Am I eligible to participate in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan?
If you have at least 28 years of actual service, you can participate in the DROP.
(Service in a reciprocal system can be counted toward the 28 actual years of service.)
How is my retirement benefit calculated while I continue working?
Your retirement benefit is computed as if you retired on the date of DROP participation and you may continue to work for a maximum of 10 years while a percentage of your chosen benefit is deposited into an account that accrues interest. Every July 1st, once you have been enrolled at least 12 months, you will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on your DROP and retirement benefit.
How is my DROP benefit computed?
Your DROP benefit will be computed based on the number of years of service you have accrued prior to enrolling in the DROP.
If you have 28 years of service, the DROP benefit amount is 63% of your elected benefit.
The contribution rate is 63% plus ½ of 1% for each month of service over 28 years of service, up to the maximum of 75% for 30 or more years of service.
How many hours a month must I work to participate in DROP?
You must work 80 hours or more each month to stay in the DROP. Public school DROP participants are the exception – they must work at least ½ of the hours required for their position.
Can I change jobs if I am in the DROP?
You may change jobs and remain in the DROP, if there is no break in service. You must notify APERS in advance of any changes in employment.
How long can I stay in the DROP program?
You must terminate covered employment within 10 years of the effective date of DROP or you will forfeit the balance in your DROP account. There is no minimum participation period.
How do I terminate my DROP program participation?
When you exit the DROP, you must file your retirement application and DROP distribution forms (remember you must meet filing deadlines). The retirement option you chose when you entered the DROP is the same one you elect when you retire unless there has been a change in marital status. If you die while in the DROP, your DROP balance is paid to your beneficiary.
How is the DROP paid to me when I retire?
You can take distribution in any of four ways:
- A lump-sum payment
- A monthly annuity
- A 25 year annuity if you enrolled in DROP on or after January 1, 2018, or
- A lifetime annuity if you enrolled in DROP before January 1, 2018
- A rollover to an approved employer-sponsored retirement plan
- A rollover to an IRA
You can combine these methods however you choose. For example, you could take half of your DROP balance as a lump-sum payment and roll the other half into an IRA or qualified retirement plan. It's up to you. You may want to meet with a retirement counselor to help determine which method or combination of methods works best for you.
If I am called to active military service, what happens to my DROP?
If you are called to active duty while participating in the DROP, you should contact APERS in writing to explain your specific circumstances and provide APERS a copy of your orders at the onset of active duty, as well as at the end of the tour of duty.
Can I return to work after I exit the DROP?
Like other APERS retirees, DROP participants may return to work for a public employer once they have fulfilled the termination requirements. After exiting the DROP, regular employees must observe a 180 day waiting period and elected officials a one year period before they return to work for an employer that participates in a state-sponsored retirement plan.
Who do I contact for more information on DROP?
For more information about DROP, you can contact Member Services by phone or in writing.
Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System
124 W. Capitol Ave., Suite 400
Little Rock, AR 72201
501-682-7800 Local Phone
1-800-682-7377 Toll Free
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