Pension Benefits

Pension Payment Options

When you retire, CRS offers a variety of payment options that give you the flexibility to select the kind of payments that best fit your circumstances and retirement needs. A regular or whole life option provides a monthly pension benefit paid to you during your lifetime only.

Or you may choose one of four payment options that provides a reduced monthly pension benefit to you during your lifetime, and provides a monthly pension benefit to your spouse or your designated optionee for the duration of their lifetime after your death (if you die first).

If you are married, you must select one of the four options described below unless your spouse completes and signs a "Spousal Waiver of Joint and Survivor Annuity" that would permit you to choose the regular option or a different optionee. 

Option 1 - 100% Joint and Survivor Payment: In the event you die first, your surviving spouse or designated optionee receives 100% of the reduced benefit for the remainder of his or her lifetime.

Option 2 - 50% Joint And Survivor Payment: In the event you die first, your surviving spouse or designated optionee receives 50% of the reduced benefit for the remainder of his or her life.

Option 3 - 66 2/3% Joint and Survivor Payment: In the event you die first, your surviving spouse or designated optionee receives 66 2/3% of the reduced benefit for the remainder of his or her lifetime. If your spouse or designated optionee should die before you, you would receive 66 2/3% of the reduced benefit for the remainder of your life.

Option 4 - 80% Joint And Survivor Payment: In the event you die first, this option provides your surviving spouse or designated optionee with 80% of the reduced benefit for the remainder of his or her lifetime. If your spouse or designated optionee dies first, you receive 80% of the reduced benefit for the remainder of your life.

Early Retirement

Early retirement is available for employees who are 57 years of age with a minimum of 15 years service credit.  There is a substantial reduction in monthly pension benefits paid to those members who elect early retirement.

 

Death Benefits for Active Members with Spouse and/or Dependents

Refund of Contributions

If you die in service, your designated primary beneficiary(ies) is eligible 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. Federal taxes will be withheld from this particular payment (20% withholding if the beneficiary is the member’s legally married spouse; 10% withholding if the beneficiary is anyone else). The tax liability for the refund of contributions paid is the responsibility of the recipient.

Survivor Benefits

In the event that you die in service as an active employee of City of Cincinnati AND you have at least 18 months of service credit at the time of your death, the CRS provides Survivor Benefits to your legally married spouse and/or your eligible dependent children (the member’s naturally born or legally adopted child(ren) under the age of 18 years and unmarried).  Additional information regarding Survivor Benefits is available from the CRS Office.

Spousal 20-Year Service Credit Provision

If you die in service as an active employee of the City of Cincinnati and have at least 20 years service credit, your legally married spouse* could choose to receive a monthly pension benefit (calculated under Option 1 only per CMC 203.63)  at the earlier of:

1. the 1st day of the month following your 60th birthday; OR
2. the 1st day of the month following the date you would have reached 30 years of service had you not died; OR
3. the 1st day of the month following the date of your death IF you were already eligible to retire on or before the day you died.

*In order to be eligible for this benefit, the member’s legally married spouse MUST be designated as the member’s SOLE PRIMARY BENEFICIARY on the Beneficiary form on file in the CRS Office prior to the member’s death.

 

Death Benefits for Active Members without Spouse and/or Dependents

Refund of Contributions

If you die in service, your designated primary beneficiary is eligible 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. Federal taxes will be withheld from this particular payment (10% withholding). The tax liability for the refund of contributions paid is the responsibility of the recipient.

Death Benefits for Retired Members

The beneficiary(ies) of CRS Retirees who retired on or before July 1, 2011 are eligible to receive a $5,000 burial benefit.  Death Benefit payments for deceased Retirees normally take 60 to 90 days to process. The death benefit paid for a deceased CRS retiree is taxable for federal and state income tax purposes.  Federal taxes will be withheld from this particular payment (20% withholding if the beneficiary is the member’s spouse; 10% withholding if the beneficiary is anyone else). The tax liability for the death benefit paid is the responsibility of the recipient.

 

Separation From Employment Service

If you resign or are terminated from employment with the City of Cincinnati for any reason, prior to retirement eligibility, you are entitled to a refund of your employee pension contributions plus interest of 2% for funds held one year or more. The employer paid contributions do not accrue to individual member accounts.  If you have at least 5 years of service credit earned in the Cincinnati Retirement System, and you want to withdraw your pension contributions, you must complete, sign, and have notarized a Retirement Benefit Waiver form waiving your rights to any future benefits from the Cincinnati Retirement System. If you withdraw your contributions from the Cincinnati Retirement System, you will NOT be entitled to a pension upon reaching retirement eligibility.

Applications for refund of pension contributions (including rollovers to a qualified plan) are available at the Retirement Department located in Room 240 of Cincinnati City Hall. Refund Applications cannot be processed until the employee has been terminated in the City’s personnel and payroll system for at least 30 days.

You may choose only ONE of the following two options for the refund of your employee paid pension contributions.   No combinations are permitted.

Once submitted, a member’s application for a refund of contributions is irrevocable. Payment of refunded contributions may take 90 to 120 days from the employee’s termination in the City personnel and payroll system.

Benefit Waiver Form


Members with Outstanding Loans

 

Cash Refund of Contributions

In order to apply for a refund, your employment with the City of Cincinnati must be terminated as verified by your personnel record in CHRIS (Cincinnati Human Resources Information System).

You may request a refund of your employee paid pension contributions in the form of a check made payable to you.  In accordance with federal law, 20% of the refund will be withheld for federal taxes before any other payments are made from the refund.  Any unpaid loan balance will be deducted from the refund and is subject to the 20% tax. Any outstanding Court ordered payments against you will be deducted from the amount of the refund and paid to the appropriate governmental agency.     Return of Contribution Form - Cash

Direct Rollover of Contributions

You may request a direct transfer of your employee paid pension contributions (less any outstanding loan balance or outstanding court ordered payments) to an established qualified retirement plan, such as a 457 Deferred Compensation plan, a 401(K), or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Documentation of that established qualified account must be submitted by the member’s qualified plan administrator.  Return of Accumulated Contributions - Rollover

 

Deferred Retirement

If you resign or are terminated from employment with the City of Cincinnati for any reason prior to retirement eligibility AND you have at least 5 years of service credit with the Cincinnati Retirement System at the time you leave City service, you may choose to leave your pension contributions on deposit with the Cincinnati Retirement System and you will be eligible for a monthly pension benefit upon reaching retirement eligibility age.  Members who choose a deferred retirement are eligible for monthly pension benefits on the 1st day of the month following the member’s eligible birthday (Retirement eligibility rules are determined by the member’s group assignment).

 

Pension Limitations

Your pension benefit is limited by Section 203-33 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code that does not allow the retirement allowance to exceed 90% of the member’s Final Average Salary. Pension benefits paid to retired members are also limited by the provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code Section 415 (d) as required by the Cincinnati Municipal Code 203.123.