.
Years ago I worked for the State of Ohio Liquor Dept… they closed my position when they closed the stores… I only had 5 1/2 years in the system… I got a refund of the money… now I have a chance of getting back into the system with another state job… can I put the money back in so I can get both years and money into my account?
David, If you previously refunded your account at that time you also forfeited all service credit, so if you return to public employment you would start over at zero. You could be eligible to purchase your refunded time as Redeposit Credit. For general information on Service Purchase you may view our “Service Credit & Contributing Months” Leaflet by copying and pasting the following link into your browser: https://www.opers.org/pubs-archive/leaflets/ISL-F-Service-Credit-and-Contributing-Months.pdf