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The Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS)

Provides A Choice Of Benefit Options

The Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS) is a cost sharing, multiple employer, defined benefit plan. Participating employers include most state agencies, all counties, plus a number of municipal entities and school districts.

APERS provides pension and retirement benefits for employees who meet the program’s established eligibility requirements. Participants have a choice of several options to help tailor their retirement to their individual needs.

Options include the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) and Partial Annuity Withdrawal (PAW) briefly described below, plus additional options under APERS.

The APERS Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP)

Under DROP you may continue to work for a maximum of seven years while a percentage of your benefit is deposited into an account that accrues interest.

When you retire, you can choose one of four distribution options: a lump-sum payment; a monthly annuity; a rollover to an approved employer-sponsored retirement plan; or a rollover to an IRA.

Keep in mind, when your seven-year DROP period ends, you must retire or you will forfeit the balance in your DROP account. (Note: There is no minimum DROP participation period.)

The APERS Partial Annuity Withdrawal Option (PAW)

Partial Annuity Withdrawal (PAW) provides an alternative for members who can’t, or choose not to, participate in DROP.

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. (Note: PAW is elected at retirement.)

There are three ways you PAW may be paid to you: directly to you as a lump sum; as a rollover distribution to a qualified plan; or as a partial lump sum with the remainder rolled over to a qualified retirement plan.

Keep in mind, to be eligible for PAW, you must meet one of the program’s age and service requirements.

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

All retirees receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in addition to their regular monthly benefit. The annual COLA increase is currently set by the Arkansas state legislature at three percent. To qualify, retirees and those entering DROP must have been receiving benefit payments for 12 months.

Other Arkansas Pension Plans

In addition to APERS, Arkansas provides six other specialized pension plans:
  • 1.Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS)
  • 2.Arkansas Judicial Retirement System (AJRS)
  • 3.Arkansas State Police Retirement System (ASPRS)
  • 4.Arkansas State Highway Employees Retirement System (ASHERS)
  • 5.Arkansas Local Police and Fire Retirement System (LOPFI)
  • 6.Arkansas District Judge Retirement System (ADJRS)
Arkansas Pension Plans


How long do I need to work before
I am vested in APERS?

New APERS participants become vested after earning five years of service. Once vested, you are eligible for a future retirement benefit when you meet age requirements, service requirements, or both.

What is the APERS retirement Age?

To be eligible for retirement, you must meet certain age and service requirements. These requirements depend on which type of retirement and option you have chosen.

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 July 1, 2005)

Normal Retirement with PAW plan:

  • Must meet normal retirement requirements and continue working past eligibility 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

Do I have to pay Federal Income Taxes on APERS retirement benefit?

Yes – once you retire and start receiving your APERS retirement annuity benefits as income, those payments become subject to Federal taxes. Keep in mind Arkansas state law also classifies your APERS pension as taxable income that must be reported on your tax return.

Will my APERS retirement benefits be reduced by Social Security Benefits I receive?

No – APERS does not reduce your benefit once you become eligible for Social Security.
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