Termination of Employment / Refunds

Members who leave APD as a cadet or a commissioned officer will be required to fill out a Designation of Retirement Deposits form electing an option to receive retirement contributions and where to send them. The form can be obtained here.

Members who have separated employment will have the following options (please see the Designation of Retirement Deposits form for more details):

  • Take a direct refund of the contributions (minus Federal Income Tax)
  • Rollover the contributions to an I.R.S. qualified retirement plan
  • Declare Vested Status (if 10 years of service or more)
  • Declare Proportionate Retirement program status if previously employed or will be employed in another Texas proportionate retirement system.

Members have certain responsibilities if they keep their APRS membership after termination. First, they are solely responsible for timely and properly applying for benefits. Also, members are responsible for notifying APRS of their proportionate time in another Texas retirement system which participates in the Proportionate Retirement Program and keeping that information current. Members are also responsible for maintaining current contact information and beneficiary designations with APRS.


As an active member, can I withdraw all or a part of my contributions in order to pay off debts, fund medical expenses or pay for my children's education?

No. APRS is a tax-qualified “defined benefit” plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. State and Federal laws do not allow members to make a partial withdrawal of deposits or to receive loans from the System. Only members who have separated employment from APD can receive a distribution from APRS. If a member is required to make payments pursuant to a divorce, QDRO or child-support agreement no funds can be withdrawn from APRS to satisfy these claims unless the member separates service with APD. Finally, a member also cannot receive all or a portion of their contributions to pay for a medical emergency or for a college education without terminating service. Other types of retirement plans such as 457 plans and 401(k) plans differ from APRS and have different sets of rules and regulations applicable to them. 

How do I know if I am a vested member?

When a member has attained 10 (ten) years of creditable service, they become a vested member of the retirement system.

This means that the member has a right to receive a monthly annuity when they reach retirement eligibility. Even if the member terminates employment before reaching eligibility, if they are vested, they can decide to leave their contributions in the system and begin drawing their annuity when you reach age 62, or when they meet other age and service requirements for retirement eligibility.

It is important to note that, although retirement contributions for inactive members draw interest, the inactive member's multiplier can increase during the years between the member's termination and retirement, but no cost of living increases are applied.

I have terminated my employment with the Austin Police Department, how do I go about receiving a refund?

When a member leaves the City as a cadet or a commissioned officer, they should complete a Designation of Retirement Deposits Form indicating their election. Their choices will be:

  1. Refund. Receive a refund of the member's contributions upon termination of employment. A retirement contribution refund will be issued approximately two weeks after the final employment check from APD is issued. Federal Income Tax will be withheld on all untaxed contributions and interest at 20% of the total taxable amount. If the member is vested, they may choose to leave their deposits in the System through the end of the calendar year. If interest is granted, they will receive interest on their deposits (interest is only credited to vested member accounts), and their refund will be issued in January. The Board of Trustees annually determines the amount of interest paid on vested members’ accumulated deposits (if any). Retirement interest is accrued on the last day of the calendar year based on the amount that the member had in the System on the first day of that calendar year. Their money must remain on deposit for the entire calendar year in order to accrue interest. 
  2. Rollover. A member may have their contributions transferred to an I.R.S. qualified retirement plan through a direct rollover by providing a letter of acceptance from the rollover intuition to the System with their refund form. (Federal Income Tax will not be withheld but the monies will be made payable and moved to the qualified retirement plan on the member's behalf).
  3. Declare Vested Status. If a member has ten or more credit service years, they can choose to take advantage of their vested right to an annuity when they reach retirement eligibility. If the member indicates that they want to remain vested, their contributions will remain in the System until they reach retirement eligibility and contact the System to apply for retirement benefits. Their contributions will continue to earn interest until their monthly annuity begins. Should they choose vesting, their benefits will be based on the eligibility in effect at the time they terminated employment. The member will receive the current multiplier but no cost of living increases will be applied to their benefits after they leave employment and before the date the member's annuity payments begin. 
  4. Declare Proportionate Service. A member may choose to retain their deposits in the System if they are eligible or expect to become eligible to participate in the Proportionate Retirement Program. To qualify, the member must be or become a member of one of the participating retirement systems under the statewide Proportionate Retirement Program and that membership must be verified by the participating system.

