A member is guaranteed a return of the total amount of contributions deducted from the member’s earnings and paid to SERS. Upon leaving public employment, the member may request a refund of these contributions at any time.
A member is not required to request a refund; contributions may be left with SERS. By keeping an account with SERS, a member retains any service retirement or disability benefits the member may be otherwise eligible for, or benefit protection for the member’s survivors if they are qualified.
The refund must be for the entire amount of the member’s contributions; there are no partial refunds or loans available from a member’s account.
The refund is payable no earlier than three months after the end of the member’s employment. If the member returns to an employer covered by SERS within the three months, SERS cannot issue a refund.
If the member is also a member of STRS or OPERS, SERS cannot issue any refund as long as a member continues to be a member of these retirement systems.
All or a portion of a member’s refund may be subject to federal and state income tax. The taxes may be avoided if the refund is rolled over to another qualified plan. More information is available in the Special Notice Regarding Your SERS Lump Sum Payment.
Repaying a Refund
After establishing one-and-one-half (1½) years of new service credit with SERS, STRS, OPERS, the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund (OP&F) or the State Highway Patrol Retirement System (SHPRS) a member may restore SERS credit lost due to a refund by repaying the refunded contributions plus interest.
Refunded service may be restored by one payment or installment payments to SERS Alternatively, if offered by your school employer, payments may be made by way of payroll deduction on a tax-deferred basis.