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Avoiding the Burden of Overpayments

When someone passes away, the family often has a lot of things to deal with.  Because we pay monthly benefits to retirees for their lifetime, and in many cases post retirement death benefits as well, APERS is one of those things. 

Post-retirement death benefits are based on the option that retirees choose when they apply for retirement. Most retirees choose the Straight Life option which provides them with the maximum monthly benefit possible during their lifetime. However, that option does not provide continuing benefits to a beneficiary, so monthly benefits end when those retirees die.

If you have chosen the Straight Life option, it is important that your family members understand this. We rely on them notifying us when a member passes so that we can stop monthly benefit payments. If we are not notified, we may make ineligible monthly benefit payments which result in overpayments. 

APERS has a financial and legal responsibility to prevent losses to the plan, so if ineligible payments are made we are obligated to pursue recovery of those overpayments.   You can help prevent the burden of overpayments for your family by making them aware if you do have Straight life benefits that will end upon your passing.   Keeping your new Annual Payee Statement in your records is a good way for them to have details about your benefit and know who to contact when that time comes.

Source: Article from ‘APERSpective’ Summer 2021 Retirees Edition Newsletter

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.