Other public pension systems have already taken steps to cut benefits.
Related: School employees protest pension benefit cuts
In April, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio voted 10-1 to indefinitely suspend the cost of living allowance given to retired teachers and future retirees. The fix, though, may not be enough to shore up the $72-billion fund and more cuts may be needed later, pension officials warned.
STRS covers 490,000 teachers and retirees in Ohio.
Retiree health care cuts looming for cops and firefighters
School Employees Retirement System, which covers 292,000 janitors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and retirees, got authority in the state budget bill to reduce its COLA. Currently, retirees get a fixed 3 percent annual COLA. SERS will link the rate to inflation with a 2.5 percent cap and pension trustees have the authority to suspend the payment if actuaries determine it’s necessary.
Health care costs squeeze Ohio’s public pension systems
The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund trustees are meeting Tuesday to continue debate over how to restructure its health care benefits for retired cops and firefighters. OP&F spokesman Dave Graham said the fund is in the process of hiring a consultant to advise OP&F on the issue. Starting in 2019, retired cops and firefighters will no longer receive health care benefits through the Ohio Police & Firefighters Pension Fund but instead will receive a stipend to buy coverage on the open market.
OP&F trustees are not expected to make any decisions on details this week, Graham said.
OP&F has $14.8 billion invested for the benefit of 58,000 police, firefighters, retirees and beneficiaries.
Watching your money
Public pension systems in Ohio cover about 1.75 million people, so any changes in benefits affect a lot of you. For that reason, we’ve watched closely over the health of the system, and what any cutbacks will mean to you.