Frequently Asked Questions - General
Members of the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System pay 8% of their salary towards retirement. Their employing agency pays 11% of their salary.
A member of the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System is eligible for retirement after completing 20 years of service.
Credited Service means the period of service used to determine the amount of benefits payable to the member. Credited Service is the period during which the member participated in the System as an eligible employee of one of the participating agencies.
If you were initially in the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System “OPERS" and were transferred into OLERS by legislation, that time with OPERS is treated as credited service. This service time will count as credit service and will count towards your necessary 20 years of service for retirement or vesting.
If you changed positions that moved you from OPERS to OLERS, then the service time had to be purchased within two (2) years of entering OLERS. For questions about purchasing additional time please contact our office. You can also purchase service time with the other State Pension Systems as well as long as you are not using that service time for a benefit with that agency. You can purchase up to 5 years of credited service from another state agency. However, this service does not count towards your twenty years for retirement. Once again you must purchase this time within two (2) years of becoming a member of OLERS.
You can purchase up to 5 years of prior law enforcement time. However, you must purchase the time within two (2) years of entering OLERS. This time will not count towards your initial twenty (20) years of service for retirement.
You can use up to one (1) year of sick leave towards your retirement. You can not use the year of sick leave to reach the necessary twenty (20) years of credited service. The sick leave only increases the years for benefit calculation purposes. If you enter the DROP plan, you can only use the sick leave that you have accrued at the time of electing DROP.
Yes. You can use sick leave if you vest. However, the sick leave time will not entitle you to begin receiving vested benefits any earlier. Once again the sick leave will only increase your monthly benefit once you begin to receive it.
No. If you are sixty-two (62) years of age and you have 10 years of service you are eligible for a retirement benefit. Also, if you are sixty-two (62) years of age and would have been vested had the member remained in OPERS instead of transferring to OLERS.
Vesting is when you complete ten (10) years of service with OLERS. If you have completed ten (10) years of service you are entitled to terminate service and elect a vested benefit. This benefit will be based on 2.5% for each year of credited service, multiplied by your final average salary. You are not entitled to begin to draw this benefit until which time you would have completed twenty (20) years of service.
Final Average Salary is the 30 highest consecutive paid gross salary.
You are entitled to a monthly benefit based on your final average salary, multiplied by 2.5% of each year of credited service. This monthly benefit is pro-rated on a monthly basis as well.
Eg. If a member has 20 years of service and his final average salary is $3,000.00 a month, his monthly benefit will be:
X 20 years
$1,500.00 per month.
Eg. If a member has 20 years and 6 months of service and his final average salary is $3,000.00 a month his monthly benefit will be:
$3,000.00 75.00 yearly amount 6.25
X 2.5% X 12 months X 6
75.00 6.25 monthly amount $37.50
X 20 years
$1,537.50 a month
No, you can continue to work until which time you reach that you reach the age of sixty (60) years of age. If you have reached the age of sixty (60) and you have completed twenty (20) years of service, you will be retired by the system. However you make application to remain in the system and come before the board to prove that you are capable of performing your duties.
“DROP" stands for Deferred Retirement Option Plan. The Deferred Retirement Plan was started to give retirees more options when it came to retirement. DROP allows the members with more than twenty (20) years of service the opportunity to save their monthly retirement benefit and continue to work for their employing agency for a maximum of five (5) additional years. When you enter DROP your monthly benefit amount is calculated and frozen at that time. The only increases that will be made to your benefit will be COLAS granted by the legislature. Your monthly benefit will be put into an account for you along with half of the 10% employer contributions made by your employing agency. This account will accrue interest. The interest rate will be 2% points less than the investment return of the fund for the fiscal year, or at a minimum, the actuarial assumed interest rate.
Back Drop is the same thing as DROP, only you do not have to elect to enter the plan until you are ready to actually leave the service of your agency. Back DROP gives you more freedom with your retirement decisions. The accumulated total and monthly benefit is the same for both DROP and Back DROP when you are looking at the same five year period.
No. This is the main drawback of Back DROP. If something happens to you before you make the Back DROP election, your spouse will only be entitled to an increased benefit. They will not be entitled to elect it and have the total accumulation. However, at the present time the OLERS is aggressively pursuing this through the legislative process.
Yes. Once your five (5) months is completed, you must withdraw your total accumulated monies from DROP. You have the option to take a cash payment or roll it directly into some other type of financial vehicle. When making the decision of what to do with your DROP money, please seek financial advice. There are many tax ramifications if you do not make wise decisions.