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Returning to Work


Returning to Work

As an APERS retiree, you need to know how returning to work may affect your benefit so you can make the best plan for your personal goals. You must consider two primary APERS-specific questions: “Am I receiving disability retirement?” and “Is my prospective employer an APERS-participating employer?”

For disability retirees under the age of 65:

  • If you return to work in any capacity (even part-time) for an APERS-participating employer, your disability benefits will stop.
  • If you return to work for a non-APERS-participating employer, your earnings are subject to Social Security’s substantially gainful earnings limit ($1,550 per month for 2024). If you exceed this earnings limit, you will not be eligible for an APERS disability benefit that month, and if you exceed this limit more than nine times, your disability benefits will stop.

For non-disability retirees, returning to work is subject to a termination requirement, depending on the employer:

  • If you return to work for a non-APERS-participating employer, there is no restriction on your employment. You may work as much or as little as you wish, and your APERS benefit will not be affected.
  • If you return to work for an APERS-participating employer, you must fulfill the termination requirement by waiting until 180 days have passed from the effective date of your retirement benefits (one year for elected officials). Please note that your effective date of retirement is not the same as the last day of your employment; it is the start date of your APERS benefit. Returning to work too early will cause your benefits to stop and will require you to repay any benefits already received.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I return to work?

If you are not receiving disability retirement, you may return to work after 180 days (one year for elected officials) have passed from the effective date of your annuity (the start date of your benefits).

When is the effective date of my annuity?

This date is located on your retirement approval letter. If you are unable to locate this document, or if you have questions, contact APERS at 501-682-7800.

What happens if I return to work too early?

If you do not wait until 180 days (one year for elected officials) before returning to work for an APERS-participating employer, your annuity will stop, and you will be required to repay the benefits you have already received.


Social Security Administration, “Substantial Gainful Activity,”

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.