After I retire, can I return to teaching in a New York State public school?
If you are a NYSTRS service retiree, you may generally return to teaching in a New York State public school and earn a limited amount of income within a calendar year without it affecting your pension.
If you plan to return to work for a NYSTRS participating employer immediately following your anticipated date of retirement, you MUST have a break in service of at least one business day before working in retirement. Weekends and holidays do not constitute a break in service.
For additional details, including rules that apply to a disability retirement, or to learn about other options for returning to work after you retire, see our pamphlet Working in Retirement.
Are there any situations where I can earn an unlimited amount of money working in retirement without it impacting my NYSTRS benefits?
If you are a NYSTRS service retiree, you can have unlimited earnings in retirement without it impacting your public pension under the following scenarios:
- All employment (including public employment) beginning in the calendar year you turn 65.
- Private sector employment that does NOT include services to any NYS public employer. (Employment for a business providing services to a NYS public employer is considered public employment. These earnings must be reported to NYSTRS and earnings limits may apply.)
- Federal employment.
- Public employment in another state.
- Work as an elected official, inspector of elections, poll or ballot clerk, commissioner of deeds, juror, or notary public – provided you were elected or appointed to an elected position you did not hold prior to retirement.
- Consultant work for a NYS public employer only if your NYSTRS date of membership is prior to May 31, 1973 AND the consultant agreement has been reviewed and approved by NYSTRS.
You may also qualify for unlimited earnings if your employer receives a waiver on your behalf from the appropriate governing body. For additional details and information on earnings limits, read our pamphlet Working in Retirement.
Do I have to report my earnings to NYSTRS?
Unless you fall into a category which allows unlimited earnings, you must report your non-pension earnings to NYSTRS as soon as you reach $35,000. This is required even if your public employer reports your earnings, you have a waiver to exceed the earnings limit or your public employer contracted with a private, third-party entity to hire you.
We recommend using the Earnings After Retirement feature in your MyNYSTRS account to report earnings monthly. Those without a MyNYSTRS 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.
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).
See our Working in Retirement pamphlet for details.
What if I am collecting a disability retirement benefit?
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.
See our Working in Retirement pamphlet for details.