Covid-19

Work During COVID-19 Crisis Won’t Affect Retiree Earnings Limit

New York State needs the help of certain retirees, especially health care professionals, during the COVID-19 emergency.

COVID-19

Normally, most NYSLRS retirees who return to work for a public employer face an earnings limit, but that limit has been temporarily suspended by the Governor by executive order during the emergency. Pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through June 6, 2020 will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap.

Under Section 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law, most NYSLRS retirees under age 65 who return to work for a public employer can earn up to $35,000 per calendar year without penalty. Once a retiree exceeds the earnings limit and continues to work, their pension benefits are suspended for the remainder of the year.

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) is seeking qualified health care professionals to help out during the coronavirus pandemic. You can find more information on the DOH website.

23 thoughts on “Work During COVID-19 Crisis Won’t Affect Retiree Earnings Limit

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Yes, the earnings limit applies to ERS and PFRS retirees who have returned to work under Section 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law.

      Reply
  1. Dennis Quinn

    Is this earnings limit suspended only for retirees in the health care field or does it apply to all public sector retirees?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      It doesn’t just apply to retirees in the health care field. The earnings limit is temporarily suspended during the period of the COVID-19 emergency for NYSLRS retirees who have returned to work under Section 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Generally, if you are being paid by your employer, you receive service credit. If you work less than full-time, your service is credited on a prorated basis.

      Reply
  2. Donna Cool

    I work for the court system and we are on mandatory shut down. I have been furloughed by my municipality during this pandemic and now collecting unemployment plus the $600. Will both of these payments qualify for the temporary suspension of my annual earnings limit? Thank you

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Yes, hazard pay is considered regular earnings and could be used in calculating your pension when you retire.

      Reply
  3. Erin Newton

    The earning dates in the article run from March 27th through April 26th. Will the period be extended since we are stil under the COVID 19 Crisis? If so, do you have the current dates?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The earnings limit suspension period has been extended to May 7, 2020. We updated the blog post with the new date. Please refer back to this blog post for future updates.

      Reply
  4. Ray

    The earnings limit is obviously far to low to begin with. Hence, the need to raise a meager 5k. Why can’t there be a permanent escalation of 15k and elimination of any limitation during this pandemic which may last a good long while. There are clear indications of staff level deficiencies that came to light as result of the health crisis.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      While current circumstances with the COVID-19 emergency have suspended the retiree earnings limit for a period of time, the decision on whether to adopt benefit enhancements or pass new legislation, such as a permanent increase to the retiree earnings limit, comes from the State Legislature and the Governor. The retirement system (NYSLRS) administers legislation and programs that are signed into law.

      Reply
    2. Roger

      The limit was just increased and isn’t meant to be a full time salary. You do have the option to return to full time status from retirement if the Earning limit isn’t acceptable to your situation.

      Reply
  5. Ken

    I have two questions. First, Your stating that the Governor extended the earnings exclusion through May 7 however Executive order 202.14 extension doesn’t seem to mention the salary extension. Secondly, my employer filed for a section 211 exemption for me which will take some time to be processed I’ve been told that any salary exceedance beyond the $35,000 limit during the time period that the section 211 application is being considered may also be exempted. Is that true? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The retiree earnings limit suspension was originally part of Executive Order 202.11, and it has been extended through May 7 by Executive Order 202.14. The earnings limit suspension applies to retirees who have returned to work under Section 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law.

      The decision on whether to adopt benefit enhancements or pass new legislation comes from the State Legislature and the Governor. The retirement system (NYSLRS) administers legislation and programs that are signed into law. You may want to contact your local legislative representatives.

      Reply
  6. Anne Marie

    How is NYSLRS informed of the earnings of a retiree to ensure they are below the cap and how will NYSLRS differentiate the earnings during the COVID crisis?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through May 7, 2020 will not count toward the Section 212 earnings limit.

      It is the retiree’s responsibility to notify us if they earn more than the earnings limit. Retirees should contact us at least a month before they go over the limit. They can email us using the secure email form or fax a letter to 518-402-2498. They should include the name of the employer, the approximate date they expect to earn more than the limit and daytime phone number in case we have questions.

      Reply
  7. Patty Shaver

    The article reads March 27th thru June 6th 2020. Has this been changed from March 27th thru May 7th or is it a typo? Also, to verify, is it the retiree’s responsibility to contact NYSLRS to make them aware that they’ve exceeded or will exceed the $35,000 limit due to the suspension of the limit?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The earnings limit waiver has been extended through June 6. It is a retiree’s responsibility to inform NYSLRS if they will exceed the earnings limit.

      Reply
      1. Gail

        Based on the response above, confirming the retiree needs to contact NYSLRS if they exceed $35,000 due to the inclusion of earnings during the Executive Order, or does the retiree need to only contact NYSLRS if they exceed $35,000, excluding the earnings from March 27 – June 6th.

        Reply
        1. Leanne Sauve

          Pay from a public employer, earned from March 27 through June 6, 2020, will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap. If the retiree subtracts the money earned during the waiver period and the total still exceeds $35,000, they must report it to NYSLRS .

          Reply

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