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Rules for working retirees

A retiree 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 his or her retirement allowance.

A New York State public employee retiree, who takes employment with New York State or any of its subdivisions, should know that such employment could affect his or her 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. In addition, there is no limitation upon a retiree’s earnings beginning with the calendar year in which he or she attains 65 years of age.

First Category - A retiree working for the Board 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 in October 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 could not find any available, qualified nonretired persons. The hiring must also be deemed to be temporary, rather then a final filling of the position.

Rules for working retirees

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 earning limits for 2009 or 2010. 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 they do not exceed the earning limit for 2008 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 post-retirement service under this law.

How your Social Security benefits are affected

A retiree from 62 to full retirement age may earn up to $14,160 per year for 2010 without affecting social security benefits. If a retiree earns more than this amount, he or she will lose one dollar in social security benefits for every two dollars earned.

A retiree who is at full retirement age in 2010 (age 66 or older) faces no limitations on earnings beginning in the month you reach full retirement age.

There is a special earnings test in the year one reaches full retirement age. In 2010, it is $37,680 a year — $3,140 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 (1-800-772-1213 from anywhere in the U.S.).