A retiring member has a choice between four different payment arrangements. These arrangements are called retirement options. Each of these payment options have one thing in common: each will provide the retired member a benefit for the remainder of his/her life. The options differ in what happens to the benefit upon the death of the member.
A member who chooses to retire with the Maximum benefit will receive full, unreduced benefits. The Maximum benefit is paid monthly for the member's lifetime and ceases the last day of the month in which he or she dies. No further monthly benefits are paid to anyone under the Maximum benefit. If a member is married at retirement, the spouse must consent to the member choosing the Maximum benefit.
1/2 Joint and Survivor Annuity
Under this option, the retiring member will receive a reduced retirement benefit for life. After the member's death, one-half of the member's reduced retirement benefit will be paid to the surviving joint annuitant for his or her lifetime. The joint annuitant must be a natural person.
100% Joint and Survivor Annuity
Under this option, a reduced retirement benefit is paid to the retiring member during the member's lifetime. After the member's death, the surviving joint annuitant will be paid the same reduced monthly benefit the member received for his or her lifetime. The joint annuitant must be a natural person. If a member is married, the spouse must consent to the member choosing Option B. Option B is only available to members who choose their spouse as joint annuitant or who choose a non-spouse joint annuitant who is no more than 10 years younger than the member.
Single-Life Annuity with 10-Year Certain Period
Under this option, a reduced retirement benefit is paid to the retiring member for life. If the member dies within the first 10 years of benefit payments, the payment will be made to the named beneficiaries for ONLY the balance of the ten year period. If the member lives longer than 10 years after his/her retirement date, no monthly benefits will be paid to the beneficiary upon the member's death. The member's beneficiary does not have to be a natural person.
Notice Regarding Spouse Consent:
All married members must retire under Option A unless the member's spouse consents to the member's retirement under one of the other types of retirement options. If the member is divorced or the member's spouse is deceased, the member must provide proof of the divorce or death at retirement.
Joint Annuitant and Beneficiary....What's the difference?
Joint Annuitant - A natural person who is designated by a member to receive a lifetime retirement benefit under Option A or B after the death of the member. A joint annuitant designation cannot be changed after retirement.
Beneficiary - A person or entity designated by a member to receive the member's accumulated contributions, death benefit or a retirement benefit under Option C. Unlike a joint annuitant, a beneficiary does not have the right to a lifetime benefit. Also, the member may change a beneficiary at any time.
Can I Change My Option?
The type of retirement option which is chosen may not be changed on or after the effective date of retirement for any reason except that members who retire under Option A or Option B may change their benefit option back to the Maximum benefit (no option, no reduction in benefits) upon the death of the member's selected joint annuitant. No other person may be substituted.
The request to change to a Maximum benefit must be made in writing by the retired member and must include a certified death certificate of the joint annuitant. The increased benefit becomes effective the first day of the month following the death of the joint annuitant if OPERS receives the member's written request and the joint annuitant's death certificate in a timely manner.
A member's joint annuitant cannot be changed after retirement. However, beneficiaries under Option C can be changed at any time after retirement.