When I receive a refund of contributions why do I not receive any of the City contributions?

Contributions made by the City of Austin remain with the System as required by applicable laws. 

When will my refund be issued to me?

With a member's final paycheck, one final contribution will be made to the System. After that check is issued, the exact amount of the member's total refund can be determined. A retirement contribution refund can be issued as soon as two weeks after the final employment check from APD is issued. 

How long do I have to decide which refund option I am choosing? 

Non-vested members of the System must request a refund of their deposits by the seventh (7th) anniversary of their separation date unless they have declared their status as a Proportionate Retirement Program Member. Failure to request the refund will result in the permanent forfeiture of their deposits and creditable service with the System. Non-vested members who attain age 72 (or age 70½ if attained age 70 ½ prior to December 31, 2019) if prior to separation or prior to the seventh (7th) anniversary date of separation who have not requested a refund of their deposits will forfeit their deposits and creditable service with the System if the refund is not requested within ninety (90) days after the System notifies the member of the need to refund their deposits.


Ensuring beneficiary designations are up to date is particularly important to make sure loved ones are taken care of. It is very important for APRS members to be aware that failure to have a valid and up to date APRS beneficiary form on file with the System, can complicate the management of the final affairs of a deceased member. Members should especially review death benefit beneficiary designations any time there is a change in life circumstance, such as marriage, divorce, death of a spouse or other designated beneficiary, or birth of a child.

The Austin Police Retirement System, Austin Police Department Human Resources, and the City of Austin Deferred Compensation Plan are separate entities. It is imperative to maintain current beneficiary forms on file as it applies for each separate entity. Submission of a beneficiary form to one entity will not carry over to the others. Please contact the APRS office directly if a confirmation for the beneficiary change was not received.


Texas is a community property state, so any APRS benefits earned during marriage may be divided by a court in a divorce proceeding. If, during a divorce proceeding, it is determined that the member will keep 100% of their APRS benefit, the System will not require any legal documentation. However, if it is determined that the member and their spouse will be dividing the APRS benefit, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will need to be submitted. A QDRO is a special legal order which is signed by the judge who has jurisdiction over the divorce. It tells the System what portion of the member’s retirement contributions or monthly retirement benefit to pay to their former spouse (also called an alternate payee), and the form of payment (lump sum or annuity) after the divorce is final.

For APRS to pay benefits to an alternate payee, the QDRO must meet specific requirements. QDROs that do not meet APRS requirements will not be honored, which could result in delays and additional legal costs. A model QDRO form is available for attorneys to use to draft the QDRO correctly. It is strongly recommended that the member or their attorney present the QDRO to us prior to the finalization of the divorce.


I am about to get a divorce and I want to know if I can just pay my spouse their portion of my pension benefits by withdrawing that exact amount as a lump sum?

No. The statute governing the pension system allows for the withdrawal of monies from the System only upon the member's termination of employment with APD.

I am in the process of getting a divorce and a QDRO has been accepted by the APRS. The QDRO awards a portion of my monthly retirement benefit to my ex-spouse. I am now eligible to enter the DROP. Will my DROP benefit be reduced by the amount of the retirement benefit awarded to my ex-spouse?

Depending on the terms of the QDRO, the DROP amount may be affected by the divorce. Usually the ex-spouse is assigned a portion of the retirement amount from the time period of the marriage, unless otherwise noted in the QDRO, and that portion of the member's retirement benefit to the member's ex-spouse will begin when the member actually retires from the APD.

Child Support

If APRS receives an order from the Attorney General for child support to be paid from the monthly benefit payment of a retiree, APRS will deduct child support payments from their monthly benefit payment. The order must be directed to APRS and must provide the ordered child support amount and start date for the payment.


