What is House Bill 1068 and who does it affect?

This bill requires all deputy sheriffs and county jailers to participate in the OPERS hazardous duty plan starting November 1, 2024. Deputy sheriffs and county jailers first hired on or after November 1, 2020, already participate as hazardous duty and are not affected by this bill. 

How can I get more information about this change?

We will provide tools during the fall including webinars, a purchase calculator, and mailing letters to keep you informed about the changes and your options. Use the sign-up box at the bottom of this page to be notified of updates. 

How is participating as Hazardous Duty different than as State and Local Government employee?

Hazardous Duty participation has a different contribution rate, computation factor and retirement eligibility requirements. 

  1. Contribution Rate: Hazardous Duty employees pay a higher contribution rate of 8% for the first 20 years of hazardous duty participating service. After contributing at the higher rate for 20 years, the employee will contribute at the non-hazardous duty rate (excluding Oklahoma Military Department firefighters). 
  2. Computation Factor: Hazardous Duty service has a higher computation factor of 2.5% for up to 20 years of Hazardous Duty service. All other service types will be calculated at the non-hazardous duty rate, which is 2% for most members. 
  3. Retirement Eligibility: Hazardous Duty employees may retire after 20 full years of full-time-equivalent employment in the hazardous duty plan. This eligibility option is in addition to the regular age and service requirements. 
Will my contribution rate change?

Hazardous Duty employees have a contribution rate of 8% for the first 20 years of hazardous duty participating service. After 20 years, you will contribute at the non-hazardous duty rate. If you are unsure of the rate you currently pay, contact your retirement coordinator. 

How will this affect my eligibility for normal and early retirement?

You can still retire under normal and early retirement eligibility requirements. In addition, Hazardous Duty employees may retire after 20 full years of full-time-equivalent employment in the hazardous duty plan. 

Will my previous service as a county deputy sheriff or jailer count toward the 20-year eligibility rule?

No. Only service accrued as Hazardous Duty service and prior eligible service purchased under the hazardous duty plan counts toward the 20-year eligibility rule. However, all your service, including previous service as a State and Local Government employee counts toward the other eligibility provisions.  

Can I convert my previous service as a deputy sheriff or jailer to hazardous duty service?

Yes. You can purchase prior service at actuarial cost after the law goes into effect November 1, 2024. Service purchased will count toward the 20-year retirement eligibility rule. Once purchased, this service will be calculated using the higher 2.5% computation factor. Check this page in November for a calculator to estimate the cost and more information on how to make the purchase. Subscribe below to receive an email when we updates.

Do I have to purchase my previous service?

You are not obligated to purchase prior service credit. You can purchase full or partial prior service credit. The decision to purchase full or partial credit must be made before July 1, 2026, and the choice is irrevocable.  

What is an actuarial purchase?

Actuarial cost represents the amount required to fund an increase in future lifetime benefits you would receive. The purchase is not just for the contributions that would have been paid. Instead, the purchase price considers the loss of missed earnings for the time funds were not invested, the member’s age and current salary. In general, the closer a member is to retirement, the more expensive this purchase will beCheck this page in November for a calculator to estimate the cost.

How do I get an estimate cost or make a purchase?
We are building a calculator to help you estimate the cost of purchasing prior hazardous duty service. You can only make this type of purchase after the law takes effect November 1, 2024. We will have the calculator, form and instructions for purchase available online at that time. Use the sign-up box at the bottom of this page to be notified or check this page for updates.
How will my retirement benefit be calculated?
Your gross annual retirement benefit is calculated using a formula multiplying your final average compensation, service credit and a computation factor. The computation factor for Hazardous Duty service is 0.025 (or 2.5%) for up to 20 years of Hazardous Duty service.

If you have non-hazardous duty service in OPERS, your benefit formula includes separate calculations for your hazardous duty and non-hazardous duty service, which are added together to create one single benefit. Non-hazardous duty service for most members is calculated using a 2.0% computation factor. Hazardous Duty service is calculated on full years. Additional months of hazardous duty will be calculated with other service at the non-hazardous duty rate.

What happens to my hazardous duty service if I change positions or OPERS employers?

If the position qualifies as Hazardous Duty, you will continue to accrue hazardous duty service. Hazardous Duty positions include:

  • Department of Corrections*:
    • Correctional Security Officer
    • Correctional Security Manager
    • Correctional Chief of Security
    • Probation and Parole Officer
    • Fugitive Apprehension Agents
  • Grand River Dam Authority Lake Patrol Officer
  • Oklahoma Military Department Firefighter
  • County Deputy Sherriff
  • County Jailer
  • Licensed Emergency Medical Personnel (first hired on or after November 1, 2024)

If your new position is not classified as hazardous duty, you will participate in OPERS as a State and Local Government employee. Your previous hazardous duty service will remain intact.

*Department of Corrections (DOC) employee who have at least five years of hazardous duty participating service and changes to another position within DOC may be required to continue participation under the hazardous duty provisions.

Can I continue in Step-Up once I am hazardous duty?

No. You are not eligible to participate in Step-Up while you are contributing at the higher 8% hazardous duty rate. However, once you complete 20 years of Hazardous Duty service your Step-Up participation will continue again.

May I return to work after I retire from my OPERS employer?

Yes. If you decide to return to work for an OPERS-participating employer, you pay contributions and earn service credit based on your position. You will also be subject to certain rules that may affect your benefit including “cooling off” periods and earnings limitations. Visit our Returning to Work policy for more details.

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