What are the general procedures to purchase service?
Generally, 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, to be eligible to make the purchase, you must have five years of APERS service (except for certain General Assembly members who must have ten years of service) and be an active member of APERS or an active member of a reciprocal retirement system. Service purchases can be bought with a rollover from another retirement plan. Generally, if the other plan allows rollovers, APERS can accept funds from that plan as a "trustee to trustee" rollover.
Can I purchase service completed outside of APERS?
As a member of the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System, you may be able to receive credited service for previous employment with other non-APERS agencies, or for previous contributory employment with APERS.
Can I get any service credit at no cost?
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 duty, or Arkansas National Guard duty)
- Other service (including educational leave time, time lost due to Worker’s Compensation injury, or service paid by a federal grant)
Can I get my service credit restored after receiving a refund?
If you received a refund of contributions when you left a job covered by the 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 credited service you gave up when you took the refund. This may be done by paying into your account the amount withdrawn, plus regular compounded interest, from the date withdrawn to the date repaid.
Can I repay the refund immediately?
You have to be re-employed for 90 days, work at least 80 hours per month, and have 3 months of current service credit before you may repay the refund. Repayments may be paid in full or by fiscal year increments beginning with the oldest fiscal year. Interest continues to accrue on the unpaid amount.
How much out of state service may I purchase?
Act 1021 of 2005 allows vested active members of APERS to buy up to five years of credit for out of state government employment, provided that the worker seeking credit can show 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.
What do I do to apply to purchase service with another state government?
Members must submit a completed APERS Application for Service Purchase-OOS to document the out-of-state service they wish to purchase. 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. Contact APERS Members Services Section for more information.
Can I also purchase federal government service?
Yes. Act 2091 of 2005 also established that vested active members can purchase up to five years of federal government employment under the same conditions for out-of-state service.
Can I purchase federal service work as a contract employee?
No. APERS employees can’t purchase work as a federal contractor or any other federal work that was not eligible at one time for federal retirement benefits.
What application do I use to apply to buy federal service credit?
Members must submit a completed APERS Application for Service Purchase-FED to document their federal service to be purchased. APERS will then provide the cost of purchasing the service. To purchase federal service, members can’t be receiving or be eligible for benefits from the federal system. Contact APERS Member Services Section for more information.
Can I purchase active military service?
APERS members that are vested (reciprocity counts toward vesting) may purchase from one month to five years of Active Duty Military Service if they
- Are vested for a future benefit from APERS,
- Received an honorable discharge, and
- Have not purchased the same service with another State of Arkansas Plan.
If I am receiving disability federal retirement pay, can I purchase active duty military service?
What do I need to do to prove my active duty military service?
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.
Can I purchase National Guard or the Armed Forces Reserves service?
Active members of APERS may purchase up to 5 years of Arkansas National Guard or Armed Forces Reserve duty if they have vested with APERS (reciprocity counts toward the vesting requirement).
What is the maximum amount of military service I can purchase?
Members may only purchase five years of service per type of military service. For example, a member with 5 years of active duty service and 10 years of Guard service may choose to purchase five years of active duty and five years of Guard service.
How do I document my Reserves or Guard duty?
To document Armed Forces Reserve duty, members must submit a Retirement Points Summary. To document National Guard service, members must submit an NGB Form 22. After confirming the service, APERS will provide the member a cost statement.
What other types of service may a member purchase?
Members may purchase educational leave time; time lost due to Worker’s Compensation injury, service to a public employer that was paid by a federal grant; and prior service with a participating employer before that employer joined APERS. Please contact APERS Member Services Section for specific information.
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