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 November 3, 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.

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

  1. Kurt C. Siegel

    That’s all well and good, but now I’ve been laid off from the School District I work for, due to COVIS-19 job abolishment. No one can tell me if my NYS PFRS Pension will affect my unemployment benefits. I’ve tried Civil Service, Unemployment, and sitting on hold with the Retirement System, but I don’t have an answer.

    Reply
  2. Richard Wiesen

    I retired from public service in 2019. This year I worked as a consultant for a school district, and part time for Saratoga County. Since both are public employers, I know I would normally be subject to the earnings cap of $35,000. However,, I have been covering another person’s extended absence at the County and may exceed that cap as a result. How is NYSLRS going to be able to differentiate my earnings during the waiver period of March to October ? I don’t want to have my pension suspended or have to pay back any wages.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      It is your responsibility to notify us if you will earn more than the earnings limit. Pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through October 4, 2020 will not count toward the annual limit.

      If you know you are going to earn more than the limit, contact us at least a month before you go over the limit. You can email us using the secure email form (see link below), or you can fax a letter to 518-402-2498. Be sure to include the name of your employers, the approximate date that you expect to earn more than the limit and your daytime phone number in case we have questions.

      http://www.emailNYSLRS.com

      Reply
  3. Michael Mynarski

    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. Question. My 65th birthday will be in November of 2021. As per calendar year does this mean the starting in January of 2021 the limit will not apply for me if working in public employment? And not effect my nys pension? Thanks

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      There is generally no restriction on your earnings beginning in the calendar year you turn 65. For most retirees, if you turn 65 at any time in 2021, you would not be subject to the Section 212 earnings limit in 2021 or thereafter.

      Some retirees may subject to earnings restrictions even after they turn 65 (for example, disability retirees and retirees who are returning to elected office). For information specific to your situation, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website.

      Reply
  4. Tom

    To confirm, members of the PFRS that are retired and have been receiving pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through October 4, 2020 will not have it count toward their annual earnings cap?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      That is correct. The suspension of the earnings cap applies to all PFRS and ERS service retirees who are subject to the limit under Section 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) (it does not apply to disability retirees).

      Reply
  5. Kevin Eaton

    I am a retired NYC Correction Captain have contacted NYCERS they know nothing about the Governors executive order. I work for a school district. I need to know if I can continue to work or will I have to stop so I don’t exceed the 35,000 cap.Nycers representitve say they would have to hear from Legal and then send info out. Not exactly what I wanted to hear!

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We are the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS), the retirement system for employees of New York State and municipalities outside New York City.

      For questions about the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), please call them at 347-643-3000.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Yes, the waiver of the retiree earnings limit has been extended. Pay earned from March 27 through October 4, 2020 will not count toward the $35,000 cap.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Yes, the waiver of the retiree earnings limit has been extended. Pay earned from March 27 through October 4, 2020 will not count toward the $35,000 cap.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you have a question about a communication that was sent to you by NYSLRS staff, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts. You can also email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  6. Gary Brown

    If we are going to exceed the cap do we have to notify anyone if so could you please tell me who? I have tried the number numerous times and can’t seem to get a response

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We’re apologize for the trouble you had reaching our customer service representatives. Your message is important to us and we have sent you a private message in response.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you are a NYSLRS retiree working for a public employer, you are subject to the earnings limit rules (including the temporary waiver) if you are being paid by that employer, even if you are not reporting to the employer’s work site.

      If you are an active NYSLRS members (not retired), you will continue to earn service credit as long as you being paid by your employer, even if you are not reporting to your usual work site.

      Reply
  7. KJ

    With schools due to open soon and many schools using a hybrid model, there seems to be a need for more teachers. Does the $35,000 limit still apply for educators?

    Reply
  8. LD

    New order last night, could you please check into this. Looks like extension is until 9/4.

    Thank you!

    No. 202.55

    E X E C U T I V E O R D E R

    Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws

    Relating to the Disaster Emergency

    WHEREAS, on March 7, 2020, I issued Executive Order Number 202, declaring a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York; and

    WHEREAS, both travel-related cases and community contact transmission of COVID-19 have been documented in New York State and are expected to continue;

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to temporarily suspend or modify any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or parts thereof, of any agency during a State disaster emergency, if compliance with such statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation would prevent, hinder, or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster emergency or if necessary to assist or aid in coping with such disaster, do hereby continue the directives, not superseded by a subsequent directive, made by Executive Order 202 and each successor Executive Order up to and including Executive Order 202.21, and Executive Order 202.27, 202.28, 202.29, 202.30, 202.38, 202.39, and 202.40, as continued and contained in Executive Order 202.48, 202.49, and 202.50 for another thirty days through September 4, 2020, and I hereby suspend or modify for thirty days through September 4, 2020:

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      On August 5, the Governor extended the suspension of the retiree earnings limit. Pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through September 4, 2020, will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap.

