As 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.
- 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.