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History of APERS


History of APERS

APERS was established as a multi-employer defined-benefit pension plan for Arkansas state employees in 1957, with members making post-tax employee contributions. Act 42 of 1959 allowed county governments to join the APERS system. Act 64 of 1961 allowed municipal governments to enroll in the APERS system. In 2005, Act 2084 enacted a new contributory plan requiring all newly hired members to enroll and make pre-tax contributions to the system. In 2021, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted several laws pertaining to APERS, including a gradual increase in the employee contributions rate to 7.0%, changes to the cost of living adjustments for newly hired members, and the APERS board expanded from nine to thirteen members.

Administration of Additional Plans 

The staff of APERS is responsible by law for administering multiple retirement systems in addition to the APERS plan. Each of these plans is separately funded and has a separate and distinct benefit established by law: 

  • Arkansas Judicial Retirement System (AJRS) – As of July 1, 1983, the Executive Director and the administrative staff of the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS) became the Executive Director and administrative staff of the Arkansas Judicial Retirement System. This system is governed by a separate Board of Trustees and provides benefits for retired members of state circuit courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. 
  • Arkansas State Police Retirement System (ASPRS) – Act 1242 of 2009 transferred the assets of the ASPRS to APERS to hold in trust for the ASPRS. This system is governed by a separate Board of Trustees and provides benefits for retired officers of the Arkansas State Police. 
  • Arkansas District Judges Retirement System (ADJRS) – This is a closed plan. The system was abolished, and its powers, duties, and plan liabilities were transferred to APERS to administer. 
  • Closed local plans – APERS administers the benefits to retirees of several closed local retirement funds for municipal judges and court clerks. 

Disclaimer on Benefits and Rights

Disclaimer Concerning Benefit Calculations, Benefit Projections, Counseling, and Certain Conditions Regarding APERS Benefits and Rights

The purpose of this Disclaimer is to summarize, in plain language, existing APERS policy concerning benefit calculations, benefit projections, counseling, and certain conditions regarding APERS benefits and rights. This Disclaimer does not reflect any alteration or amendment of existing APERS policy. This site includes general information about APERS programs and benefits and may not represent or include completely the law and/or rules that govern APERS. Arkansas law and/or administrative rules will supersede any information in conflict.

APERS strives to provide accurate information and assistance to plan participants who have questions regarding their APERS benefits. All information and calculations concerning benefits are based upon current law and policy, even though information often concerns future benefits. Likewise, laws and policies affecting plan participants are subject to change from time to time. The Arkansas General Assembly, U. S. Congress, federal agencies, and the APERS Board of Trustees may change how benefits are calculated and change other rights of plan participants. Any benefit projection or information provided by APERS is subject to future law or policy that is applicable to APERS.

APERS staff depends upon information provided by the plan participants and offers counseling and projects future benefit estimates based upon that information. Such estimates can vary materially from actual results. Calculations concerning benefits, as well as the information APERS provides during counseling, can be materially affected if the plan participant provides inaccurate or incomplete information, or omits material facts. Plan participants are presumed to have knowledge of all publicly available laws and policies that affect their APERS benefits and rights. APERS is under no duty to ensure that plan participants are specifically informed of a new law or policy unless required within the law or policy itself. If APERS attempts to notify plan participants who may be affected by a change of a law or policy, the failure to notify a specific plan participant does not create any right or cause of action for the plan participant.

APERS does not provide plan participants with specific recommendations regarding retirement options, tax advice, or legal advice. Each plan participant is solely responsible for determining whether benefit calculations, benefit projections, benefit estimates, and retirement plan options are suitable for the plan participant based upon his or her specific retirement objectives and personal and financial situation. APERS encourages plan participants to consult their own lawyer, accountant, tax professional, or other retirement adviser before making a decision that affects their benefits and rights regarding APERS.

Federal law and policy, state law and policy, APERS records and documents, and accurate data always govern the final determination of plan participant benefits and rights. An error by APERS does not create any common law rights on behalf of the plan participant. The rights of a plan participant are solely governed by the rights set forth in law and policy applicable to APERS.