Am I eligible to retire?
If you have 5 years of service, generally, you are vested (eligible) for benefits when you retire. To be eligible for retirement, you must
meet certain age and service requirements. These requirements determine which type of retirement —- normal, early, or disability -- for which you can apply.
What are the age and service requirements for each type of retirement?
- Age 65 or more with at least 5 years of service;
- Any age with 28 years of service; or
- Age 60 or more with 20 years of service (contributory members prior to 07/01/20 05)
Normal Retirement with PAW plan:
- Must meet normal retirement requirements; and
- Continue working past elegibility for normal retirement
- Age 55 with at least 5 years of service
- Any age with 25 years of service
- Up to 10 years before normal retirement age
- Must be deemed totally and permanently disabled by the Social Security Administration
- Must have service in APERS for 18 of the 24 months before your disability
* If you are applying for a disability retirement benefit, please request the Applying for Disability Retirement Benefits
publication which contains additional information and forms pertaining to disability benefits.
What is a good timeline to follow for the retirement process?
12 Months Prior to Retirement
Attend one of APERS retirement seminars.
- If you have not investigated the possibility of purchasing prior service, contact APERS about this option.
- Consider how you will handle emergency expenses. Make an effort to eliminate any debt and pay off obligations for large purchases.
- Contact your medical insurance provider to verify your post-retirement eligibility and rates.
- Evaluate your life insurance needs and contact your provider for information regarding eligibility and rates.
- Consult a retirement counselor for an estimate of your potential monthly retirement annuity.
- Study the benefit option plans available from APERS. You may select Straight Life, Option A-60, Option A-120, Option B-50, or Option B-75.
- Consider how retirement will affect your taxes.
6 to 9 Months Prior to Retirement
Request an Application for Retirement Annuity form from APERS. You can write APERS or call 501-682-7830 in Little Rock or 1-800-682-7377 outside Pulaski County.
- Do a post-retirement budget to determine if you can maintain your standard of living.
1 to 3 months Prior to Retirement
Return the completed Application for Retirement Annuity forms (i.e. the application, direct deposit authorization, etc.). Make sure that your employer has completed and submitted the Verification of Wages form that was included in the Application for Retirement.
What documents do I need to retire?
1) Application for Retirement Annuity
The application must be submitted to APERS at least 30 days but not more than 90 days prior to the effective date of the
retirement annuity. The application may be mailed or hand-delivered, but it cannot be faxed. If APERS receives your application after a deadline, you do not have legal recourse for any missed annuity payments.
2) Employer Verification of Termination
All of your employment with APERS-participating employer(s) must end before you can begin receiving a retirement annuity. To be considered retired, you must end your employment and you may not return to work in any capacity for an APERS-participating employer for 180 days. The verification form must be completed by your employer representatives indicating the date that your employment will end and to verify your final earnings and service. If you are an elected official, you and the local official responsible for certifying that the public office has or will be vacated, must also executive an affidavit.
3) Proof of Age
You must provide proof of your age before you can begin receiving annuity payments. APERS can accept any ONE of the following documents as proof of age:
- Birth certificate issued at date of birth
- Birth certificate issued at any date before age 5
- Baptismal or other church records issued before age 5
- U.S. census report issued 1920 or before
- Social Security Administration document, other than an application for social security number, that states age or date of birth recognized by SSA.
-OR- Any combination of two of the following documents that agree:
- Marriage license which shows age or date of birth
- Insurance policy issued at least 10 years prior to current date
- Records from family bible
- Military discharge
- Child’s birth certificate
- Application for social security number
- Birth certificate issued at date when person was older than age 5 when certified by the appropriate agency.
You may need to submit other forms or documents in addition to the Application for Retirement Annuity, Employer Verification of
Termination and proof of age. Use the following list to verify if you should submit any additional documents:
- Proof of age for your spouse (Required if you choose the B75 or B50 annuity option)
- Employer Verification of Credited Service form (Required for public safety members only)
- Application for PAW form (Required if you elect to participate in the PAW plan)
- Distribution Election form (Required if you are a DROP or PAW plan participant)
What is the retirement applications and where do I get it?
Regular Retirement Application
Members of the system that are vested and eligible to receive benefits can download and print out the retirement application packet. Please read all the included information carefully, complete the packet, and mail it back to APERS in accordance with the instructions provided in the packet. Faxed applications are NOT accepted.
