All employees of the City of Cincinnati are required to be members of the Cincinnati Retirement System with the following exceptions:

Active and Retired police officers and firefighters who are members of the State of Ohio Police and Firemen’s Disability and Pension Fund.
Elected officials.
Persons hired after June 30, 1979 as participants in programs authorized, undertaken, or financed pursuant to the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA).

You are enrolled as a member of the Cincinnati Retirement System immediately upon becoming an eligible employee and you remain a member for the duration of your employment with the City of Cincinnati.

Pension Plan FAQs 2012


Earning Service Credit

You begin earning service credit on the first day of work and continue earning service credit until your employment with the City ends.

All employees who are members of the Cincinnati Retirement System earn service credit for every paid regular (base) hour during a calendar year, up to a maximum of 1.0 year of service credit for 2080 paid base hours in a calendar year. No service credit is earned for overtime hours paid.

For example, an employee who is paid for 1500 regular hours in a calendar year will receive 0.72 service credit (1500/2080) for that year. An employee who is paid for 2080 regular hours in a calendar year will receive 1.0 service credit (2080/2080) for that year.

You DO NOT earn service credit for any period of unpaid service, unless you are on military leave and have met any necessary requirements for that leave.


Vesting in Your Benefit

You are fully vested in the System once you have earned five years of service credit. You must be vested in the System before you are eligible for a retirement benefit from the System. Once vested, you are entitled to a monthly retirement benefit from the plan upon meeting eligibility requirements for retirement from City service. If a vested employee leaves City service prior to retirement eligibility age, but leaves their pension contributions on deposit with the Cincinnati Retirement System, that employee is entitled to a retirement benefit according to the retirement eligibility age in effect at the time of the employee's separation from service.

If you leave City service before you become vested, you are not eligible to receive a monthly retirement benefit from the System; however, you are entitled to receive a refund of your accumulated CRS contributions (member contributions ONLY) plus any accumulated interest payable.  The employer paid contributions do not accrue to individual accounts.

Vested employees MAY withdraw their contributions to the System upon termination of City service, but forfeit their eligibility for ALL retirement benefits and MUST sign a Waiver of Retirement Benefits.


Employee Contributions

The employee contribution rate is currently 9.0% of your earnings and pension contributions are shown on your paycheck. Employee pension contributions are pre-tax deductions from your paycheck. Because the taxes on the retirement contributions are deferred, future retirement benefits are taxable.



Each active member of the Cincinnati Retirement System may designate a primary beneficiary and an alternate beneficiary. In the event of your death in service, your designated primary beneficiary will receive the refund of your employee paid pension contributions.  You should review your Beneficiary Designations annually and you can change your beneficiary designations at any time.

Life happens quickly, such as marriage, divorce, births and deaths, etc. Make certain you update any changes in designated beneficiaries with CRS. Please remember that the beneficiary forms for the Cincinnati Retirement System are different from the beneficiary forms used for employer provided life insurance benefits administered by the City’s Risk Management Division. Beneficiary Change forms are available in the CRS Office, City Hall, 801 Plum Street, Room 240.