      Reply
  9. CM

    Didn’t Executive Order 202.53 extend the provisions of Executive Order 202.11? If that is correct, wouldn’t the exempt period be until August 20?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      On August 5, the Governor extended the suspension of the retiree earnings limit. Pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through September 4, 2020, will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap.

      Reply
  10. Linda

    Does the waiver of earnings only apply if you returned to work under Section 212 during the COVID crisis or does it apply to any retiree? For example if you returned prior to COVID and having been working for awhile, do you still get the benefit of the income suspension? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The executive order applies to retirees who are impacted by the Section 212 earnings limit.

      For specific information about whether the waiver applies to you, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of them 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. Janice Heelein

        Per your message posted today, you have implied that not all retirees may be working under the income exemption- that we need to contact a representative for a ‘review ‘. This information is the opposite of the information provided at the beginning of this situation. As a retired employee, I would have stopped working a few months ago, but have continued because of my Agencies needs, now I have to worry about whether my pension has been compromised. Really disappointed in how you have communicated this information.

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          We apologize for any confusion and we hope this information is helpful.

          Section 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law does not apply to some retirees (such as recipients of disability retirement benefits). Because of these exceptions, we advise retirees to contact us before accepting public employment that might affect their benefits. Under Section 212, 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. Under the Governor’s executive order, which has been extended, pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through September 4, 2020, will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap.

          Reply
  11. LD

    It has been a few days, have you looked into this?

    202.53 extended until 8/20.

    Could this be anymore confusing.

    E X E C U T I V E O R D E R

    Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws

    Relating to the Disaster Emergency

    No. 202.53

    E X E C U T I V E O R D E R

    Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency

    WHEREAS, on March 7, 2020, I issued Executive Order Number 202, declaring a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York; and

    WHEREAS, both travel-related cases and community contact transmission of COVID-19 have been documented in New York State and are expected to continue;

    NOW THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to temporarily suspend or modify any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or parts thereof, of any agency during a State disaster emergency, if compliance with such statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation would prevent, hinder, or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster emergency or if necessary to assist or aid in coping with such disaster, do hereby continue the suspensions and modifications of law, and any directives, not superseded by a subsequent directive, made by Executive Order 202.22, through 202.26, and including 202.32, except for the provision authorizing the extension of payment of sales and use taxes without penalty by the Commissioner of Tax and Finance, 202.33, 202.34, and 202.35 as contained in Executive Order 202.44 and Executive Order 202.45 until August 20, 2020.

    IN ADDITION, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to issue any directive during a disaster emergency necessary to cope with the disaster, I hereby issue the following directives for the period from the date of this Executive Order through August 20, 2020:

    The directive contained in Executive Order 202.45, which extended the provisions of Executive Orders 202.3, 202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7, 202.8, 202.10, 202.11, 202.13, 202.14, 202.28, 202.31, 202.34, 202.35 and 202.41

    Reply
  12. Tina Roeder

    I retired in March 1st and came back to work per diem on April 13th. My earnings for this calendar year are well over $35,000.00 due to the fact that I was earning a full time salary up to March 1st. Do these previous retirement earnings count toward the yearly post retirement salary cap? I know that the salary cap is waived at this moment but I need to know if I can work after the waiver is lifted.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Only the money you earn from public employment after you retired is counted toward your earnings limit. Your pre-retirement salary would not be included.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      At this time, we are not aware of an extension of the executive order temporarily waiving the retiree earnings limit. If there are any future developments concerning the earnings cap, we will post that information on social media and on our website.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Under the Governor’s executive order, pay from a public employer earned from March 27, 2020, through August 5, 2020, does not count toward the $35,000 earnings limit. So when you are calculating how much you earned for the year, don’t include money that you earned from March 27 through August 5.

      Reply
  13. L.D

    I may be figuring this wrong and maybe someone can help. These are just random numbers for simplicity. For example on 3/17 your earnings were $25,000 and on 8/4 your earnings are 55,000. So if you subtract those earning during that time frame you have $30,000 which is waivered. Do you add that waivered amount to the normal limit of $35k which would be $65K and that is when you stop your retirement pay. Or would you add it to your salary on 8 /4 which would be $55K and add your waivered amount which would end up being 85K. I’m thinking you add the waivered to the normal amount??

