SERS seeks legislative change to protect your pension

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The pension fund for non-teaching school employees, SERS Ohio, is drafting a bill that would give the pension board the authority to change the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retirees; that authority now rests with legislators. While the pension fund is currently within the legally required 30-year funding liability period, gaining the authority to make changes itself would allow the board to be more agile in protecting your pension.

OFT understands the need to give the SERS Board the authority to make changes when needed to protect your pensions. STRS Ohio already has that authority.

SERS met with stakeholder groups, including OFT, last year to discuss a variety of changes that could be needed in future years. Using input from stakeholders, SERS outlined a plan that includes (see the SERS document detailing the following):

  • After 2018 the COLA will be reduced from a fixed 3.00%, to one that is indexed to CPI-W not greater than 2.5% with a floor of 0%.
  • Retirement allowances or benefits that commence on or after January 1, 2018 will receive the first COLA on the fourth anniversary date following commencement of the retirement allowance.
  • No COLA will be applied for three consecutive years to a retirement allowance or benefit that commences before January 1, 2018, with such suspension beginning January 1, 2018, and payment of COLAs resuming on anniversary dates on and after January 1, 2021.

Several other documents provide additional information and background: (There will be links to these docs)

COLA CPI Charts - Ohio Public Employees - outlines annual cost-of-living allowances for public employees in Ohio through SERS, STRS, OPERS, Ohio Police and Fire and the Highway Patrol Retirement System.

SERS COLA Changes Actuarial Statement

COLA Changes - What You Need to Know

SERS Board Meeting Highlights November 2016

Letter from OFT President Melissa Cropper to SERS Interim Director