The 65+ Membership Waiver: Important, Time-Sensitive!

by Rosie Tomforde, Internal Audit

New employees of ASRS employers may be eligible to waive participation in the ASRS, but only if they meet certain criteria.

Beginning August 2, 2012, a new employee who is not already a member of the ASRS, nor a retired member and does not have any credited service or prior service in ASRS, and who is already at least 65 years of age on the first day of employment, and for whom the ASRS receives a completed 65+ Membership Waiver within 30 days of employment is exempt from ASRS membership. (ARS § 38-727(A)(8))

Since the implementation of this program, the ASRS has received a lot of appeals from employees who say that their employer did not inform them of this waiver or did not provide them with the form in a timely fashion.

One of the reasons for this oversight is that many employers did not believe the form was necessary unless the member was in a position intended to work at least 20 hours a week for at least 20 weeks in a fiscal year, also known as the 20/20 membership criteria. The employer also may not have realized that membership could not be waived more than 30 days after employment began, and contributions would be mandatory should the position later meet the 20/20 membership criteria.

Be aware that the 30 days from the start of employment refers to the original start of employment, not the date the employee meets the 20/20 membership criteria. To avoid any scenario that could lead to failure to comply with the statute, employers should include the 65+ Membership Waiver form in their new employee onboarding material, regardless of age or suspected age.

If the employee has any questions about the form, they can be directed to the 65+ Membership Waiver webpage. Employers should also advise that:

      • Any employees who work in a position that meets 20/20 membership criteria must participate in the ASRS. A waiver is available for new employees who are age 65 or older, but it is the responsibility of the employee to notify the employer within 30 days of employment. 
      • Any employees who are hired to work less than 20/20 may have their hours changed to meet 20/20 membership criteria, at which time they must participate in the ASRS. A waiver is available if desired, but only within the first 30 days of employment. 
      • A waiver can be filed by an employee who is 65 years of age or older, even if the employee is not sure whether it will ever be necessary.
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