Every account you maintain – bank, credit card, even Netflix – has a unique account number that identifies you as a member. The same is true at OPERS. Every member has a unique identifier and you can find this number on most pieces of communication received from OPERS.
Why do you need to know your OPERS Member ID?
Historically, your Social Security number (SSN) has served as your primary identification with OPERS. However, for the past several years, correspondence, annual statements and benefit notices have included your OPERS Member ID instead of your SSN. Please use your member ID any time you interact with OPERS. If you contact OPERS by phone or through the mail, please include your member ID and not your SSN. OPERS is moving away from the use of SSNs over the phone, by email, or in person. Eventually, OPERS will stop asking for your SSN on many of our forms, as well. You will need to know your OPERS member ID for your forms to be accepted.
Where to find your OPERS Member ID?
Locating your member ID is as easy as pulling out your most recent communication from OPERS. Annual statements are mailed every September for active members and January for retired and vested members. You will find your member ID printed in the top right corner under your name.
Securing Your Personal Information
The Social Security Administration strongly urges all organizations to move away from SSNs and start using alternative identifiers in an effort to curtail identity theft. Identity thieves may pose as someone who legitimately needs information from you. Once armed with a SSN, they gain access to personal information and the ability to open credit accounts. This can lead to monetary losses and can wreak havoc on your personal and financial reputation. To safeguard yourself from being a victim, the Federal Trade Commission1 recommends asking a few questions before sharing your SSN.
- Why do you need it?
- How it will be used?
- How will you protect it?
- What happens if I don’t share the number?
- Can I use a different kind of identification?
Sometimes sharing your SSN is necessary to receive a service or benefit. For example, your SSN may be used by an employer, financial institution or a business for wage and tax reporting purposes or to check your credit. However, you can never be too protective. Those seeking your SSN for a legitimate purpose will not hesitate to answer your questions. OPERS will continue to ask for your SSN on many of our forms, but we will no longer ask for your SSN over the phone or by email. To identify yourself, we will ask for your OPERS member ID. Please keep that number accessible when contacting OPERS.
This article was first published in the Summer 2016 edition of the Retiring Right newsletter. Click here to view other newsletters. Not receiving your newsletter, update your address by completing the Change of Address form.