OPERS members have an alternative to purchasing service credit for service accrued with the Oklahoma Teachers’ retirement System (OTRS). Members can transport service accrued with OTRS in one of two methods. The Statutes in effect at the time of election to transport will govern the method available and the cost to the member. Transports cannot be revoked or refunded.
On or after July 1, 2000, an active OPERS member who is a member of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma (OTRS) who has NOT withdrawn his or her OTRS contributions, and whose last service with OTRS was with one of the employers listed below, may transport OTRS service to OPERS without additional cost to the member.
To make such a transport the member must provide notice to OTRS and OPERS. The notice shall include a list of the years to be transferred, and verification that the member is not receiving or eligible to receive retirement credit or benefits from such service in any other public retirement system.
An entity or institution within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
The State Board of Education
The State Board of Vocational & Technical Education
The Oklahoma Department of Vocational & Technical Education
The Oklahoma School of Science & Mathematics
The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology
The State Department of Rehabilitation Services
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
The Department of Corrections
The State Department of Education
The Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools
The Board of Regents of the Oklahoma Colleges
The Oklahoma Student Loan Authority
The Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma
Members who are not eligible to transport OTRS service under Method 1 may apply Method 2. Under Method 2 the member may either:
- Pay any difference between the amount of funds provided by the Teachers’ Retirement System and the cost of the service in OPERS to receive full credit for the years sought to be transported, or
- Receive prorated service credit for only the amount of service that could be purchased with the funds provided by the Teachers’ Retirement System. Any service credit that is not transported will be irrevocably canceled and cannot be reinstated, transported or purchased at any later date.
A member of OPERS who transports service credit from the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System to OPERS will receive credit for the transported service immediately upon payment of the funds required to transport the service. Members who transport pursuant to Method 2 are subject to the OPERS retirement eligibility requirements.
If the transporting member’s normal retirement date calculation is based upon the sum of the member’s age and number of years of credited service totaling 80 in OTRS, then the member shall retain 80 point eligibility in OPERS under either the Method 1 or the Method 2 transport.
Members who transport pursuant to Methods 1 or 2 will have all OTRS service credit cancelled. Certain active OTRS members have similar provisions for the transport of OPERS service. Those who must repay withdrawn OPERS contributions for the purpose of transporting OPERS service to OTRS may only transport service under Method 2.
The IRS imposes limits on retirement benefits and contributions. Fortunately, only a small percentage of members will be affected by these limits. These limits set a maximum amount on retirement benefits that a person can receive and the amount of contributions a member can make to the System each year, including purchases. OPERS will provide information to those members when and if benefits or contributions exceed the limits.