Congratulations! You have made the decision to start the retirement process. Retiring from work is a major milestone, and one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. Retirement looks and feels different to each individual, but OPERS has many resources available to help you understand planning and timelines.
Retirement planning is a process. But don’t let that worry you. The dedicated OPERS staff will assist you with every step from initial planning until you receive your first retirement benefit. We are partners in your retirement process. Your goal is to have a comfortable transition into retirement. Our goal is to help you achieve it.
You may be wondering

The information below will answer those and many more questions you may have.

Retirement Timeline

Two Years Before Retirement: Attend Pre-Retirement Seminar

Plan to attend an OPERS Pre-Retirement Seminar when you are at least two years away from being eligible to retire. The seminar will cover the retirement forms, process and much more.

At Least Three to Six Months Before Retirement: Contact Retirement Coordinator

You will start the process by contacting your Retirement Coordinator to obtain the Retirement Application Packet. Your coordinator will assist you in completing a Retirement Application, which starts the retirement process and is used to select your retirement date and benefit option. Many coordinators have their own deadlines for retirement applications. We recommend meeting with your coordinator no less than 90 days before your planned retirement date. OPERS retirement dates are always the first day of a given month.

At least 60 Days Before Retirement: Application Deadline

Submitting your Retirement Application begins the retirement process. Submit your Retirement Application with the following forms(included in the application packet)and documents:

  • Direct Deposit Authorization
  • Withholding Preference Certificate
  • Beneficiary Designation for Retiree Death Benefits
  • Vital documents: *
    • Proof of birth (you and your joint annuitant). Acceptable documents include a valid, unexpired driver’s license, passport or birth certificate. Please see Acceptable Forms of Proof of Birth Document List or contact OPERS for more information.
    • Marriage license, divorce decree and/or spouse’s death certificate
    • *Legible copies of these documents are acceptable. You may be able to request copies of vital documents at www.usa.gov/replace-vital-documents. Documents will not be returned.

Your completed application must be received in the OPERS office in Oklahoma City at least 60 days before your retirement date (see Dates and Deadlines). We cannot accept retirement applications more than six months in advance for a retirement date.

45 Days Before Retirement: Acknowledgement and Paperwork

Approximately 45 days before your retirement date, OPERS will send you an Acknowledgement Letter requesting any missing documents required to complete your retirement. If you do not provide these documents by the specified due date, the payment of your retirement benefits will be delayed until the end of the following month.

15 Days Before Retirement: Preliminary Benefit Statement

Approximately 15 days before your retirement date, OPERS will send you a Preliminary Benefit Statement, which will provide the following information:

  • An accounting of your total service credit in OPERS;
  • An estimate of your gross monthly benefit amount; and
  • The date your first two benefit payments will be issued.

You will also receive information about the Medicare Gap Benefit Option, and rules for returning to work after retirement.

Retirement Date

Congratulations! Your retirement is officially the first day of the month. OPERS will process your retirement benefit according to your wishes. All requests for information from OPERS must be submitted before your retirement date.

55 Days After Retirement: Final Letter

Approximately 55 days after your chosen retirement date, OPERS will send you a final letter just before your first two months of benefit payments are issued stating the following: 

  • A final statement of benefits (gross benefit amount, withholding for insurance, federal and state income tax, and net amount); and,
  • A statement showing the total contributions (both after tax and pre-tax) you have paid into OPERS.

60 Days After Retirement: Direct Deposit Retirement Benefit

Your first two months of benefit payments will be deposited on the last working day of the second month of your retirement (about 60 days after your retirement date). For example, if you retire July 1, your first two benefits will be deposited the last working day of August. There will be two deposits, one for the first month and one for the second month.

Thereafter, benefit payments will be made on the last working day of each month.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a Retirement Application Packet?

Contact your retirement coordinator no less than three months before your retirement date to request a Retirement Application Packet. Your retirement coordinator is required to complete a portion of your application and may have their own deadlines.

How do I get a Retirement Application Packet if I am vested and do not have a Retirement Coordinator?
If you have vested and kept your address updated with OPERS, you will receive a retirement packet in the mail a couple months before your first eligible retirement date. You can also contact OPERS if you did receive a packet or would like to get started on the paperwork earlier
What if I don’t have 60 days before my employment ends?
It may be the case you are eligible for either early or normal retirement at the time your employment terminates. OPERS requires notice of your intention to retire at least 60 days prior to your retirement date. In some cases, you do not have 60 days before your employment ends in which to notify OPERS. In such cases, you have two choices.
 

  • You may seek to have the Executive Director waive the 60-day notice requirement; or,
  • You may, at the time your employment terminates, elect a vested benefit and then give notice to OPERS of your intention to retire.
Can I get an exception to the 60-day notice requirement?
Exceptions to the 60-day requirement can be granted only through a formal waiver granted by the OPERS Executive Director. Good cause, such as health problems or unforeseeable emergency, must be shown before the Executive Director will grant a waiver.
Can I postpone or cancel my retirement?

Once you have submitted your Retirement Application, you may only postpone, cancel, or change your retirement in writing before the effective retirement date. If you postpone or cancel your retirement and you wish to retire at a later date, you must complete a new Retirement Application. If the retirement is canceled, you must again meet the 60-day notice requirement. We also recommend talking to your employer first about postponing or canceling your retirement before contacting OPERS.

Can I change my retirement benefit option?

You can only change your retirement benefit option and/or joint annuitant in writing before the effective retirement date.

The type of benefit payment may not be changed on or after the effective date of retirement. If you have chosen to retire under a retirement option, neither your option nor your joint-annuitant may be changed on or after your retirement date. For those who retire from OPERS under Option A or Option B, they may change their benefit option to the Maximum benefit (no survivor option, no reduction in benefits) upon the death of the member’s selected joint-annuitant.

For more information, check out our Retirement Options.