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      To calculate the applicable earnings, subtract any money earned during waiver period from your total annual earnings.

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

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We are not aware of an extension of the executive order temporarily waiving the retiree earnings limit, which expired on July 6, 2020. If there are any future developments concerning the earnings cap, we will post that information on social media and on our website.

      Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          The executive order temporarily waiving the retiree earnings limit has been extended. Pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through August 5, 2020, will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap.

          Reply
      1. Lisa David

        Can you please review executive order 202.48, this looks like it extends the income waiver until August 6, 2020. Thank you

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          The executive order temporarily waiving the retiree earnings limit has been extended. Pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through August 5, 2020, will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap.

          Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you have questions about the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), you can call them at 347-643-3000.

      Reply
  14. Darrell King

    I am retired in 2020 from NYS OMH and applying for one of the contact tracer positions to help for the duration. Trying to find out if worming this temporary fulltime position is a valid option for me. Is this post saying it is?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      That depends on several factors, including your age, how much you will earn and whether you retired under a regular service retirement or a disability retirement.

      Most NYSLRS retirees can earn up to $35,000 per calendar year from public employment without a reduction in their pension. There generally is no earnings limit starting in the year a retiree turns 65.

      Under the Governor’s executive order, pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through July 6, 2020 will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap.

      For more information about the earnings limit, please read our booklet What if I Work After Retirement? For account-specific questions about the earnings limit, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  15. Richard V Hojer

    I’ve been working in the system 22yrs why do we have to wait till 65 to retire if I already in the time..???

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you’re referring to the age 65 milestone mentioned in this blog post, that’s referring to NYSLRS members who are already retired. Generally these retirees can choose to go back to work for a public employer, without affecting their pension, beginning at age 65.

      If you are asking what age NYSLRS members can retire, most vested NYSLRS members in regular retirement plans can retire as early as age 55, but they may face a pension reduction if they retire before full retirement age (which is 62 or 63, depending on tier).

      You can find more information about your retirement benefits in your retirement plan booklet. For account-specific information about your retirement benefits, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  16. Janice Heelein

    How does a person calculate what counts versus what is excluded toward the $35,000 limit? Do you count wages by the day you worked the hours or by when you are paid?

    Reply
  17. Lisa Davis

    Based on Gov. Cuomo executive order 202.35, he extended EO 202.34 which included executive order 202.11 through 6/28/20. EO 202.00 included the section 212 waiver. Is this an extension of the waiver of the retiree earnings limit? Thank you

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The waiver has been extended. Earnings from March 27 through July 6, 2020, will not count toward the limit.

      Reply
      1. Jim C.

        You note through July 7th here but at the top of the page show July 6th. Which is correct? Will wages earned through c.o.b. July 7 count towards the limit or not? Thank you.

        Reply
  18. Janice Heelein

    Can you advise on exactly how a person calculates their countable wages for the $35,000 limit? Is the value based on the day the person works, versus the day those wages are paid? I worked through December, but was paid those wages in January, do I include those wages in the 2020 total? Since March I am working much more than originally planned. For the wages worked related to the Covid-19 exempt time frame, are the dates of work where I show the funds as excluded as a day to day calculation? Thank you, I do not want to compromise my pension to continue my work for NYS.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Under normal circumstances, the limit includes all earnings for the calendar year, including money or retroactive payments earned in the calendar year but paid in a different calendar year. Under the executive order, pay from a public employer earned from March 27 through July 6, 2020 will not count toward a retiree’s annual earnings cap.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We are not yet aware of an extension to the waiver of the retiree earnings limit, but if there is an extension, we will post the details on social media.

      Reply
  19. Ed Perucca

    I currently work as a school bus driver for a school district. My pay ends June 16 2020. Can I apply and collect unemployment and PUA while collecting my pension?

    Reply
  20. 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. NYSLRS

          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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
    1. NYSLRS Post author

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

      Reply
  25. 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

      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
  26. 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

      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. Russ Tobey

        Will NY state up the limit again next year. It would be a great help to many who need the extra to pay for health insurance and rising prices after covid

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          At this time, we are not aware of any plan by the Governor or the Legislature to increase the retiree earnings limit. If there are any future developments concerning the earnings limit, we will post that information on social media and on our website.

          Reply

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