Retirees: Know Your Post-Retirement Earnings Limit

Retirees: Know Your Post-Retirement Earnings LimitAs a NYSLRS retiree, you can work for a public employer after retirement and still receive your pension, but there may be an earnings limit on how much you can earn.

Public employers include New York State, municipalities in the State (cities, counties, etc.), school districts and public authorities. If you’re self-employed or work for a private employer, another state, or the federal government, you can collect your full NYSLRS pension no matter how much you earn. (However, earnings for most disability retirees are limited whether they work for a public or private employer. To find out your earnings limit, please contact us.)

Two sections of New York State Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) apply to NYSLRS service retirees who return to work in the public sector.

Section 212: Earnings Limit Increases to $35,000 in 2020

Section 212 of the RSSL allows retirees to earn up to $30,000 from public employment in calendar year 2019. Legislation signed in December 2019 increased the earnings limit to $35,000 for calendar year 2020 and future years. There is generally no earnings restriction beginning in the calendar year you turn 65. (Special rules apply to elected officials.) If you are under 65 and earn more than the Section 212 limit, you must:

  • Pay back, to NYSLRS, an amount equal to the retirement benefit you received after you reached the limit. And, if you continue to work, your retirement benefit will be suspended for the remainder of the calendar year.

OR

  • Rejoin NYSLRS, in which case your retirement benefit will be suspended.

Section 211: Requires Employer Approval

Under Section 211, the earnings limit can be waived if your prospective employer gets prior approval. (In most cases, the New York State Department of Civil Service would be the approving agency.)

Section 211 approvals apply to a fixed period, normally up to two years. Approval is not automatic; it is based on the employer’s needs and your qualifications.

Before you decide to return to work, please, please read our publication, What If I Work After Retirement? If you still have questions or concerns, please contact us.

21 thoughts on “Retirees: Know Your Post-Retirement Earnings Limit

  1. Deb

    so when I retire next July, I can get a p/t or f/t job in the private sector and that will not affect my pension? is this correct?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, no. If a NYSLRS retiree chooses one of the standard pension payment options that provides a lifetime benefit to a beneficiary (such as a spouse), that benefit isn’t affected if the beneficiary remarries.

      However, for information about your particular situation, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        NYSLRS will only deposit your pension payment into one checking or savings account at a single bank or financial institution.

        Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Most NYSLRS members can return to public employment after retiring, though there are earnings restrictions depending on your pension benefit and age. You may find helpful information in our publication, What If I Work After Retirement. We aren’t certain, however, what you mean by “status”.
      For information about your particular situation, we recommend contacting our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Besides a birth certificate, we’ll accept any of these documents as proof of your birth date:

    2. Baptismal certificate;
    3. Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214);
    4. New York State driver’s license;
    5. Passport; or
    6. Naturalization papers.
    7. In most cases, a photocopy is acceptable. If you do send us the original, we will return it to you.

      Reply
  2. Sheila

    I will collect my Soc Sec now, early, while I am still working. When I am able to retire in two years, is Social Security included in the “amount” I can make, once I start collecting my pension?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Your Social Security benefits do not count toward the amount you can earn from post-retirement public employment. However, for more information about the circumstances you describe, we recommend you visit the Social Security Administration website or speak with a financial advisor.

      Reply
  3. Allen Macey

    Is there current legislation in the works to increase the threshold above the 30K limit it currently is for retirees electing to come back to work as an hourly state employee. What is the status of such legislation (assuming there is such). If so, will it apply to this years earnings?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Under current State law, NYSLRS retirees can earn up to $30,000 per calendar year from public employment without a reduction in their pension. There is generally no earnings limit once the retiree is 65.

      Both houses of the Legislature have approved a bill that would increase the earnings cap to $35,000 starting in 2020. However, the bill must be signed by the Governor to become law. To our knowledge, the Governor has not signed this legislation.

      Reply
  4. Janet Hottois

    My husband was a retiree n when he passed away I was suppose to receive but was denied. He went back to tier 1 before retirement but chose the option that would give me a death benefit but you all refused to give it to me. What happened to the money he had withheld for me upon his death?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We’ve been informed that one of our customer service representatives contacted you. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

      Reply
  5. Karen Zobel

    I will be working for a school system soon, I am 65 years old will this effect my NYS pension, do I have to notify anyone?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      There generally is no earnings limit starting in the year a retiree turns 65.

      However, we suggest you contact our customer service representative for information specific to your circumstances. You can email them using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com).

      Reply
  6. Joe

    Is there now an automatic pension waiver for retirees who become employed as a public school security guard post retirement.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Under State law, most NYSLRS retirees can earn up to $35,000 per calendar year from public employment without a reduction in their pension. There generally is no earnings limit starting in the year the retiree turns 65.

      We suggest you contact our customer service representative for information specific to your circumstances. You can email them using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com).

      Reply

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