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SERS Home  >  Members  >  Membership  >  Refunds
Refunds

After termination of your employment, you are entitled to a return of only the contributions you contributed and any amounts you paid for the purchase of service credit.

You are not required to request a refund; contributions may be left with SERS.  By keeping an account with SERS, you retain any service retirement or disability benefits you may be otherwise eligible for, or benefit protection for your survivors if they are qualified. 

Payment

You must complete an application for the refund of your accumulated contributions.

If you are also a member of State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) and/or Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), you have the option to refund your SERS account without affecting your membership or rights to either a benefit or refund of contributions under those systems. However, due to IRS regulations, you cannot refund your SERS account if you continue employment under either of those systems with the same public employer with whom your last SERS service was earned.

No refund is issued before three months after the termination of employment. If your contributions were made on a pre-tax basis under a “pick up” plan, the contributions are subject to taxes on payment unless you roll over the contributions to another tax-exempt plan as permitted under federal tax law. You will receive information on these options at the time you apply for a refund.

SERS cannot pay partial refunds of, or provide loans on, your accumulated contributions. No interest is paid
on a refund and you receive no part of the employer’s contributions.

Once a refund is paid, you lose any right to a retirement or disability benefit, and your dependents lose any right to survivor benefits.

Taxation

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.

Divorce

A refund may be subject to any support orders or division of property orders (DOPO) that were issued in divorce proceedings.

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 Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System (HPRS) 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 the member's school employer, payments may be made by way of payroll deduction on a tax-deferred basis.