Retirees: Know Your Post-Retirement Earnings Limit

Retirees: Know Your Post-Retirement Earnings LimitAs a NYSLRS retiree, you can work for a public employer after retirement and still receive your pension, but there may be limits 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

Section 212 of the RSSL allows retirees to earn up to $30,000 per calendar year from public employment. 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.

OR

  • Rejoin NYSLRS, in which case your retirement benefit will be suspended.

Section 211: 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.

10 thoughts on “Retirees: Know Your Post-Retirement Earnings Limit

  1. Deb

    so when I retire next July, I can get a p/t or f/t job in the private sector and that will not affect my pension? is this correct?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, no. If a NYSLRS retiree chooses one of the standard pension payment options that provides a lifetime benefit to a beneficiary (such as a spouse), that benefit isn’t affected if the beneficiary remarries.

      However, for information about your particular situation, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Most NYSLRS members can return to public employment after retiring, though there are earnings restrictions depending on your pension benefit and age. You may find helpful information in our publication, What If I Work After Retirement. We aren’t certain, however, what you mean by “status”.
      For information about your particular situation, we recommend contacting our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Besides a birth certificate, we’ll accept any of these documents as proof of your birth date:

    2. Baptismal certificate;
    3. Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214);
    4. New York State driver’s license;
    5. Passport; or
    6. Naturalization papers.
    7. In most cases, a photocopy is acceptable. If you do send us the original, we will return it to you.

      Reply
  2. Sheila

    I will collect my Soc Sec now, early, while I am still working. When I am able to retire in two years, is Social Security included in the “amount” I can make, once I start collecting my pension?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Your Social Security benefits do not count toward the amount you can earn from post-retirement public employment. However, for more information about the circumstances you describe, we recommend you visit the Social Security Administration website or speak with a financial advisor.

      Reply

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