Membership Eligibility

All employees of the City of Cincinnati are eligible for membership in the 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).

Pension Plan FAQs 2012

When Participation Begins

You are enrolled in the plan immediately upon becoming an eligible employee. You begin earning service on the first day of work and continue earning service credit until your employment with the City ends.

Full-time employees who are members of the Cincinnati Retirement System earn 1 year of service credit for 2080 paid regular hours during a calendar year; part-time employees who are members of CRS earn service credit on a prorated basis.

For example, an employee who was paid for 1500 regular hours in a calendar year would receive 0.72 service credit (1500/2080) 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 do not receive a monthly retirement benefit from the System; however, you are entitled to a refund of your contributions to the plan, plus interest. 

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.