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Benefits Calculation for Ohio Police & Firefighters

Once the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund approves your disability application, you will want to know how your monthly benefit has been calculated. Below is a summary of how the Police and Fire Pension Fund will calculate your benefit and the credits you may receive. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact our Ohio workers' compensation attorneys to discuss your possible benefits.

Benefit Calculation Methods

The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund ("Police & Fire") will calculate your disability retirement benefit using the Cost-of-Living Allowance ("COLA") method, unless you chose to have it calculated under the Non-COLA method. You may choose the Non-COLA method only if you had at least 15 years of service credit as of January 1, 1989.

The Cost-of-Living Allowance Method

Under the COLA method, Police & Fire calculates your disability benefit by using the average of your three (3) highest years of salary, compensation and earnings (but not including any terminal pay such as unused sick leave, vacation, personal leave, etc.), and multiplying that amount by the relevant percentage. Under this method, Police & Fire awards you a cost-of-living increase equal to 3 percent of your base pension benefit on the anniversary of your retirement date each year.

The Non-Cost-of-Living Allowance Method

If you had at least 15 years of service credit as of January 1, 1989, and elected the Non-COLA method, Police & Fire calculates your disability benefit by using your average annual salary, including any allowable terminal pay, and multiplying that amount by the relevant percentage, subject to certain statutory and administrative limitations. Since the salary used for pension calculation purposes is higher than the COLA calculation, the Non-COLA method provides for no cost-of-living increases to your benefits.

Types of Credit - Service Credit

Police & Fire measures "service credit" in years, months and days. It may or may not be used in determining the size of your monthly benefit amount. At the time of your retirement, Police & Fire will provide you with information to determine whether it would be to your advantage to purchase any available service credit.

You may acquire service credit in one of the following ways:

  • By contributing a certain percentage of your salary to Police & Fire concurrent with your police or fire employment;
  • By purchasing credit for active military duty, certain types of full-time Ohio public service, and full-time Federal or public out-of-state service from Police & Fire;
  • By transferring credit for full-time Ohio public service from one of the other Ohio retirement systems, the Cincinnati Retirement System, or the State Highway Patrol Retirement System, with interest, to Police & Fire;
  • By restoring canceled credit by re-depositing withdrawn contributions with interest with Police & Fire; or
  • By qualifying for grants of service credit.

Types of Credit – Contributing Credit

You may have earned the bulk of your credit by working as a full-time police officer or firefighter with a qualifying employer in the State of Ohio and making contributions to Police & Fire. Police & Fire does not accept contributions for volunteer or part-time service, nor does Police & Fire grant credit for periods of service which were canceled due to a refund of contributions unless a restoration of the withdrawn contributions plus interest occurs. In addition, you cannot earn Police & Fire service credit while also earning service credit in another retirement system during the same time period.

Types of Credit – Purchased Credit

Subject to certain restrictions, you may purchase credit for full-time service rendered in Ohio under any of the following retirement systems:

  • Public Employees Retirement System;
  • School Employees Retirement System;
  • Cincinnati Retirement System;
  • State Teachers Retirement System; and
  • State Highway Patrol Retirement System.

In addition, you may purchase service credit for time served in active military duty, active military duty for training, initial active military duty for training, inactive military duty training, full-time national guard duty, and for time you are absent for an examination to determine your fitness to perform military duty, provided you were honorably discharged and the appropriate paperwork is filed with Police & Fire supporting your service. There are certain conditions and limitations. Also, you may purchase credit for time during which you were a prisoner of war.

The above information is intended solely as an overview. It is advisable that you contact a Columbus disability attorney from Charles Zamora Co., L.P.A. to assess the merits of your individual claim.

Please call us at (614) 344-6822 to discuss the specifics of your case.

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