Eligibility and Salary Rules
There are rules for retirement eligibility and how salaries are used in the calculations. Click the button to learn more.
Eligibility and Salary
The Basic Calculation - Straight Life Annuity
While there is a lot to learn, the ASRS is a defined benefit plan which means that the formula to calculate an annuity (monthly pension) is quite simple.
Total Service Credit * Graded Multiplier * Average Monthly Salary (AMS) = Monthly Benefit
That's it. The graded multiplier determines the percentage of your AMS you will receive for each year of service credited to your account. Learn more about the formula and create personalized benefit estimates on the “Estimate Your Benefits” page by clicking this button.
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The basic monthly benefit is something called a Straight Life Annuity (SLA). The SLA is the most money you can receive per month, but it does not guarantee any benefits to your survivors after your death.
Other Annuity Options
There are 6 additional options to choose from when you apply for your pension. All the options will pay you (the retiree) a monthly benefit for life. If you want to leave benefits to your spouse or anyone else after your death, you might want to choose one of the other options. Watch this video to learn the difference between the various benefit options.
Retirement Annuity Options
Of course, while the formula is simple, there are other things to consider when you're thinking about retirement.
- Partial Lump Sum (PLS): You are allowed to take a lump sum advance on some of your retirement funds in exchange for a lower monthly benefit. Log in to estimate your benefits, and click 'customize' to experiment with different PLS options.
- Early Retirement: You can retire with a reduced lifetime benefit as early as 50 years old with 5+ years of service. Experimenting with different retirement dates in the 'Retirement' link under 'Your Benefit Estimates' on the secure site will show you how the reductions are applied. You still might decide that the extra years of benefits will offset the lifetime reduction.
- Health Insurance: When you retire, you will need health coverage and you may be eligible for a subsidy called a 'premium benefit'. Look at our Health Insurance section of the website for more details.
- Name your beneficiary(ies): Designating your beneficiary(ies) is very important, and makes survivor benefit processing that much faster. Read more on our beneficiaries page, including the need to designate your spouse as primary beneficiary or obtaining spousal consent to designate otherwise.
- Service Purchase: If you are in the process of purchasing service, or you have a Payroll Deduction Agreement in progress, read through the Service Purchase page including the Frequently Asked Questions before filing for retirement.
- Additional Information: The ASRS is a retirement system after all with benefits other than retirement, such as survivor benefits and a Long Term Disability plan. Read over the entire website for all of the benefits you have, and the details about those benefits. When you log in to the secure site, we will show you YOUR customized estimates of each type of benefit.
Log in to Estimate Benefits and File for Retirement
By logging in, you can see a customized benefit estimate just for you. You can run different customized scenarios, such as the various annuity options, PLS options and health insurance premium benefits.
When you are ready to retire, we encourage you to use our online retirement application to file for retirement. Using our online application is virtually error free and we take you through all the various options to make sure you haven’t missed anything to avoid delay in processing your benefits.
myASRS Login Why Register?
For a look at the big picture of Retirement - before, during and after filing - check out our dedicated section called 'Retirement Central'
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I file online, rather than by the paper form?
Because when you fill out paper, it's too easy to make a mistake. The Online Retirement application is easy and explains every decision along the way so you understand exactly what's going to happen with your benefit. The process is designed like popular tax software that keeps a running tally of your elections and the impact on your estimated benefit.
What if I have Service Purchase in progress?
Purchasing service to enhance your retirement can be a complicated process. The ASRS strongly encourages you to work with an advisor to make sure all payment timelines are met so that your retirement is calculated correctly and not delayed. A paper application is required if you plan to pay off your payroll deduction agreement using partial lump sum (only for PDA’s established before 1/6/2013). For more, read the 'Frequently Asked Questions' section of the Service Purchase page.
How do I know what annuity option to choose?
Choosing a retirement option is a very personal choice. We encourage you to discuss with your spouse, family, and/or financial advisor and decide what your needs are. The basic option is a Straight Life Annuity which provides the highest payout per month but does not guarantee a benefit to your survivors after death. Watch the video on Annuity Options to learn the details of each option which will help you decide. The Online Retirement process also details the various options, and provides estimates of the impact to your benefit with each option.
If I take a Partial Lump Sum (PLS) up front, does that delay my monthly benefits?
No, but there are some considerations. Your monthly benefits are effective beginning on your retirement date, regardless of whether you take a PLS advance. But by taking an advance in a lump sum, your monthly benefit is reduced for your lifetime to offset the advance of PLS. And, while monthly benefits begin on your retirement date, PLS advances take up to 90 days after your retirement date to finalize before payment is made.
How will I check the status on my retirement?
Once you file your application, you can check the status of your retirement at any time under the 'Pending Requests' link in your secure account. The table will detail each pending document, if any additional documents are required, and will provide estimated dates for payment. Once the your retirement calculation has been completed (60-90 days), the first payroll date will show as finalized.
Why is the first check smaller than the benefit estimate I received?
While your retirement is being processed, “estimated” payments to eligible members are conservative in order to reduce the potential for overpayment. Any underpaid benefits will be disbursed retroactive to your retirement date once the processing has been completed
Do I need a form to update my Tax Withholding or Direct Deposit information?
When you file for retirement using the Online Retirement application, you will make those elections at the same time. No separate forms are required. If you file your retirement application by paper, then the tax and direct deposit forms must be filled out as well. After retirement, you can easily update tax withholding and direct information through your secure account. Log in, click on “Payment History”, then click on the appropriate link at the top of the payment listing to “View/Update Tax Withholding Elections” or “View/Update Direct Deposit Information”. After you submit your changes, you will receive a message that confirms when the change will go in to effect.
How do I schedule an appointment with an advisor?
Call our office. We have Senior Benefit Advisors taking calls, leading group meetings, answering emails and meeting with members. We first encourage you to attend a group meeting - either online or in person - to learn more about the basics of retirement and to speak to an advisor before or after the session. For a one-on-one meeting on pension benefits, an appointment is required. To meet with an insurance representative regarding health or dental insurance, no appointment is needed.