Preparing to Retire - Human Resources at Ohio State

Preparing to Retire

When you are getting ready to retire, there are many important factors to consider. HR Connection, your unit’s human resources professional (HRP) and your retirement provider are your partners in preparing for retirement. This section includes information about the process and steps you need to follow to ensure that you have a smooth transition to retirement.

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Review your eligibility for retirement benefits. Contact your retirement provider to determine if you meet service and/or age requirements in order to receive benefits from your retirement system or provider. Review the benefits for which you may be eligible upon retirement, such as pension and retiree health benefits, a leave payout from the university and Ohio State post-retirement benefits.

Will you be a university retiree?

OPERS/STRS Participants: In order to be a university retiree, the following criteria must be met:

  • At the time of retirement, have 10+ years of continuous Ohio State service in at least a 50% FTE regular appointment.
  • Be eligible to receive OPERS/STRS benefits.

ARP Participants: In order to be a university retiree, the following criteria must be met:

  • At the time of retirement, have 10+ years of continuous Ohio State service in at least a 50% FTE regular appointment.
  • Would have been eligible to receive retirement benefits under OPERS Traditional Pension plan or STRS Defined Benefit plan.
Will you be a non-university retiree?

If your employment at the university does not include 10 years of continuous service in a regular position, you are not eligible to retire as a university employee. You may be eligible to retire under the retirement plan to which you contributed.

OPERS/STRS Participants: In order to be an OPERS/STRS retiree, the following criteria must be met:

  • Meet age and service requirements set by OPERS/STRS.

ARP Participants: In order to be a retiree, the following criteria must be met:

  • Any age (withdrawals made before age 59 ½ may be subject to an additional federal penalty)
OPERS and STRS Retirees

If you are eligible to retire under either the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) or the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS), you are encouraged to consult with a retirement counselor at your retirement system.

  • Attend an in-person seminar or webinar offered by your retirement system for members nearing retirement.
  • Six to 12 months prior to your anticipated retirement date, schedule an appointment with a retirement counselor at your retirement system. This person can help you understand your eligibility for pension and retiree health care benefits.
    • Note: OPERS and STRS currently provide health care benefits for retirees who meet eligibility requirements. OPERS and STRS health coverage is completely separate from the university’s faculty and staff health benefits.
  • Gather the documents that your retirement system will ask you to bring to your appointment.
  • Discuss with your OPERS or STRS retirement counselor any additional in-state or out-of-state employment service you may be eligible to purchase.
  • Submit your retirement application to your retirement system. The recommended timeframes are:
    • OPERS: 2 to 6 months before retirement
    • STRS: 3 to 12 months before retirement
  • To schedule an appointment, view the online retirement application, or request a paper application contact your retirement system:
ARP Retirees

If you retire from Ohio State under the Ohio Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP), contact your ARP provider to discuss your retirement plan distribution options. Your retirement payments and distribution schedule will depend on the payment option you chose with your ARP provider.

  • If offered, attend an in-person seminar or webinar offered by your provider for participants nearing retirement.
  • Six to 12 months prior to your anticipated retirement date, schedule an appointment with a retirement counselor from your provider. This person can help you understand retirement withdrawal and distribution options available to you based on the payment option you previously chose.
  • If you could be withdrawing funds in a lump sum, check with your tax advisor to determine if a rollover to another investment vehicle might be advantageous to you.
  • Inform your provider of your distribution decision and complete any necessary paperwork.

Discuss your retirement plans with your department chair or supervisor. Submit written notification of your retirement date to your department chair or supervisor as early as possible prior to your intended retirement date, preferably at least three months in advance.

Please see Submit a Resignation in Workday for details.

OPERS and STRS Retirees
  • After consulting with your retirement system counselor and confirming your eligibility to receive retirement benefits, complete and submit your application for retirement to OPERS or STRS.
  • The retirement system notifies HR Connection’s retirement team of your scheduled retirement date and requests certification of your retirement from the university.
  • HR Connection certifies your retirement after your HRP has entered your retirement date in the HR system.
  • Pension payments begin on the first day of the month following the month of your last day of service. If you work or receive compensation for even one day in a month, you may not begin receiving pension payments until the first day of the following month.
ARP Retirees

See the Paid Time Off Policy 6.27 for information on vacation and sick leave payouts, including what portion of your sick leave will be paid.  Visit compass.osu.edu to view your current vacation and sick leave balances, by logging in with your name.# and referencing the Time Off table on the left hand side of your home page. This lists your accrual balances for unused sick and vacation hours.  Payouts are paid out at your current rate of pay.  Submit your resignation in Workday as soon as possible, as payouts are automated based on this action being completed. For information on how to submit a resignation/retirement in Workday, please see the Submit a Resignation in Workday job aid.