The retirement application packet is composed of two parts
- Instructions (Pages 1- 4); and
- Forms to be completed and submitted (Pages 5 - 8).
Download the APERS Retirement Application Packet in PDF format here.
NOTE: If you are retiring as an elected official, the following affidavit must also be completed and returned with your application packet! Download the Elected Official Affidavit of Compliance here.
Disability Retirement Application
If before you reach retirement age you become totally and permanently disabled due to a personal injury or illness, you may be eligible for disability retirement if you meet certain requirements.
To apply for disability retirement, download the packet below, read all the included information carefully, complete and print the enclosed forms, and mail the packet to APERS in accordance with the instructions provided in the packet. Faxed applications are NOT accepted.
The disability retirement application packet is composed of two parts
Download the Disability Retirement Application Packet in PDF format here.
- Instructions (Pages 1- 4); and
- Forms to be completed and submitted (Pages 5 - 11).
NOTE: If you are retiring as an elected official, the following affidavit must also be completed and returned with your application packet! Download The Elected Official Affidavit of Compliance here.
What is purchasing servce?
The following is a brief description of types of service that may be purchased: You must be an active (working) member of APERS or a reciprocal retirement system and have the required service in the System to be eligible to purchase service.
- APERS contributory service cancelled by a refund of contributions
- Time lost due to Workers' Compensation
- Educational leave time
- Service where the person was paid by a federal grant
- Service with a non-participating municipality (for members of APERS only)
- Service with a federal agency (for members of APERS only)
- Service with another state public employer (for members of APERS only)
- Service with a new employer prior to the employer joining APERS
The current interest rate on purchases of service is 8%.
You may purchase anywhere from one month to five years of active duty military service for credit in the System. Military service credit may be purchased while not an active member of the System but before the effective date of retirement benefits. To purchase the service you:
- Must have 5 years of actual service in the System; and
- Received an honorable discharge; and
- Must not be eligible for federal military service retirement pay based upon nineteen years or more of active duty. Disability federal retirement pay shall not disqualify a member from purchasing such credit.
- A member may not purchase more than 5 years of total military service in all systems. The current interest rate on purchases of military service is 6%. Service may be purchased in whole month increments. To document service, members must provide a DD-214 Form showing the start and end dates for the active duty.
- You may purchase 1 to 3 years of National Guard/Reserve service for credit in the System. To be eligible, you must:
- Have 5 years of actual service in the System;
- Be an active member of APERS on the date of purchase;
- Be separated from the National Guard/Reserve;
- Have at least 5 years of service in the National Guard/Reserve for each one year of service you wish to purchase;
- Not be eligible for retirement benefits based on 19 or more years of service with the National Guard/Reserve, except for disability.
- Provide an NGB Form 22 or NGB Form 23 documenting the dates of service.
Service is purchased in increments of one year, two years or three years and the payment is made at one time.
What are my benefit options?
Straight Life pays you for your lifetime. If your death occurs within 12 months of retirement, your spouse (if you have been married for at least one year) may apply for a lifetime survivor benefit as if you had elected Option B75 and retired on the date of death. If your death occurs after 12 months of retirement, there is no continuing monthly payment.
Option A-120 pays you 94% of the straight life amount for your lifetime. In the event of your death before you have received 120 payments, your beneficiary will receive a monthly payment (less the temporary annuity, if applicable) for the balance of the 120 month period which begins on the date of your retirement.
Option A-60 pays you 98% of the straight life amount for your lifetime. In the event of your death before you have received 60 payments, your beneficiary will receive a monthly payment (less the maximum equal to the temporary annuity, if applicable) for the balance of the 60 month period which begins on the date of your retirement.
Option B-75 pays you a lifetime amount which is 83% of the straight life benefit adjusted for the difference in age between you and your beneficiary. In the event of your death, your beneficiary will receive a monthly benefit equal to 75% of your annuity (less the maximum equal to temporary annuity, if applicable) for his/her lifetime.
Option B-50 pays you a lifetime amount which is 88% of the straight life benefit adjusted for the difference in age between you and your beneficiary. In the event of your death, your beneficiary will receive a monthly benefit equal to 50% of your annuity (less the temporary annuity, if applicable) for his/her lifetime.
