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Near retirement

Welcome to the APERS Near Retirement Member page. This area is designed for members who will be retiring in the next year or two. We hope that the following information will be helpful to you in understanding the retirement process. As always if you have questions feel free to contact us! Please click on the headlines below to see more information about each one.

We wish to remind members who are considering going to an APERS Retirement Seminar of the policy for "Use of Leave to Attend a Retirement Seminar" established by the state Office of Personnel Management.

Click on a topic below to display more information.

 

Retirement Filing Dates
Retirement Filing Date Earliest Filing Date Latest Filing Date
July 2012 April 2, 2012 June 1, 2012
August 2012 May 3, 2012 July 2, 2012
September 2012 June 4, 2012* August 2, 2012
October 2012 July 3, 2012 September 4, 2012*
November 2012 August 3, 2012 October 2, 2012
December 2012 September 4, 2012* November 1, 2012
     
January 2013 October 3, 2012 December 3, 2012*

*FOR RETIREMENT APPLICATIONS ONLY, IF THE FILING DATE FALLS DURING A WEEKEND OR ON A HOLIDAY, THE FILING DATE BECOMES THE NEXT WORKING DAY

 
DROP Filing Dates
DROP Filing Date Earliest Filing Date Latest Filing Date
July 2012 March 31, 2012 May 31, 2012
August 2012 April 30, 2012 June 29, 2012
September 2012 May 31, 2012 July 31, 2012
October 2012 June 29, 2012 August 31, 2012
November 2012 July 31, 2012 September 28, 2012
December 2012 August 31, 2012 October 31, 2012
     
January 2013 September 28, 2012 November 30, 2012

THE FILING DEADLINE FOR DROP APPLICATION IS ALWAYS THE LAST WORKING DAY OF THE 2ND MONTH PRIOR TO ENROLLMENT (NOT THE LAST CALENDAR DAY OF THAT MONTH)


Am I Eligible?

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. Listed below are the age and service requirements for each type of retirement.

Normal 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

Reduced 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

Disability Retirement:

  • 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.

Retirement Timelines

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.

Retirement Applications

On this page you will find the APERS Retirement Application and the APERS Disability Retirement Application.

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

  1. Instructions (Pages 1- 4); and
  2. 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

  1. Instructions (Pages 1- 4); and
  2. Forms to be completed and submitted (Pages 5 - 11).
Download the Disability 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.

Insurance Options

APERS members can keep a version of their ARBenefits health insurance after retiring if they meet certain qualifications. However, it is important to understand the conditions in advance so that you do not accidentally void this opportunity.

Learn more about your insurance options here (link will open a new window).

Purchasing Services Options

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.

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.

Disability

The System provides coverage for members who are deemed totally and permanently disabled.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 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.

DROP (deferred retirement options)

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.

A DROP Form can also be found here:

PAW (partial annuity withdrawal)

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.

Survivor beneficiary information

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

  • 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

  • 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.

Dependent Parents

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.

Qualified Domestic Relations order

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.

 

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