At retirement, you will have a choice between four retirement benefit options. All four options have one thing in common: each will provide you, the member, a benefit for the remainder of your life. The options differ in what happens to the benefit after you pass away.

Maximum

Single-Life Annuity

Under the Maximum benefit option, you will receive full, unreduced benefits. The Maximum benefit is paid monthly for your lifetime and ceases the last day of the month in which you pass away. No further monthly benefits are paid. If you are married at retirement, your spouse must consent to your choice of the Maximum benefit.

Option A

1/2 Joint and Survivor Annuity

Under this option, you will receive a reduced retirement benefit for life. After your 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 specific person.

Option B

100% Joint and Survivor Annuity

Under this option, you will receive a reduced retirement benefit for life. After your death, the same reduced monthly benefit will be paid to your surviving joint annuitant for his or her lifetime. The joint annuitant must be a specific person – who is no more than 10 years younger than you, unless that person is your spouse. If you are married at retirement, your spouse must consent to your choice of Option B.

Option C

Single-Life Annuity with 10-Year Certain Period

Under this option, you will receive a reduced retirement benefit for life. If you pass away within the first 10 years of benefit payments, payments will be made to your beneficiary(ies) for the balance of the 10-year period. If you live longer than 10 years after your retirement date, no monthly benefits will be paid to the beneficiary(ies) upon your death. Your beneficiary does not have to be a specific person and may be changed at any time during the 10-year period.

Married Members

You must retire, and name your spouse, under Option A if you are married at retirement – unless your spouse consents to you choosing a different option. Your spouse’s consent is also required if you choose someone other than your spouse as your joint annuitant. If you are divorced or your spouse is deceased, you must provide proof of the divorce or death at retirement.

Joint Annuitant and Beneficiary….What is the difference?

Joint Annuitant – A specific person (not a trust, charity, etc.) who you designate to receive a lifetime retirement benefit under Option A or B once you pass away. A joint annuitant designation cannot be changed after retirement.

Beneficiary – A person or entity you designate to receive accumulated contributions, death benefit or retirement benefit under Option C. Unlike a joint annuitant, a beneficiary does not have the right to a lifetime benefit. The beneficiary is not required to be a specific person (can be a trust, charity, etc.), and may be changed at any time by submitting a new beneficiary designation form.

Can I Change My Option?

Your chosen retirement benefit option may not be changed on or after the effective retirement date. However, if your joint annuitant – under Option A or B passes away before you do, you must contact OPERS and provide a certified death certificate. At that point, you will begin receiving benefits under the Maximum benefit option. No other person may be substituted. 

A member’s joint annuitant cannot be changed after retirement. However, beneficiaries under Option C can be changed at any time after retirement.