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If the retiree selected a Plan A, C, D, or F at retirement, the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries receive a monthly benefit for their lives.  [Read More...]


If the retiree chose Plan B, monthly benefits stop with the retiree’s death with no continuing benefits to the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries.  If the retiree received less in monthly payments than the contributions the retiree paid into SERS while working, the difference between the contributions and the amount of monthly benefits is paid to the qualifying beneficiary.  If there is more than one beneficiary, the amount will be divided equally among them.

If the retiree selected Plan E the benefit was payable to the retiree for the retiree’s life.  At retirement the retiree also chose a limited period of time to provide a continuing monthly to a designated beneficiary.  This period began at the retiree’s effective date of retirement.  If the retiree dies after the end of the period chosen, then there are no continuing benefits to the beneficiary.  If the retiree dies before the period ends, the beneficiary is entitled to a continuing benefit but only for the period between the retiree’s death and the end of the chosen period.

A beneficiary is entitled to a one-time lump-sum payment of $1,000 after the death of a retiree.   [Read More...]

If there is more than one qualifying beneficiary for this benefit, it will be divided equally among the beneficiaries.

Once SERS receives notice of a retiree’s death information, forms and instructions will be sent to the qualified beneficiary. It is important that SERS be notified as soon as possible of a retiree’s death.   [Read More...]

This will assist in efficient processing of benefit payments and avoid the possibility of improper overpayments to the deceased retiree.

A monthly benefit is paid in advance on the first of the month. A paper benefit check is mailed by the next to last business day of each month in order to arrive at the recipient’s home by the first of each month.   [Read More...]

Benefit amounts  deposited to a bank or financial institution will be in the account on the first of the month unless the first is a holiday; the benefit will then be deposited by the preceding business day except for January 1 when the benefit will be available the next business day. 

SERS sends only a quarterly statement to a benefit recipient detailing the current gross monthly, and year-to-date, benefits and deductions, regardless of whether the benefit is paid by paper check or deposited directly to a bank.

The safest and most efficient way to receive a benefit is by having it directly deposited in a bank account.  SERS strongly encourages direct deposit of payments to a bank or other financial institution.  This avoids delayed, lost or stolen checks. 

Checks will not be forwarded by the U.S. Postal Service.

Late, Stolen, Lost or Damaged Checks

If a paper benefit check which is mailed does not arrive by the tenth business day of the month, notify SERS in writing with your name, address, Social Security number, and sign the letter.  Send your letter to SERS, Attn. Retiree Accounting Specialist, and 300 East Broad Street, Suite 100, Columbus, Ohio 43215. 

If the check was lost or stolen and not cashed, SERS will place a stop payment on the original check and issue a duplicate.  If the check was lost or stolen and cashed, SERS will only issue a duplicate check if it is determined the original check was fraudulently cashed.

If a check arrives severely damaged so that the bank will not process it, write “void” on the face of the check and return it to SERS with a letter as described above; SERS will issue a duplicate check.

When corresponding with SERS be sure and provide your full name and Social Security number. It is important to keep SERS informed of changes to your address.   [Read More...]

This is important to assure paper benefit checks are sent to you timely.  Even if your benefit amount is being directly deposited, SERS sends newsletters, other mailings and benefit pay stubs to your home.

Beginning on the first anniversary of your effective benefit date, you will be eligible to receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of three percent (3%).   [Read More...]

This increase is on the base amount only and is added to the monthly benefit each year on the anniversary of the effective benefit date.

A portion of a monthly benefit is subject to federal and state income tax. When the benefit is calculated, SERS determines the amount that is taxable and the amount that is non-taxable. SERS will send you this information.   [Read More...]

By January 31 of each year SERS sends you a tax form (IRS Form 1099-R) for the previous calendar year which provides information on the benefit  amounts paid for the year, the amount of taxes withheld and other tax information.  With the Form 1099-R SERS sends an Income Tax Information pamphlet explaining the form and providing other detailed federal and state tax information. 

Federal Income Tax

SERS is required to withhold federal income tax from a monthly benefit amount unless you elect in writing not to have any withholding.  You need to complete and file an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-4P with SERS to instruct the retirement system on whether income tax should be withheld.  If you do not file this form SERS withholds as if you had filed married with three withholding allowances.  You can change your withholding at any time by filing a new Form W-4P.

State Income Tax

Your SERS benefit amount may be subject to state and/or local taxes.  You should consult the appropriate tax department in the area you live to determine your obligations.  For residents of Ohio, the SERS benefit amount is subject to state income taxes. 

SERS is not required to withhold amounts for state or local taxes.  For Ohio residents only SERS will withhold an amount for Ohio state income taxes if you complete and return a form  indicating the specific amount you wish to have withheld.  This amount can be changed at any time by requesting a new form from SERS.

You should consult a tax advisor, the IRS, or state or local tax departments for advice on any specific tax questions.  SERS cannot provide individual tax advice.

At times a SERS retiree returns to work for an employer covered by SERS after retirement. The retiree and the employer pay contributions for this reemployment. The benefits available to this reemployed retiree or the retiree’s beneficiary based on this employment are different than the retiree’s original benefit.   [Read More...]

A reemployed retiree may also be someone who retired from another Ohio state retirement system but is reemployed by a public employer covered under SERS. 

A reemployed retirement benefit does not affect the first or original retirement benefit under the payment plan selected by the retiree.  Any reemployment benefits are in addition to the benefits under the original retirement plan.

If the reemployed retiree did not designate a beneficiary for the reemployed account, then the beneficiary is the first one qualifying in the following order:  surviving spouse; children equally; surviving parents equally; or the retiree’s estate.

The only benefit available to the reemployed retiree’s beneficiary is a lump sum payment.  The actual amount of the lump sum payment is dependent on whether the retiree died before or after the retiree began receiving any reemployment monthly benefits.