Harness Horsemen’s Retirement Plan
In 1984 the Ohio Legislature provided for the Harness Horsemen’s Retirement Plan through House Bill 639, codified as R.C. 3769.21. The Plan is a balanced forward plan with the intent to provide a fixed retirement plan for Ohio’s Full Time Standardbred Racing participants, including drivers, trainers, breeding farm employees and grooms. It is an I.R.S. 457(e) (12) exempt, non-qualified plan, with no roll-overs, and no contributions from participants. It is not an IRA, 401K, or an ERISA qualified plan, this is a trust plan with non-qualified deferred compensation.
Each participant must meet the requirements of being employed full time in their employment category and 75% of their gross income must be derived from said employment. W2’s or other proof of salary may be required. The following are the specific eligibility requirements for each category.
Grooms must have a current license from the Ohio State Racing Commission. They must have six (6) months full time employment in the Harness Racing Industry prior to becoming eligible. They must be enrolled six (6) months in the OHHA health insurance Plan for grooms
Breeding Farm Employees must have six (6) months full time employment in the Harness Racing Industry and be employed by a qualified Ohio breeding farm.
Drivers and Trainers must have a current license from the Ohio State Racing Commission. Driving and training starts may not be combined to achieve eligibility under the Plan. Drivers and trainers are not credited with starts made outside Ohio. A person may qualify for both training and driving starts if they meet the minimum requirements of each. All trainers and drivers must be permanent residents of Ohio. The contributions for each participant will be determined on a yearly basis by the Trustees of the Plan.
How the Plan is Managed
R.C. 3769.21 directed a corporation to be formed to administer the Plan. A corporation was formed, Harness Horsemen’s Health and Retirement, Inc. The Corporate Bylaws established of a Board of Trustees to oversee the program and a Program Administrator to administer the program. Trustees are nominated and appointed by the Plan’s Trustees and the appointments ratified by the Ohio State Racing Commission.
All monies received are to be spent only to administer the Plan and to finance benefits. R.C. 3769.21 provided for funding to come from a portion of the breakage at the Ohio’s four commercial harness tracks. In 2015 (for the 2014 qualified, eligible participants) contributions were supplemented with monies approved by the O.H.H.A. Board from VLT funding and transferred to the Plan. The amounts contributed to the Plan will vary each year.
Investment of Funds
The funds are invested upon the direction of the Trustees to safeguard the corpus, but provide a competitive rate of return. The Trustees have chosen Fifth-Third Bank as the Fund Manager. Monthly reports are provided to the Trustees and participants are provided quarterly statements summarizing asset performance, yearly contribution, and account balance.
Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association
2237 Sonora Dr.
Grove City, OH 43123