When Retirees Rejoin NYSLRS

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted some NYSLRS retirees to return to work in the public sector. If you are one of these retirees, we want to make sure you know that the post-retirement earnings limit of $35,000 a year for retirees in a public sector job who are under age 65 has been suspended through much of 2020, 2021 and 2022 by executive order. Additionally, if you work for a school district or BOCES, legislation has suspended your earnings limit through June 30, 2023. Read more in our blog post, Update Regarding Retiree Earnings Limit During COVID-19 Emergency.

rejoin NYSLRS

Some retirees have considered ending their retirement to rejoin NYSLRS. While rejoining the Retirement System is an option, you should understand how this decision could affect your pension benefits.

Rejoining NYSLRS may increase your total service credit, allowing you to reach certain milestones that would increase your pension. An increase in earnings could also result in a higher pension. However, depending how long you work after rejoining, your new pension may not be higher than your original amount.

Note: This post applies to service retirees of the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) or the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) who are rejoining the same system. Different rules may apply to retirees of other retirement systems, retirees joining a system other than the one they retired from, and disability retirees.

What Happens to Your Pension When You Rejoin NYSLRS?

If you rejoin NYSLRS, your pension will be suspended. If you are in Tiers 2 through 6, and you earn less than two years of new service credit after you rejoin, your original pension would be reinstated when you retire the second time. Any new service credit and earnings would not affect your pension. (Tier 1 members would receive an additional benefit even if they earn less than two years of service in their new membership.)

If you earn two or more years of new service, you can either receive your original pension or you can receive a recalculated benefit that includes your additional service. If you choose the recalculated benefit, you would have to repay the entire pension amount you have already received, plus interest. (The pension amount you repay would be based on the Single Life Allowance rate.) You may repay that amount in a lump sum or by installments before you retire again — or request a permanent reduction to your new pension.

Other Factors

Here are other things to consider before you rejoin NYSLRS:

  • When you retire again, your new retirement date can delay your eligibility for cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
  • If you are in Tier 1 or 2, rejoining may affect your death benefit.

Where to Go for Help

If you are seriously considering rejoining NYSLRS, we strongly recommend you speak with a customer service representative to discuss how rejoining would affect your benefits. You can call them at 1-866-805-0990 or email them using our secure contact form.

You may also wish to read our publication Life Changes: What If I Work After Retirement?

8 thoughts on “When Retirees Rejoin NYSLRS

  1. Lenny Purcell

    I will have just turn 62 and plan to retire from my school district employer on 9/30/2022. I plan to re continue working for them beginning 10/3/2022 until 6/29/2023. Will I be penalized since the Governor has signed legislation allowing persons under 65 to work without penalty until 6/29/2023?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      While the retiree earnings limit has been suspended through June 30, 2023 for school districts and BOCES, you should be aware of the rules and laws that apply to retirees who return to work for the same employer.

      In order to effectively retire, the Internal Revenue Code and the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) require that members have a bona fide termination from employment with their public employers. Without a break in service, a member will not be considered retired. In order to qualify as a bona fide termination, a member must stop working and be removed from the payroll of the participating employer with no intention of returning to service for such employer. The termination must occur prior to the date of retirement. If a member were to return to service with their former employer, the System will review the circumstances to determine whether there was a predetermined plan to continue in service. Any retirement amounts paid without a termination will be recouped by the System and the retirement will be voided.

      If you have questions, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990, press 2, then follow the prompts. You can also email them using the secure email form on our website. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      In the meantime, you can read our publication, Life Changes: What If I Work After Retirement?, for more information.

      Reply
  2. gayle kahl

    I have been trying to get my service years before I retire. I worked for the school system in food service and police dept as a crossing guard. The problem is my service years were combined. I need 10 full years with the police to get my health benefits. Some years I worked summer school further complicating it all. Every time I call NYRS I have been given four different retirement dates based on my years with the police. I’m afraid to trust their information. I called two weeks ago and he told me he’d give my file to a rep., that will figure it out. It will be sent to my email and a copy by regular mail. He said two days to two weeks. Still waiting. The last date was may 28th. Help! My payroll says they don’t give the service years. What can I do?

    Reply
  3. Erik C. Podszus

    i wish to re-enroll in the ERS. I retired from NYS Service in July 2012 as a Tier 2. I have been working in local governmental service since 2014 (on a 211 Waiver). I no longer require the waiver as I am 65 but I would like to increase my FAS which is presently pitiful to say the least. Now that I have 7 years of additional service to add to the pot, I plan on working for another 5 to 10 years before retiring once again. I plan on buying back all of my time from 2012 to present in a lump sum. How do I proceed? Thank You

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You cannot purchase or receive service credit toward your pension for post-retirement employment (working for a public employer while collecting a pension). You also cannot collect a NYSLRS pension and be an active member of a New York State public retirement system at the same time. If you join NYSLRS, you would need to suspend your pension.

      If you are seriously considering rejoining NYSLRS, we strongly urge you to speak with a representative before deciding to rejoin. You can contact our Call Center at 1-866-805-0990 (518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area). The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am – 5:00 pm.

      Reply

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