Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are ORS office hours?
You can call us between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information on how to reach us, click on Contact Us on the top navigation bar.
- It depends on when you began working for a participating school. Members newly hired after January 1, 1990, are in the Member Investment Plan (MIP). If you were hired before then, you're probably a Basic Plan member, unless you chose to switch to MIP when it was introduced in the late 1980s. Click here to learn more about our plans.
3. What does "buying time" mean?You can purchase service credit, or buy time, to increase your pension amount. To decide if buying time is beneficial to you, click on Service Credit - Earning and Purchasing on the left navigation bar.
4. When can I retire?Generally, MIP members can retire at age 46 with 30 years of service, age 55 with 15 years of service (with stipulations), age 60 with 10 years of service, or age 60 with 5 years of service (with stipulations). Basic Plan members can retire at age 55 with 30 years of service. Read more about how to qualify for a pension here.
- The pension formula multiplies your final average salary times 1.5% times your years of service. You can find the pension formula under About Your Plan on the left navigation bar. You can also use the Estimate Pension feature in miAccount and plug in scenarios to give you an idea of how much you can get and when.
- Pension payments are delivered on the 25th of each month. To learn more, click on After Retirement on the left navigation bar.
7. I am ending my public school employment. Can I get a benefit?If you leave school employment before you're eligible to retire, you can leave your contributions on account or request a refund. If you're vested, you'll probably want to leave your contributions and take a deferred retirement. Read more about deferred retirement.
8. What does my survivor need to do when I die?First, and most important, your survivor should contact ORS right away. ORS will then ask for some very specific information as well as a photocopy of the death certificate. We will then review your records to determine what, if anything, is payable. What happens next will depend on your member status at the time of your death.
- If you die while an active member.
- If you die as a deferred member.
- If you die after leaving employment and before being vested.
- If you die after you retire.
If you divorce while you are an active or deferred member, the court may order that a portion of your pension be paid to an alternate payee such as your former spouse or dependent child. The order (known as an eligible domestic relations order, or EDRO) must contain specific information in a specific format, and must be on file with ORS prior to your retirement effective date. Details and sample language can be found in the ORS publication Eligible Domestic Relations Orders.
The EDRO Act doesn't apply to a divorce after retirement. If you're already receiving your pension when you divorce, read more about divorce and your benefits.