Working After Retirement: Retiree Earnings Limit

As a NYSLRS retiree, you can work and still receive your pension, but you should be aware there may be a limit on how much you can earn each year without affecting your NYSLRS pension.

Working After Retirement: Retiree Earnings Limit

Working While Receiving a Service Retirement Benefit

An earnings limit of $35,000 generally applies to NYSLRS retirees who:

  • Are under age 65;
  • Receive a service retirement benefit (see disability benefit rules below); and
  • Return to work for a public employer (including contract or consultant work, if you joined NYSLRS on or after May 31, 1973).

2024 Update Regarding the Earnings Limit

The earnings limit for retirees employed by school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) is suspended through June 30, 2025 (April 2024 legislation extended the date from 2024 to 2025). The earnings limit suspension for school employees does not apply to retirees who work for a college, university or charter school.

For most other retirees under the age of 65, the $35,000 limit is in effect and applies to the entire calendar year in 2024.

There is no earnings limit if you are self-employed or if you work for:

  • The federal government;
  • A state or local government in another state; or
  • A private employer.

Also, beginning in the calendar year you turn 65, the earnings limit no longer applies.

Note: Special rules apply to elected officials.

Working While Receiving a Disability Retirement Benefit

Almost all 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.

How the Limit Applies

The limit applies to all earnings for the calendar year, including money earned in the calendar year, but paid in a different calendar year (for example earned in December but paid in January).

The limit does not apply to:

  • Payments received after you retire from your employer, such as for vacation or sick time you earned when you were still working; and/or
  • A retroactive payment for a new union contract, if the earnings are for employment before you retired.

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 do.

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 you expect to exceed the limit and a daytime phone number in case we have questions.

If You Exceed the Earnings Limit

If you earn more than the 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.

    OR

  • Rejoin NYSLRS, in which case your pension will be suspended until you retire again at some future date. (You’d need to reapply.)

Earnings Limit Waiver

Under Section 211 of the Retirement and Social Security Law, the earnings limit can be waived if your prospective employer gets approval before hiring you. Approval is not automatic; it is based on the employer’s needs and your qualifications. In most cases, the New York State Department of Civil Service would be the approving agency. A Section 211 waiver covers a fixed period, normally up to two years.

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, please contact us.

35 thoughts on “Working After Retirement: Retiree Earnings Limit

  1. ELIO GIULIANI

    I appreciate some here need to keep working.

    Many of us worked hard when we were working age, advanced, took exams, did our good work then and are now enjoying our retirement.
    Thank you for the NYS LRS Pension system. Everyone deserves a good retirement after working their complete younger life. I love my retirement and everyone I know also does and is not working. Enjoy life now that you are retired.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      NYSLRS administers laws and programs approved by the State Legislature and Governor. The law suspending the earnings limit for retirees employed by school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) until June 2025 was included in the 2024-25 State Budget.

      If there are future developments concerning the earnings limit, we will update this blog post and the NYSLRS website.

      Reply
    2. Michael Farrow

      Looks like they are only going to do it for School Districts and Boces. Why they do it for some and not for others isn’t right but looks like that’s what they are doing. I emailed my Senator and haven’t heard anything back.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      NYSLRS administers laws and programs approved by the State Legislature and Governor. If there are future developments concerning the earnings limit, we will update this blog post and the NYSLRS website.

      Reply
      1. Michael Farrow

        Why suspend the earning limit for some state retirees and not for other state retirees . I reached out to NYSERS and they referred me to my senator. I reached out to my senator via email and heard nothing.

        Reply
  2. Todd E.

    Scenario…I am 58, retire in 9/2024, get hired back in similar but different capacity to district I retired from in 10/24, and getting paid more than 35k…is this permissible? and are there any restrictions?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you return to work for a public employer and will earn more than the annual Section 212 limit (currently $35,000), you may be able to work under Section 211 of the Retirement and Social Security Law without affecting your pension. However, your employer must receive approval (known as a Section 211 waiver) before hiring you. The earnings limit for retirees employed by school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) is suspended through June 30, 2025

      For general information about the working for your former employer after retirement, please read “Understanding Section 211” in our publication Life Changes: What If I Work After Retirement?

      For account-specific information about how these rules may apply in your situation, please message our customer service representatives using our secure contact form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  3. Joel Acevedo

    I am a Paramedic retired from NYC . How can I have the 211 rule cancelled for us first responder retirees working in Suffolk county. I and working for a fire district in Long Island and It would help if I can also make over 35000 dollars a year.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you retired from the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), you should contact them for questions about working after retirement. You can call them at 347-643-3000.

      If you are working for a NYSLRS employer, you can find general information about Section 211 waivers in our booklet What If I Work After Retirement?

      Reply
  4. Chris

    I retired ordinary disability and work for a public school. Can i continue working or have to quit when my 20th year is completed?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      For account-specific information, please message our customer service representatives using our secure contact form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The earnings limit generally applies to NYSLRS retirees who return to work for a public employer in New York State.

      For information specific to your situation, please message our customer service representatives using our secure contact form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The limit for retired NYSLRS members who are working for public employers generally doesn’t apply beginning in the calendar year you turn 65.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      NYSLRS administers laws and programs approved by the State Legislature and Governor. The law suspending the earnings limit for retirees employed by school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) until June 2025 was approved by the Legislature and the Governor in the 2024-25 State Budget.

      Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          If there are future developments concerning the earnings limit, we will update this blog post and the NYSLRS website.

          Reply
    2. Michael Farrow

      Can’t agree more. If they are going to suspend it then why not just suspend it. Why do it for some and not others???

      Reply
  5. Michael Farrow

    Why suspend it until June of 2025 for some retirees who went back to work but not others. I work for a college and can only make $35,000.00 but you suspend it for retirees who went back to work in a high school that’s messed up, why? Either make it fair and suspend it for all retirees or none. Wrong and not right.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      NYSLRS administers laws and programs approved by the State Legislature and Governor. The law suspending the earnings limit for retirees employed by school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) until June 2025 was approved by the Legislature and the Governor in the 2024-25 State Budget.

      Reply
      1. Robert Mazzei

        If I am retired (age 54), and work for a county, but I am assigned to a school building, does the recent earnings limit suspension for those employed by school districts apply, or no because I am employed by the County?

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          For account-specific information about your situation, please message our customer service representatives using our secure contact form. Please provide details about the position, including the job title and a brief description of the duties. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

          Reply
  6. Elio Giuliani

    Thank you for clearly defining the NYS pension legislation and the Section 211 waiver law on working while retired with a NYS pension.

    Reply
  7. Peter from Long Island

    Dear NYSLRS:
    Thank you for this post. I just want to double-check. I’m currently a Tier 4 technology worker at a public school in NYS with 31 years of service (and age of 57). I realize the $35k earnings limit is suspended until June 2025. If retire from the NYS public school and move to Florida and work for a public school in Florida, would the $35k earnings limit rule apply after June 2025 for working in public service outside NYS?

    Reply

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