As a New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) retiree, it’s possible to work a public job after retirement and receive your pension, but there are limits to your post-retirement earnings. If you’re self-employed, work for a private employer, work for another state, or work for the federal government, you don’t have to worry about post-retirement earnings. You can earn as much as you want in your new job and still collect your full NYSLRS benefit.
But if you collect a NYSLRS pension and want to return to work in the public sector, there are two sections of the Retirement & Social Security Law (RSSL) you have to comply with that deal with post-retirement earnings.
Under Section 212 of the RSSL, you may earn up to the annual amount set by law. The limit for 2015 is $30,000. Typically, your earnings are not limited in the year you reach age 65.
However, if you are under the age of 65 and earn more than the Section 212 limit during a calendar year, you may:
- Pay back NYSLRS an amount equal to the retirement benefit you received after you reached the mandated limit. If you continue to work, your retirement benefit will be suspended.
- Rejoin NYSLRS, in which case your retirement benefit will stop.
If you return to work and earn more than the Section 212 limit, your pension will be suspended unless your public employer requests a Section 211 approval for you. This will allow you to continue receiving your retirement benefit without reduction.
Section 211 approvals are given for a fixed period of time, normally up to two years.
If you earn more than the Section 212 limit and do not get Section 211 approval, your benefit will be reduced or suspended.
If you have questions about working after retirement, please read our publication, What If I Work After Retirement? (VO1648).