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You Submitted Your Retirement Application. Now what?

What happens after you hit “submit” on your retirement application? We input the application information into our system, validate the application for compliance, and place your application in a hold queue (if we require additional information before we can calculate your benefit) or a processing queue (if no further information is needed to proceed). It’s important to keep in mind that while the ASRS may receive your retirement application in advance of your retirement date, we will not be able to begin any retirement calculations until your retirement date has occurred. Regardless of when your retirement processing will begin, in approximately 5 business days, your submitted application and all of your application elections will be visible in your secure myASRS account under pending requests. At this time we recommend you review the information carefully to verify your elections. 

Note:  In your ASRS secure account you can click on the pending requests link to view any documents that we need in order to complete your application to retire and where your application is in the process. We will also send email notifications to you at different steps in the process to provide you with updates.

Any ASRS employer you have worked for over the past 3 years will automatically receive an ending payroll verification form where they will be asked to verify your termination date and various pieces of information about your compensation prior to retirement.  In addition, your retirement benefit cannot be calculated until we have received retirement contributions up to your stated retirement date (usually 2 to 3 weeks after your retirement date).

The most common things to hold up the processing of your retirement benefit are: 

1. Documents that are needed to finalize your benefit are still pending

Note:  The pending receipt of a spousal consent form is the #1 reason for delay experienced by members.  To avoid this, please make sure that if you’re married, you’ve discussed your preferred retirement option election with your spouse and have jointly agreed on the option to be selected.

2. Service purchase payments that are pending, but have not yet been received (particularly if you are using a rollover from another financial institution)

3. Changes made to the retirement application resulting in a need for additional review, documentation, etc.

4. Contributions are received from your employer for a period after your retirement date

When will I receive my first payment?

Within 10 days of your retirement date, and perhaps for a few months thereafter, you will likely receive an estimated benefit payment. The estimate check is designed to lessen the impact of any payment disruption caused during the transition from work to retirement.

Note: Because the estimate check is designed to pay you quickly and not be a precise retirement calculation, your estimate check could be as much as 20% lower than your actual monthly pension benefit, once it is finalized. Any money that you were under or overpaid while your retirement benefit was being processed calculated once your retirement has been finalized.

If your retirement date is between the 1st and 20th of the month, your estimate check will be prorated to cover the number of days you were retired for that month. If your retirement date is later than the 21st your estimate check will be for the remainder of the current month as well as the following month.  You may receive as many as 3 estimate checks during the processing of your retirement.

What if I want to change my elections? During the application process you can log in to your secure MyASRS account to review your retirement details such as; your retirement date, annuity option chosen, beneficiary and other retirement elections. 

If you determine that changes are needed, you have 30 days from your retirement date to make updates.  To make a change, you can either send the ASRS a secure message within the myASRS website or submit another retirement application.  After 30 days, you can no longer change your retirement date, annuity option or partial lump sum elections. 

How long does it take to finalize my benefit? In general, it takes about 45 to 90 days for all of your documents to be received and reviewed, your final contributions to post, and your benefit to be calculated and finalized.

Once your application has been finalized you will receive a ‘new retiree’ check, which will take into consideration your final benefit calculation, calculate any health insurance premiums you may owe, as well as any money that you were under or overpaid while your retirement benefit was being processed. 

After this step you will begin receiving your finalized lifetime retirement benefit at the beginning of every month. 

Written by Pam Foust, Communications and Sara Orozco, Strategic Planning

Published in Expanding Your Financial Horizons digital newsletter May 2019 

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