At the March meeting of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Board, the Board voted in favor of two benefit plan changes — one that impacts current retirees, and one that could impact certain future retirees.
The approved changes take effect on July 1, 2022, and include:
- A one-time 3% cost-of-living increase (COLA) that will be paid to eligible benefit recipients. The COLA will be implemented as applied under current Ohio statute — that is:
- An increase of 3% of base benefit will be added to the monthly payment in fiscal year 2023 for benefit recipients who began receiving benefits on June 1, 2018, or earlier, and will apply to future monthly payments.
- The date of the increase is the anniversary date of retirement, which always falls on the first of the month. For example, any teacher who retired effective July 1 (2017 or earlier) will receive a COLA on July 1, 2022. A teacher who retired effective June 1 (2018 or earlier) will receive a COLA on June 1, 2023.
- Members who retired July 1, 2018, or later are not eligible for a COLA at this time (must have received benefits for 60 months to be eligible for COLA).
- For active members, elimination of the age 60 requirement for retirement age and service eligibility that was set to take effect in 2026. Now, the final change to the phased-in age and service requirements will be made Aug. 1, 2023, when 35 years of service will be required for an unreduced retirement.
In conjunction with the Inter-University Council (IUC), which represents the presidents of the four-year universities, we advocated to the STRS Board that any “benefit plan improvements” should include a reduction in contributing member contributions. While elimination of the age 60 requirement will be of benefit to teachers who began their careers fresh out of college, it will not benefit most higher education faculty, who do not begin their careers until much later and thus are unable to achieve 35 years of service prior to turning 60.
We will continue to advocate for plan changes that are more equitable among retirees and all types of active educators.