OPERS, STRS changes to be outlined Oct. 9 and 10 | UToledo News

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OPERS, STRS changes to be outlined Oct. 9 and 10

Representatives from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System will discuss “OPERS Approved Legislative and Health-Care Changes” Tuesday, Oct. 9.

And Michele Hilleary from the State Teachers Retirement System will talk about “STRS Approved Legislative and Health-Care Changes” Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Both forums will be held in the Scott Park Auditorium from noon to 1 p.m.

The Ohio House and Ohio Senate approved pension legislation last month, and the bills will go into effect Jan. 7. OPERS pension changes will take effect immediately, and health-care modifications will begin Jan. 1, 2014, according to the group’s website, opers.org. STRS changes will take effect July 1 or later next year, according to strsoh.org.

Major OPERS changes include raising age and service limits for retirement eligibility, tying the cost of living adjustment to the Consumer Price Index, modifying the final average salary calculation, and extending the time it takes for the benefit multiplier to increase. The pension board also will have more power to make slight adjustments without legislative approval.

Contributions will not increase for OPERS members.

Changes were needed for the financial health of the system’s retirement fund for several reasons, including increases in life expectancy and number of retirees, according to opers.org.

With assets of $74.1 billion as of Dec. 31, 2011, OPERS is the largest state pension fund in Ohio. The system serves more than 986,000 members.

Major STRS changes include cost of living adjustments, modifications to the final average salary calculation and benefit formula beginning in 2015, and increases in age and service requirements to retire. The pension board also will have more power to make slight adjustments without legislative approval.

STRS members’ contributions will increase 4 percent, phased in 1 percent per year from July 1, 2013, through July 1, 2016. This means members will contribute 14 percent of their salaries in 2016; right now, they contribute 10 percent.

Economic and demographic issues factored into the adjustments needed for STRS: Members are living longer, and there was the decline in the global investment markets and accompanying recession, according to strsoh.org.

With assets of $66.8 billion as of June 30, 2011, STRS serves more than 475,000 Ohio public educators.

All UT employees are encouraged to attend the events, which are presented by Human Resources and Talent Development.

RSVPs are requested to Marcie Ferguson at marcie.ferguson@utoledo.edu.

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