To be eligible for disability retirement, the applicant must be unable to perform employment duties due to becoming physically or mentally incapacitated. The disability must be considered a permanent job performance disability. The disability must also be after the member’s effective date of membership AND,

  • If the member has less than 10 years of creditable service
    • The disability must have been a direct or proximate result of the performance of the member’s employment duties with the City or the System.
    • The disability for Group A members will be calculated at 20 years of service and 25 years of service for Group B members.
  • If the member has 10 years of credible service or more
    • Disability does not have to be a direct result of the employment duties to apply.
    • On-duty disabilities will be calculated at 20 years of service for Group A members and 25 years of service for Group B members.
    • Off-duty disabilities will be calculated at the actual number of years of service the member has once the disability is granted.
  • If the member is retirement eligible
    • Members who are eligible for normal retirement cannot apply for disability retirement; however, they can apply for normal retirement.
  • If the member is a continuing disability applicant
    • Disability retirees are required to provide proof of continued disability annually by submitting income documentation to the System. Disability retirees will receive a letter about what we need and when it needs to be submitted. If the required documentation is not submitted in a timely manner, the monthly benefit payment could be suspended.

Disability retirees are required annually to provide proof of continued disability to the Board of Trustees.

Each member who is receiving disability retirement benefits from the System is subject to periodic reviews of the member’s continued eligibility for disability retirement benefits, including annual reviews and a two and one-half (2 ½) year review, in accordance with Section 7.03 of the Act until the member reaches the age of 62 years or otherwise becomes eligible for a service retirement benefit under the Act. After the disabled member has received disability benefits from the system for at least two and one-half (2 ½) years, the board shall review the disability benefit to determine if the member is reasonably suited by education, training, or experience to perform the duties of any occupation.

Members who want more information about disability retirements should call the System.


How do you apply for a disability benefit?

In order to apply for disability retirement benefits from the System, a member must contact the System to obtain the application. The member must apply in writing no earlier than the 30th day before the member reasonably expects to become an Active-Noncontributory member and no later than the 30th day after the date the member becomes an Active-Noncontributory member.

The review process will take a minimum of two (2) months after the application is received by the System.

Can I use military service or proportionate service to qualify for a disability benefit?

Service credit earned with another retirement system under the proportionate retirement program (PRP) and military service credit that is purchased by the member do not count for purposes of establishing eligibility for disability retirement or the amount of any disability benefit that may be awarded.


Members who move should update their address with APD HR and that information will be passed along to APRS.

If a member is retired or vested, please keep the member's contact information up to date with the System. APRS will need a signed Change of Address form in order to make sure any correspondence, newsletters, election notices, 1099-R’s, and the member's annuity payment information is sent to the correct address. 

Death and Survivor Benefits

In the event of a death of either a member or survivor, please contact APRS immediately at (512) 416-7672 to report the death. We will need to need to know their name, official date of death and will ask for a copy of the death certificate when it becomes available.

  • Active Member Death
    • The death benefit paid for an active member’s account is paid in the amount of two times the balance of the deceased member’s contribution account balance, with a minimum of $10,000.
    • If eligible to retire, the legal spouse can retire in place of the member.
  • Retired Member or Forward DROP Member Death
    • The non-taxable death benefit paid for a deceased retiree is $10,000 (or a proportionate amount if retired under the Proportionate Retirement Program) and any remaining deposits on balance, if any, to the beneficiaries on file with APRS.
    • If the member had a Forward DROP or PROP account, the beneficiaries on file with APRS will receive the account balance.
    • If the member chose a survivor option, the monthly annuity payment will continue to that survivor, otherwise, the final annuity payment will be processed at the end of the month in which they passed away.
  • Survivor or Alternate Payee Death
    • The final annuity payment will be processed at the end of the month in which they passed away.


What should I do if my survivor and/or beneficiary passed away? 

Contact the System for verification purposes and be sure to update the member's beneficiary designation with the System. 

Retiree Health Insurance

City of Austin Human Resources (HR) currently provides basic medical, dental and vision coverage to APRS retirees and dependents. If a member signs up for these benefits at retirement, their share of the premiums are deducted from their monthly benefit payment and sent to the City for the member. City HR can be reached at (512) 974-3284. Their office is located in One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road, Suite 600, Austin, TX 78704.


If I am deferring my annuity, how are my health insurance premiums paid? 

If a member purchased deferred permissive service credit and has not begun receiving their annuity or if they are deferring their entire annuity in to the PROP, they can arrange to self-pay their health insurance premiums with the City. City HR can be reached at (512) 974-3284. Their office is located in One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road, Suite 600, Austin, TX 78704.