OAPSE has received a lot of questions regarding recent changes to the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio (SERS). We want to make sure all OAPSE members covered under SERS have the most up to date information, so you are not blindsided when it comes time to retire.
This summer, the Ohio Legislature passed a bill that gives SERS the power to use a calculation to stop school employees from pension spiking and putting a strain on your pension system. This calculation, the Contribution based Benefit Cap (CBBC), is a tool SERS will start using in 2024 to identify and prevent pension spiking or benefit inflation.
This CBBC calculation is not changing your pension benefit calculation. Pension benefits will continue to be calculated by your final average salary (highest 3 years averaged) and years of service (2.2% for each year of service).
OAPSE has been working with the SERS Board of Trustees to make sure employees who receive raises and promotions throughout their career will not be adversely affected. The SERS Board is made up of 9 members, 8 of whom are either active SERS members or SERS retirees themselves. 3 members of the SERS Board, Jim Haller, Barb Phillips, and Aimee Russell are also active OAPSE members, and 2 members of the SERS Board, Cathie Moss, and Frank Weglarz, are OAPSE retirees.
The CBBC calculation will only be used to identify SERS members going into retirement with a pension benefit much greater than the contributions they put into SERS. In a test run by SERS with 2023 retirees, less than 1% of retirements were flagged by the CBBC calculation. This means over 99% of SERS members will NOT be affected by the CBBC calculation. The small number of cases where the CBBC flagged a retiree were extreme. Most examples were school employees who doubled or even tripled their salaries a few years before retirement.
To help inform all SERS members, the SERS website has a dedicated page to explain the CBBC calculation: https://www.ohsers.org/cbbc-explained/
SERS will also be adding a calculator feature, so members can see where they stand regarding this change to the retirement system.
OAPSE will continue to monitor the SERS Board and any future changes SERS considers. OAPSE will continue to fight for our members, so they receive the pension they were promised and the retirement they deserve!