If you choose one of the "A" Options, you may name anyone as beneficiary. If you name more than one beneficiary, they will share an equal portion of the benefit for the balance of the guaranteed period.
If you choose one of the "B" Options, the beneficiary must be your spouse to whom you have been married at least one year or a person who is at least 40 years of age or older and dependent on you for at least 1/2 of his/her support. The birth certificate of the beneficiary will be required for a "B" Option.
If your marital status changes after retirement, you may be able to change your elected payment plan. Please contact APERS for instructions if applicable.
What are disability benefits?
The System provides coverage for members who are deemed totally and permanently disabled.
- An active member with 5 or more years of service credit
- Must have earned credited service for 18 of the 24 months immediately preceding the onset of disability;
- Must have submitted a written disability application
- Must be ruled disabled by the Social Security Administration; if not approved may appeal to the APERS Board of Trustees
Effective Dates of Disability Retirement
- Begins the first of the month following APERS determination of disability
- Terminates upon retiree's return to a position covered by the System
The monthly disability benefit is based on the final average salary, years of service and a formula set by law. There is no reduction in benefits because of age or service.
What is the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP)
If you have at least 28 years of actual service, you can participate in the DROP. (Service in a reciprocal system can be counted toward the 28 actual years of service.)
Your retirement benefit is computed as if you retired on the date of DROP participation and you may continue to work for a maximum of 7 years while a percentage of your chosen benefit is deposited into an account that accrues interest. Every July 1st, once you have been enrolled at least 12 months, you will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on your DROP and retirement benefit.
The DROP application can be found here:
More informatoin on the DROP can be found here:
What is the Partial Annuity Withdrawl (PAW)?
Since July 1, 2001, APERS members who work beyond the date they are eligible for an unreduced monthly benefit are eligible to take an advance payment of up to 60 months of their monthly annuity. This is called a Partial Annuity Withdrawal (PAW).
This provides an alternative for members who can’t participate - or choose not to participate - in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). The PAW is elected at retirement.
For more information about PAW see our frequently asked questions section on PAW.
Additional information can also be found in the following documents:
Understanding the PAW
The PAW Application Packet can be found here.
Who can qualify for survivor benefits?
Any active vested member's spouse, children or dependent parents may qualify for survivor benefits. Inactive and active members who are not vested for future benefits do not have survivor benefit protection.
- Spouses of deceased member are automatically eligible for benefits providing they have been married to you for at least one year preceding your death. Benefits will be paid until the spouse remarries (unless you had 20 or more years of service at the time of death, and then, the spouse will draw a benefit for his/her lifetime). The spouse will draw his/her benefit as long as there are dependent children in his/her care.
- A spouse annuity will be the greater of Option B-75 or 10% of your covered compensation at the time of death.
- Dependent children will receive an annuity dependent on the number of children eligible for benefits. Up to two children will receive the greater of 10% of your covered compensation or equal shares of $150. Three or more children share the greater of 25% of your covered compensation or equal shares of $150.
- Upon reaching age 18, benefits terminate if the child does not continue uninterrupted as a full-time student at an accredited secondary school, college or university.
- No benefits will be paid beyond age 23.
- Marriage or death terminates benefits.
- The age 18 maximum will be extended for any child who has been deemed physically or mentally incompetent by an Arkansas Court of competent jurisdiction for as long as such incompetence exits.
If there is no eligible spouse or child, each parent who was dependent on the member for at least 50% of his/her financial support may be eligible for benefits.
Each dependent parent will receive an annuity of the greater of 10% of your covered compensation at the time of your death; or an equal share of the $150 monthly minimum.
NOTE: If you die in service and you have employee contributions in your account and your surviving spouse is also your named beneficiary and you have no dependent children, your surviving spouse may opt to receive a monthly benefit or a lump sum refund.
What is the Qualified Domestic Relations order (QDRO)?
The United States Department of Labor defines a Qualified Domestic Relations Order as a domestic relations order that creates or recognizes the existence of an alternate payee’s right to receive, or assigns to an alternate payee the right to receive, all or a part of the benefits payable to a participant under a pension plan.
You or your attorney can request an application for a QDRO from the APERS office. The form may be filed for an active, inactive, or retired member. The application for a QDRO must be filed in the format approved by the APERS Board of Trustees, and the signed original filed in the proper court must be submitted. If this procedure is not followed, APERS will not honor the QDRO.
A model of the language can be found here.