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FAQ - Retirement

We frequently receive calls and e mails from members regarding retirement and the STRS (State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio) fund. The questions come from members at all stages of their careers, not just those near retirement. Issues such as disability retirement, withdrawal of funds due to a move or career change, or purchase of service credit can arise at any time. The Union stands ready to assist members with any questions on retirement. We will also draft the necessary letters and help members complete their retirement applications (which you can download here)
STRS has a great website at where you can get answers regarding any retirement issue. They have an STRS FAQ that you can download here.  Here are some FAQ’s that apply mainly to retirement in our district and related Union services.
Q. When should I notify the Board of my intention to retire?
A. No later than March 1st if you are eligible for the $24,000 incentive. Otherwise, the choice is yours. We do encourage early notification especially if layoffs are looming.
Q. How and when do I get the $24,000 retirement incentive?
A. If you are eligible for the incentive (must have at least 10 years in CHUH, but can't have more than 30 STRS years.  Have to be eligible to retire through STRS), we will draft and deliver the necessary letter for you to get the incentive. The incentive is paid in two lump sums in July of the year you retire and in July of the year following your retirement.  That being said, if a member's personal situation changes after the letter is submitted and wants/needs the job back, then we may end up having to fight that battle in court.  According to our contract if you are 55 or older in the year of separation than you have to set up an account with the annuity company selected by the Board.  This system allows you to avoid certain taxes.  You can move this money after it comes to your account without penalty. 
Q. What do I need to do if I want to purchase service credit from teaching in another state or private school, or to buy back time for a leave of absence?
A. You will need to contact STRS by phone or online; secure the appropriate forms; which must be completed by your previous employer; and then make arrangements to purchase directly through STRS or via payroll deduction.  Be aware that after arrangements are made to take money pre-tax from your pay, that more will be taken out toward May and June since we are only paid 10 months for the year.  Plan ahead.
Q. How do I get help from the Union in preparing for my retirement?
A. Just call us for an appointment. Every member who retires meets with us. We will draft the necessary letters and assist you in the STRS application process
Q. When is retirement “official” and when will I get my first STRS check?
A. For a June departure date, the official retirement date is July 1. During the school year, retirements become official on the first of the month after your last day of teaching. Checks usually arrive within two weeks after retirement is official.
Q. How do I calculate my retirement severance pay, and when will I get it?
A. For members who are retiring after more than 10 years of service in CHUH:  Your severance pay is based on your accumulation of sick leave (1/4 of up to 360 days; plus 1/8 of 361-440 accumulated sick days). Divide your sick leave hours by 7.5 and then divide by 4. The result is your number of days for which you will be paid. Multiply that number times your daily rate of pay (gross salary divided by 190). In addition, any personal days left over cash in at your full daily rate.
For members who are retiring with fewer than 10 years service in CHUH, but with at least 10 years of state government service:  Your severance pay is 1/4 of up to 120 sick days.  In other words, the maximum severance is 30 days.
Members interested can set up an account to put these monies in that defer taxes.  In 2015, for people 55 and older, the maximum annual contribution to both 457 adn 403b accounts is $24,000 (totally separate from the incentive money that goes into an employer special pay plan).  You can set this kind of arrangement up through carriers/agents on the CHUH list of vendors or 457 accounts can be set up through our credit union.
Q. What do I do if I decide to leave teaching and want to withdraw my STRS account?
A. Secure an account withdrawal form from STRS. You can allocate the withdrawal to a tax deferred instrument subject to the rules and applicable IRS codes. If you think you may return to teaching or perform other public service, we advise you not to withdraw your STRS account.  It is important to note that you may only withdraw the contribution plus interest YOU made to STRS plus up to an additional 50% with interest -  the Board's contribution is lost to you.
Q. Do my insurance benefits through the district continue through the summer if I retire in June?
A. Your benefits will continue through August 31st if you retire after completing the school year.
Q. I have children and a spouse, can I pay the Board under the COBRA law to maintain their benefits?
A. Yes, but it’s expensive and you have to pay an additional 2% over the premium. You may want to cost out single plans through various insurance carriers.
Q. How much will health care insurance cost when I retire?
A. As of January 2018 single coverage for members with 30 years in STRS (without medicare) is between $351 and $399 per month and the benefits are not as rich as in our plan. Adding a spouse will push the cost between $816 and $927 per month ($226 to $243 for dependents under age 26).  These numbers assume a full pension.  When you reach medicare age the numbers drop dramatically; Single between $111 and $249, additional for a spouse between $300 and $464
Q. How soon after I retire can I get another teaching job?
A. You must wait at least 60 days before accepting an STRS covered position. No wait is required for private school teaching.
Q. What happens if I change my mind after I have submitted my retirement paperwork?

A. A serious problem could arise. The Board believes that once you submit a notice of retirement, it can not be rescinded. We have argued that a teacher retires through STRS, and not the district and therefore can rescind retirement any time prior to receiving retirement pension benefits. The last time this conflict arose, the member who was involved had a change of heart again and decided to retire after all, so the issue was moot.  You should not sign a letter if you are not certain of your intent.

Q.  How do I change my beneficiary designation for State Teachers Retirement?

A.  Use the Designation of Beneficiaries Before Benefit Payments for Defined Benefit Plan Participants form from the STRS website ( under coverage while working) or (link here )

updated 7.17

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