Refunding Your Account and Terminating ASRS Membership

What You Should Know About Refunding

If you leave ASRS-covered employment, here are some things to consider:

If you move to another ASRS employer and still meet membership criteria, your ASRS membership will continue with contributions being withheld at the same contribution rate. The ASRS has over 700 employer members, covering nearly all education and governmental organizations in the State of Arizona. If you leave for a private-sector job, any other employment not covered by the ASRS, or will not be working at all, you can:

  • Retire from ASRS if you are eligible. You can take a reduced early retirement if you are age 50 and have at least 5 years of service, or you can retire with full benefits if you have reached retirement eligibility for full pension benefits.

    Retirement Central

Or, you can:

  • Take a refund of your account, with applicable interest. You may withdraw your funds in cash and pay all taxes and penalties, or you may rollover your funds to another qualified retirement program. This option is also known as a Forfeiture. Please note that interest accruals for purposes of refund differ from survivor benefit payments. Log in to your myASRS account for exact amounts.

Or, you can always:

  • Leave your funds on account with the ASRS and in the future retire or take a refund

The option to Refund/Forfeit is not available for:

  • Active, contributing members.
  • Retired members
  • Members who returned to work after retirement

Refund/Forfeit waives all membership rights

It is important to consider your options, even difficult times, before deciding to withdraw your funds from the ASRS. Membership with the ASRS offers a number of future benefits and leaving your money on account leaves your options open in the future, including retirement when eligibility is met (as soon as age 50 with 5 years of a service), and access to the ASRS retiree health insurance programs.

Members who choose to withdraw their funds from the ASRS waive all rights to ASRS membership benefits, including:

  • Long Term Disability: If you are currently receiving monthly benefits under the ASRS Long-Term Disability Income plan and you choose to withdraw your funds from the ASRS, you will no longer be eligible for monthly disability payments.
  • Survivor Benefits: If you have funds on account with the ASRS and die prior to retirement, a survivor benefit will be paid to your beneficiary. Survivor benefits are also available after retirement. Click the Survivor Benefit link for more information.
  • Lifelong Monthly Pension: Once you reach early or normal retirement, you will be eligible for a monthly pension benefit, payable for the remainder of your lifetime. Click the Retirement link for more information.
  • Retiree Health Insurance: If you retire from the ASRS, you will be eligible to participate in a group health insurance program that offers health, dental, and vision coverage for retirees.
  • Premium Benefit program: If you retire with five or more years of service and have health insurance with the ASRS or an ASRS employer, you will be eligible for a monthly premium benefit that will help offset the cost of health insurance premiums.
  • Permanent Benefit Increases: If you retire from the ASRS, you may be eligible to receive increases to your monthly pension when excess investment earnings meet certain criteria.

Refund/Forfeiture calculation

While any member who has separated from employment with an ASRS employer has the right to refund their contributions, the amount of interest and eligible employer matching that is refunded along with those contributions varies by membership date and fiscal year. Log in to your secure myASRS account to see your personal refund estimate.  

Log in to Refund Your Account

Wondering how much your refund amount is? Log in to your secure myASRS account see a current, estimated refund amount including interest through today and any contributions remitted to the ASRS and posted to your account.

Your personalized refund estimate, located under "Your Benefit Estimates" section by clicking the "Refund" link, also includes instructions on how the refund is calculated, including applicable interest accrual rates, any employer matching funds to which you are entitled, payment options and tax rules.

myASRS Login

Frequently Asked Questions

Why go to the trouble of registering for an online account when I just want to take my money out?

There are several reasons!
  • Registering for secure access is quick, easy and safe.
  • Submitting online gives you side-by-side refund and retirement benefit estimates to help you make the right decision.
  • Submitting online gets you your refund 3-5 days faster than calling to request a paper application.
  • Submitting online gets you status updates via email throughout the process in addition to the real-time status updates in 'Pending Requests' under your secure account.
  • Submitting online gets you online access to your 1099-R tax statement when it is issued. Your secure access is kept active through next tax season.

How do I know whether to retire or refund?

Once you log in, you can see customized estimates of both your retirement benefit and your refund benefit. Please review each number carefully, and read the explanations and disclaimers attached to each. Generally, a lifetime benefit is worth more money over time than a one-time lump sum benefit, but each decision is up to you. If you want to talk to someone about your options, feel free to contact us (link)

How long does it take to receive my refund?

If a refund is requested within 6 months of ending your job, we request an Ending Payroll Verification (proof of termination). If it has been years since you contributed, we may request proof of identity from you as a security measure. Once all required information is received, the refund is generally processed within business 15 days (three weeks).

How will I check the status on my refund application?

Once you file online, you can check the status of your refund at any time under the 'Pending Requests' link in your secure account. That table will detail each pending document, if any are required, and will estimate your refund date. Once the payment has been approved, the date will show as finalized. In addition, the ASRS will email you with status updates once you submit the application and once the payment is approved.
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