If you return to work after retiring from NYSTRS, be aware it could impact your NYSTRS benefit.
Sections 211 and 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law govern NYS public employment by service retirees under age 65. Working under Section 211 requires your employer to obtain a waiver.
The current Section 212 earnings limit, determined by the state Legislature, is $35,000 per calendar year.
The earnings limit has been temporarily suspended at times by New York State executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in no earnings limit for pay earned:
- From March 27, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.
- From Jan. 1, 2021 through June 24, 2021. (The governor rescinded the executive order effective June 25, 2021; therefore pay earned from June 25, 2021 through Sept. 26, 2021 counts toward the annual $35,000 earnings limit.)
- From Sept. 27, 2021 until June 22, 2023.
Newly enacted legislation, Chapter 55 of the Laws of 2023, extends the retirement earnings cap suspension through June 30, 2024. The new law only applies to retirees who return to work at a public school district or BOCES. Employment at a charter school, community college, SUNY, or any other public employment is not covered by this law.
You can find more information about post-retirement earnings, including the rules governing work as a consultant, in the pamphlet Working in Retirement and in the Retired Members' Handbook.
Service Retirees: Reporting Your Earnings
If you are under 65 and working for a New York State public employer, you are required to report your earnings to NYSTRS as soon as you reach the limit – even if you worked under a waiver or your public employer contracted with a private, third-party entity to hire you.
If you have a MyNYSTRS account, use the Earnings After Retirement feature to report your earnings. We recommend reporting monthly, even if you do not intend to exceed the limit. Timely self-reporting helps you track your earnings and avoid having to repay a portion of your retirement benefit.
Those without an account will need to complete and submit the Reporting Your New York State Public Employment Earnings (RMS-64.1) form as soon as they reach the limit.
If you work for a NYSTRS-participating employer (including New York State public school districts, qualifying charter schools, the state Education Department, SUNY or state community colleges), you must provide your NYSTRS EmplID to your employer. In addition to your own reporting, NYSTRS-participating employers must report your earnings to us on a monthly basis.
Please Note: If you are subject to an earnings limit and exceed the limit at any time during a calendar year, NYSTRS will suspend your pension for the remainder of the calendar year if you continue working in New York State public employment. You also will be required to repay NYSTRS either your retirement benefit for each day you exceeded the limit (applicable to those who worked without a waiver) or the dollar amount you earned in excess of the waiver limit (applicable to those who had a waiver with a specified earnings limit).
Tier 3-6 Members: You must be totally and permanently disabled from all employment to qualify for, and continue to receive, a disability retirement benefit. Employment of any type may jeopardize your disability pension.
Tier 1 and 2 Members: It is possible for Tier 1 and 2 members to receive a disability retirement from their teaching job and then work in a different job that is not affected by their disability. However, the amount of earnings allowed during a calendar year is limited to the difference between your final average salary (or the salary you would now be receiving had you continued in service, whichever is greater) and your retirement benefit.
If you earn more than the limit, your disability benefit will be reduced to reflect the excess earnings. While the calculation of your earnings limit considers income from all forms of employment, it does not include returns on investments (stocks, bonds, etc.) or other disability benefits you are receiving.
ALL Disability Retirees: You must report your gross employment earnings (or confirm you are not gainfully employed) to NYSTRS annually using either the Disability Earnings After Retirement feature in MyNYSTRS or a paper Disability Retiree Statement of Earnings (DIS-153) form, which will be mailed to you each February.
If you are considering returning to paid employment, we urge you to contact the System first to determine eligibility for continued benefits.
Please be aware that a disability retiree may be required at any time to undergo a medical examination by a physician designated by the System. If the NYSTRS Medical Board determines that you are no longer disabled, your disability benefit will be discontinued and you will be restored to active membership.