Members frequently ask if they can withdraw from, add to, or borrow against their retirement accounts. The answer to all of these is “no.” The only way you can get money from APERS is to retire or to terminate your covered employment.
With APERS, you have no individual retirement account like a 401(k) to borrow against or draw from, and no one can predict the total value of your benefits until you have finished collecting them. After you retire, APERS pays you a monthly pension for the rest of your life, whether that’s 5 more years or 50. The money does not come from “your account” but from APERS’ general funds.
If you terminate your employment, you can get a refund of any money you have directly contributed to the system. There are two ways you might have contributed:
- if you are a contributory member who has 5% of your paycheck withheld for your retirement, or
- if you have purchased service.
If you leave the system, you can take these funds with you, but you will lose all the service associated with them. This is important to understand. If you were vested (5 or more years of service) you are no longer guaranteed a retirement benefit. Note that your employer’s contributions are never refundable, only money that you have contributed yourself.
Article from APERSpective newsletter for Active Members, Fall 2019