As a NYSLRS retiree, you can work and still receive your pension, but if you are working after retirement, there may be a limit on how much you can earn each year without affecting your NYSLRS pension.
The rules and restrictions differ depending on:
- The type of retirement benefit you are receiving (service or disability);
- The employer you will be working for (New York State public employer, private employer, yourself, etc.);
- Your date of membership and tier; and
- Your age.
New York public employers include the State, its political subdivisions (cities, counties, etc.), school districts, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), public authorities, public benefit corporations and entities that participate in any of the State’s public retirement systems.
Temporary Suspensions of the Earnings Limit
Under a series of executive orders, the Governor had suspended the earnings limit. The last executive order expired on June 22, 2023. Pay from a public employer earned from June 23, 2023 through December 31, 2023 will count toward a retiree’s annual earnings limit.
Also, the Legislature has suspended the earnings limit for retirees employed by school districts and BOCES through June 30, 2024. You can find more information, as well as updates about any future developments, in our Update Regarding Retiree Earnings Limit blog post.
Working While Receiving a Service Retirement Benefit
As a service retiree (retired under a regular service retirement, not a disability retirement), your earnings are unlimited if you work for a private employer, a state other than New York State or the federal government.
If you return to work in the public sector, two sections of New York State Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) regulate post-retirement employment.
Section 212: Earnings Limited to $35,000 per Calendar Year
Section 212 of the RSSL allows retirees to earn up to $35,000 from public employment in a calendar year. There is generally no earnings restriction beginning in the calendar year you turn 65. (Special rules apply to elected officials.) If you’re under 65 and earn more than the Section 212 limit, you must:
- Pay back NYSLRS for the pension payments you received after the date you reached the limit. If you continue to work, your pension will be suspended for the remainder of the calendar year and resume the following January.
- Rejoin NYSLRS, in which case your pension will be suspended until you retire again at some future date (you’d need to reapply).
Section 211: Your Employer Can Seek a Waiver of the Earnings Limit
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 cover a fixed period, normally up to two years. Approval is not automatic; it is based on the employer’s needs and your qualifications.
Working While Receiving a Disability Retirement Benefit
Earnings for retirees who are working while receiving a disability retirement benefit are limited whether they work for a public or private employer. The limit is specific to each retiree. To find out your earnings limit, please contact us.
Reporting Your Earnings
It is your responsibility to notify NYSLRS if you earn more than the limit. If you know you are going to exceed the limit, contact us at least a month before you go over the limit.
You can message us using the secure contact form or you can fax a letter to 518-402-2498. Be sure to include the name of your employer, the approximate date that you expect to exceed the limit and a daytime phone number in case we have questions.
For More Information
Before you decide to return to work, please read our publication, What If I Work After Retirement? It includes information such as how earnings limits are calculated for retirees receiving a disability retirement benefit, consequences to consider before returning to NYSLRS membership and more. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us.