Alternate Retirement System
Plan Information Sheets can be printed out from the link to the right.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is this PARS ARS plan that I’m paying into?
- How can I find out my account balance or get a statement?
- When am I allowed to take out money from my account?
- I’m still working with my employer, but I’m paying into another retirement plan, can I take out my money?
- What choices do I have when I take out my money?
- How fast can I get my money?
- Do I have to pay taxes on this money?
- Will I receive a tax form?
- How can I update my address on file?
- Who is my beneficiary? How can I update it?
1. What is this PARS ARS plan that I’m paying into?
It’s a retirement account for part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees who work for public agencies (i.e. Cities, School Districts)
The federal government requires that all public agency employees are put in some type of retirement plan or Social Security. Many full-time employees have their own plan (e.g., CalPERS, CalSTRS, TRS), but these plans do not include part-time workers.
2. How can I find out my account balance or get a statement?
You have two options:
Phone: You can call our Plan Support Department at 800.540.6369 and ask for your balance and/or a physical statement to be emailed, mailed or faxed to you.
Online: You now have the option of utilizing our participant website, which gives you access to your balance, transaction history, investment information, and downloadable statements. You may access the website in one of the following ways:
A. Visit https://myaccount.pars.org directly, or
B. Click on the "Login to my account" red banner (top right of this screen).
- Next will be a "pop up" redirecting you to myaccount.pars.org.
For your first visit to the participant website, the Username is your Social Security Number (no dashes) and the Password is your date of birth (MMDDYYYY). The site will then ask you to provide an email and select a new password to use for future visits.
If you have any difficulties logging in, please contact the Plan Support Department at 800.540.6369 for assistance.
3. When am I allowed to take out money from my account?
In most cases, you can take out your money once you stop working for your employer that put you in the PARS ARS account. The steps include:
- Your employer will notify PARS that you have stopped working and confirm your last day of work.
- PARS will automatically mail out a distribution packet to your home address.
- Once you complete and return the distribution packet, PARS will wait for all final contributions to be added to your account and then process the distribution. This last step can take between 30-60 days.
4. I’m still working with my employer, but I’m paying into another retirement plan, can I take out my money?
Maybe. If you are still working for the same employer, but they move you into a different retirement plan, you may still be able to take out your money after you stop participating in the PARS ARS plan for two years. In this situation, your employer will notify PARS of the date that you changed retirement plans. Two years after your last PARS ARS contribution, PARS will mail you a distribution packet to take out your money.
Please note: If your account is more than $5,000, you must wait until you stop working for that employer.
5. What choices do I have when I take out my money?
You have two main ways you can take out your money. You can choose to have a check mailed to your home for the full amount (minus mandatory taxes), or you can choose a direct rollover of your money into an IRA or some other retirement account that you have set-up with another financial institution (as long as they are willing to accept the rollover).
You also have the option for a split distribution where you elect for a specific amount to be sent to your rollover account, and the rest to be distributed directly to you.
6. How fast can I get my money?
Once you return your completed Distribution Election Form to PARS, your distribution will occur within 60 days. There are certain circumstances that can prolong this waiting period.
If you are now contributing to another retirement system (e.g., CalPERS, CalSTRS, TRS), your distribution cannot occur until your eligibility date.
7. Do I have to pay taxes on this money?
Yes. The money in your PARS account is taxable income. When you have your account distributed you can choose a direct rollover of your money into an IRA or other retirement account to defer being taxed on it.
If you choose to cash out the funds in your PARS account, there is a mandatory 20% federal withholding if your account balance is $200 or more. State withholding varies by state. If allowed by your state, you can choose to not have state tax withheld.
8. Will I receive a tax form?
Yes. Everyone who has a distribution or a direct rollover will be mailed appropriate 1099R tax forms the following January. These are to be used when reporting income on your tax return.
9. How can I update my address on file?
Easy – just contact our Plan Support Department and a Plan Support Specialist will make the update. They can be reached by phone at (800) 540-6369, by fax at (949) 250-1250, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: If you are still working for your public agency, you will need to update your address with them as well.
10. Who is my beneficiary? How can I update it?
If you are married your spouse is automatically your beneficiary. If you would like to name someone other than your spouse, they must waive their right by signing the Designation of Beneficiary Form in front of a notary. If you are unmarried and do not have a Designation of Beneficiary Form on file, the default beneficiary order is: children, then parents, then siblings.
Designation of Beneficiary Forms can be printed out by clicking the link on the right side of this page, or you may request a new form by calling our Plan Support Department at (800) 540-6369.