Your final pay will include earnings through your last day worked, as well as any leave payouts, as long as your retirement has been processed in Workday in a timely manner. If your resignation/retirement is submitted after your final payroll processing, the payouts will occur on the next applicable check.  All regular payroll deductions will be withheld from the paycheck. Sick and vacation payouts are not retirement eligible payments for OPERS, STRS and the ARP.

Leave payouts are considered wages and are taxable. You may reduce your taxes by deferring all or a portion of your payouts into a 403(b) or 457(b) Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA). If you are considering a contribution to an SRA, you will need to calculate your sick leave and vacation payout as described above. Your vacation and sick leave payouts are typically included on your final pay.

You may want to consider discussing your options with a financial advisor.

If you wish to defer your payouts to a Supplemental Retirement Account:

  1. Confirm when you will receive your final paycheck by referring to the payroll calendar.
  2. Refer to the SRA Contribution Start Date Calendars to determine when to submit your SRA election so it aligns with the timing of your sick and vacation payout. PLEASE NOTE: Submitting an election too early will result in the additional contribution being withheld from an earlier pay check.
  3. Determine the amount you would like to contribute to your SRA account.  All eligible salary and sick/vacation payouts may be applied to your SRA contribution, up to IRS limits.
  4. Submit your SRA elections via the Master Administrator
    • If you wish to enroll or update your contribution amount at Ohio Deferred Compensation, visit www.ohio457.org

Note:  Your election will be processed even if the payout is not on the final paycheck.

See more information on Supplemental Retirement Accounts.

University Benefits after Retirement

You are considered an Ohio State retiree if you are eligible to receive an OPERS or STRS benefit and at the time of retirement you have 10 years of continuous Ohio State service in a regular appointment of at least a 50% FTE. If eligible for these benefits, you will receive information from the HR Connection after you have retired providing you with enrollment details. Review the Retirement section under life events to explore any additional post-retirement benefits.

Group Term Life Insurance (GTLI)

If you retire before age 70, you may continue your GTLI coverage (up to $200,000 maximum) after retirement at your expense. To continue retiree coverage, you pay a quarterly or annual premium to the university. This benefit may be continued until age 70. (See Life Insurance Benefits)

If you retire before age 70 and choose not to continue your GTLI coverage, or you retire after age 70, you may convert coverage to an individual life insurance policy.

You must apply for and make your first premium payment within 31 days of the termination of coverage. Contact Minnesota Life for information on conversion and premium amounts.

If you become re-employed with Ohio State in an eligible position, you will automatically be enrolled in GTLI as an active employee. You should contact the HR Connection to stop retiree coverage and your premiums upon re-employment and again when you cease to be an employee in order to reinstate your retiree coverage if you meet eligibility criteria.

Post-Retirement Life Insurance Benefit

A university-provided post-retirement life insurance benefit is available to Ohio State retirees:

  • Who do not continue Group Term Life Insurance at retirement
  • Who reach age 70 (when retiree Group Term Life Insurance coverage ends)

The benefit amount is based on your years of continuous employment in an eligible appointment at the time of retirement from the university. It is payable to your designated beneficiary(-ies) as follows:

  • 10-14 years of service: $2,000
  • 15-19 years of service: $3,000
  • 20-24 years of service: $4,000
  • 25 years of service or more: $5,000
Tuition Assistance for Dependents

Your dependents may be eligible for tuition assistance. Refer to Dependent Tuition Assistance for a description of the benefit levels and eligibility requirements.

Ohio State University Retirees Association (OSURA)

Retirees are invited to join the Ohio State University Retirees Association (OSURA), a volunteer organization providing educational, informational, cultural, social, travel, and volunteer opportunities. Retirees stay connected to the university through monthly newsletters, interest groups, and sponsored events.

Social Security

In addition to OPERS, STRS or ARP benefits, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. Contact a local Social Security office for assistance to determine your eligibility status or visit ssa.gov.

Medicare Verification Letter

A Medicare Verification Letter for health care coverage and separation of employment are available by contacting HR Connection.