Your Questions Answered
OMERS Member Services Representatives answer your frequently asked questions
How can I maximize my OMERS pension?
If you have any service with an OMERS employer that is not already credited on your record, you may be able to purchase that time.
This includes summer work, part-time work or previously refunded time.
What does the maximum transfer value in my commuted value option mean?
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) limits the portion of the commuted value that can be paid directly to a tax-sheltered vehicle. The amount above the maximum transfer value must be taken in cash.
What do I need to do to transfer funds to my AVC account?
The easiest and fastest way is to initiate your transfer is on myOMERS. myOMERS pre-populates the T2033 tax form with your information as well as OMERS transfer authorization and information.
Or you can complete the “Transferring funds to your AVC account” package (), which includes the tax forms and transfer authorization on omers.com. We have highlighted the areas that require completion.
You need to determine if you want to transfer some or all of the funds from your existing RRSP, provide the current RRSP account number and financial institution information (including the full address).
What happens if I leave my employer before I'm 55 and my normal retirement age is 65?
You are too young to start your pension. OMERS early retirement age is 55.
If you terminate before being entitled to an immediate pension, OMERS mails you a benefits option form.
Your options are:
Keep your pension with OMERS and receive a future stream of lifetime retirement income. You can start your pension any time after you turn 55;
Merge your previous OMERS record with a new OMERS membership (if you start working with a new OMERS employer);
Transfer your benefits to another registered pension plan in Canada;
Transfer the commuted value of your OMERS benefits to locked-in retirement vehicle at financial institution of your choice.
The commuted value is the present value of the OMERS pension calculated at a predetermined rate.
What happens to my pension if I get sick/injured?
OMERS offers two disability benefits: a disability waiver, which allows your pension to grow without more contributions from you, and a disability pension. The best option for you will depend on your personal circumstances.
If you are off work for medical reasons for more than four months, your employer will notify OMERS of your disability. OMERS will contact you to let you know your options and what information is required. This can continue for as long as you meet the medical requirements, return to work or reach your normal retirement age.
If you are deemed totally and permanently disabled, you may be able to start a disability pension. There is no age restriction on the disability pension; however, if you are on long-term disability (LTD), we would recommend you reach out to the LTD carrier to ensure that the pension doesn't affect your LTD payments. A disability pension would provide an unreduced early retirement pension regardless of your service or factor.
What If I’m not approved for disability benefits?
If you do not medically qualify, the time off work would still be available to purchase through your employer.
When does OMERS pay pensions?
OMERS pays pensions on the first banking day of the month for that month (i.e. February 1 payment is for the month of February).
We recommend that you sign up for direct deposit to receive your pension quickly and easily.
If you receive your pension payment by cheque, it is mailed one week prior to the end of the month to ensure you receive it on time.
How do I get a pension estimate?
There are three ways to request a pension estimate:
Call Member Services Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Estimates initiated via myOMERS are the fastest way to receive your estimates. In many cases, they are produced instantly. myOMERS produces a more detailed version of the estimate that you would get if you requested an estimate through Member Services.
You can request estimates for pensions that start as early as 10 years before your normal retirement date.
When can I access my AVC funds?
The withdrawal window is open from March 1 to April 30 each year.
Active members can withdraw up to a maximum of 20% of the prior years’ balance.
If you withdraw the 20% in four consecutive years, you can withdraw the entire remaining balance in the fifth year. Any withdrawal from an AVC account by an active member must be a minimum of $500.
Retired and deferred members can withdraw their entire account balance within six months after leaving their OMERS employer and annually during the March/April withdrawal window after that non-locked-in funds can be withdrawn in cash or transferred to an RRSP, locked-in funds must be transferred to a locked-in retirement account.
Once I start my pension, will my pension increase?
OMERS applies an annual cost of living increase that is based on the consumer price index.
Pensions that started in the last 12 months receive a pro-rated increase.
Pensions that started in December of the current year do not receive an increase.
What will my spouse/children receive if I pass away after starting to collect my pension?
If you pass away after starting your pension, your retirement date spouse will receive 66 2/3% of your lifetime pension, unless they signed the appropriate waiver within the necessary period or unless you were living separate and apart from them at the date of retirement.
If you have no retirement date spouse but you have a death date spouse, that spouse will receive 66/23% of your pension, unless they signed the appropriate waiver or you were living separate and apart from them at the date of death.
If you had no eligible spouse, 66 2/3% of your lifetime pension will be shared equally between any eligible dependent children for as long as each of them is eligible.
When there is an eligible spouse and eligible dependent children, an additional 10% is payable to the spouse for each child, if the spouse is responsible for the child, up to a total of 100% of your benefit.
Unless disabled, children’s benefits stop at age 19 if they are no longer in full-time attendance at school, but can continue up to 25 years old if they continue in full-time school. A qualifying disabled child’s benefit can be payable for his/her lifetime.
Who will get my benefit should I pass away before retirement?
OMERS has a set order of entitlement for pre-retirement survivor benefits.
First is an eligible legal or common law spouse on the date of the member’s death, that was not living separate and apart due to separation or divorce from the member on the date of death, and that did not sign the relevant waiver form.
An eligible spouse may choose between a pension or a one-time lump sum payment.
If there is no eligible spouse, eligible dependent child, either under 19, or between 19 and 25 who are full-time students and dependent on the member may be entitled. A permanently disabled child may also be eligible for a child’s benefit.
When there is no spouse or eligible children, OMERS will pay the available survivor benefit in one lump sum to a designated beneficiary.
If there is no beneficiary or the beneficiary is deceased, the lump sum payment would be made to the member’s Estate.