As a member of the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System, you may be able to receive service credit for previous employment with other non-APERS agencies or for previous contributory employment with APERS. While some service credit may be available at no cost, most prior service credit must be purchased.
Purchasable service credit categories include
- Repayment of a refund of contributions from previous employment covered by APERS.
- Out-of-state government service
- Federal government service
- Military service (active duty, Armed Forces Reserve or Arkansas National Guard duty)
The service purchase procedures, including the method of calculating the cost, depend on the type of service you are purchasing, whether you are repaying a refund of contributions to re-establish previous APERS service, purchasing out of state or federal government service, purchasing military service, and so forth. In most cases you must have five years of APERS service and be an active member of APERS or a reciprocal retirement system to be eligible to make the purchase. Service purchases can be made with a rollover from another retirement plan if the other plan allows rollovers. APERS can accept funds from that plan as a "Trustee to Trustee" rollover.
A member may only purchase five years total of any kind of credited service for APERS credit.
Repayment of Refund
If you received a refund of contributions when you left a position covered by APERS, but you are now an active member of APERS or a reciprocal system, you may be able to repay your refund and re-establish the service you forfeited when you took the refund. You can do so by paying into your account the amount withdrawn, plus regular compounded interest, from the date withdrawn to the date repaid.
You have to be re-employed for 90 consecutive days, work at least 80 hours per month, and have three months of current service credit before you may repay the refund. A partial-pay plan is available if the total cost to repay is more than $500. If the cost is less than $500, the refund must be repaid in one payment.
Purchasable Military Service
Active Duty – Active or inactive members may purchase anywhere from one month to five years of active duty military time if you
- Have five years of actual APERS service (or five years combined service between reciprocal plans), and
- Have received an honorable discharge.
Disability federal retirement pay won’t disqualify a member from purchasing such credit.
To purchase active military duty service, members must submit a DD-Form 214 or other official documents of service that furnishes the beginning and ending dates of the active duty.
Arkansas National Guard & Armed Forces Reserve Duty
Act 38 of 2011 allows current members of APERS to purchase one month up to five years of Arkansas National Guard or Armed Forces Reserve duty, if the member
- Has five years of actual APERS service (or five years of combined service between reciprocal plans), and
- is currently serving in the National Guard or military reserves, has received an honorable discharge, or is receiving a federal military retirement based on the member’s military service.
To document Armed Forces Reserve duty, members must submit a DD-Form 214. To document National Guard service, members must submit an NGB Form 22. After confirming the service, APERS will provide the member a purchasable military service cost statement.
Out-of-State Government Service
Act 1021 of 2005 established that vested, active APERS members can purchase up to five years of credit for out-of-state government employment, provided that the worker seeking credit can show that the out-of-state employment (such as teaching or law enforcement) would have been covered by a state retirement system if the work had been in Arkansas and is not otherwise eligible for a benefit from that service.
Members must submit a completed APERS "Service Purchase Out of State Governmental Service" form to document their out-of-state service to be purchased. APERS will then provide the cost of purchasing the service. Members cannot be receiving or be eligible for benefits from the out-of-state system.
Federal Government Service
Act 2091 of 2005 established that vested active members can purchase years of credit for federal government employment under the same conditions for out-of-state service. However, APERS' members cannot purchase service as a contractor or for other activity not otherwise covered for federal retirement benefits.
Members must submit a completed APERS "Service Purchase - Federal Government Service" form to document their federal service to be purchased. APERS will then provide the cost of purchasing the service. Members cannot be receiving or be eligible for benefits from the federal system.
Other Purchasable Service
Other types of service that may be purchased include the following: educational leave time; time lost due to Worker’s Compensation Injury, and service to a public employer that was paid for by federal grant; service with a non-participating municipality; service with the U of A system not covered by another plan; prior service with a participating employer before that employer joined APERS.
- Educational leave time
- Time lost due to Worker’s Compensation injury
- Service to a public employer that was paid for by federal grant
- Service with the U of A system not covered by another plan
- Service with a participating employer before that employer joined APERS
Please contact APERS Member Services Section for details.