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UFT.org Home > News > New York Teacher > Retired teachers chapter news > Working after retirement? What you should know
by Tom Murphy | March 22, 2012 New York Teacher issue
If you are a retiree planning to stay in the workforce or re-enter the workforce on a full- or part-time basis, there are some important rules you must pay attention to so you don’t jeopardize your retirement allowance.
Under a state law that is similar to the rules governing Social Security, there is no longer any limit on earnings for retirees 65 and older who are working for New York State and collecting a New York State pension. That’s a five-year gain over the previous 70-year-old limit.
For retirees over 65, the amount you can earn in 2012 without affecting your pension has been eliminated. Check the following for the regulations appropriate for your circumstances.
As a retiree you may always work in private employment or in public employment — except in the employ of New York State or any of its political subdivisions — without affecting your retirement allowance.
In addition, there is no limitation on your earnings as a retiree beginning with the calendar year in which you reach 65 years of age.
A New York State public employee retiree — such as you — who takes employment with New York State or any of its subdivisions should know that such employment could affect your retirement allowance.
Be sure to read through carefully so that you do not jeopardize your retirement allowance.
A law, which only applies to service retirees and which has been renewed periodically for the past several years, establishes three categories of retired employees who may work in public service in New York State without affecting their retirement allowances.
First category: A retiree working for the New York City Department of Education may earn the difference between his or her maximum retirement allowance and the salary that could be earned on the job had the person not retired, with such difference raised to the next higher multiple of $500.
A retiree must have the approval under a 211 waiver. Section 211 was amended by Chapter 640 of the Laws of 2008.
Chapter 640 bars retirees from returning to work under Section 211 in the same or similar position for a period of one year following retirement. It also requires participating employers to prepare a detailed recruitment plan and show either that there is an urgent need — as a result of an unplanned, unpredictable and unexpected vacancy — where sufficient time is not available to recruit, or that the employer has undertaken extensive recruitment efforts and did not find any available, qualified nonretired persons. The hiring must also be deemed to be temporary, rather then a final filling of the position.
The amendments to Section 211 do not apply to individuals for whom waivers were already granted.
Second category: A retiree working for a different public employer has no limitation on his or her earnings. The same approval as outlined above is required.
Third category: Amendments to the law have been passed permitting a retiree under 65 years of age to earn up to $30,000 in 2008 in New York State public service without the need for prior approval. The New York State Legislature has not changed the earnings limit for 2009 through 2011. You must file a statement (Form 212) with the retirement system to the effect that the retiree elects to have the provisions of this law apply. If you earn more than the maximum amount, the law requires that your pension payment be discontinued.
A cautious retiree would make sure he or she does not exceed the earning limit for 2008 ($30,000) until the Legislature changes the amount.
A retiree 65 years of age or older faces no limitations on earnings.
No pension credit may be granted for postretirement service under this law.
How your Social Security benefits are affected
A retiree from 62 to full retirement age may earn up to $14,640 per year for 2012 without affecting Social Security benefits. If a retiree earns more than this amount, he or she will lose $1 in Social Security benefits for every $2 earned.
A retiree who is at full retirement age in 2011 (age 66 or older) faces no limitations on earnings beginning in the month he or she reaches full retirement age.
There is a special earnings test in the year one reaches full retirement age. In 2012, it is $38,880 a year — $3,240 per month. Earnings above the limit will reduce Social Security benefits by $1 for every $3 earned.
Since these figures increase periodically, it is up to you to keep informed of any changes. Check with our Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213 from anywhere in the United States.
A note about your union dues: When you return to work for the city’s Department of Education and continue to collect a pension, you will find that you are paying union dues both as a retiree (from your pension check) and as an employee (from your payroll check). This duplication occurs because two separate agencies are involved. The Department of Education automatically deducts dues from every employee represented by the UFT, whether you are retired or not. You are entitled to a refund of the lesser dues amount.
F-status note: If you are F-status, please be aware that the vacation pay you earn will be counted as part of your allowable earnings.