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Rules for working retirees

UFT retirees have a secure retirement thanks to their Qualified Pension Plan retirement allowance. But following a national trend, many retirees work at least part time during their retirement years.

Some re-enter the workforce to keep active, while others take the opportunity to explore a new field of interest or pursue a lifelong dream. Still others want to earn funds to supplement their retirement allowance, Social Security payments and savings.

If you are thinking of joining the ranks of working retirees, here are some guidelines so you don’t put your retirement benefits at risk.

Please note: Most of this information pertains specifically to service retirees, not those who retired with disability pensions.

Restrictions on income

If you return to work in the private sector, for a nonprofit organization or as a public employee in another state or the federal government, there are no limits on the amount of money you may earn. If you receive an annuity under the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) Program, your monthly TDA annuity payments are not affected by the amount of your post-retirement income either.

However, the post-retirement income you may earn as a New York State public employee while collecting a service retirement allowance from the Teachers’ Retirement System may be restricted.

Retirees who are 65 or older may continue to collect a full service retirement allowance regardless of how much they earn while employed by New York State. Under Section 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law, service retirees under age 65 who work for New York State or any of its subdivisions may earn up to a designated limit without any consequences for their retirement benefits. The limit for 2018 is $30,000.

You must file a Certificate of Employment under Section 212 form (code RP76) with TRS to apply Section 212 provisions to your employment. This form must be filed each year until the calendar year in which you reach age 65. You can download this form from the TRS website.

Knowing your limits

If you earn more than the designated amount during the calendar year while working under Section 212, you must repay the excess earnings; otherwise, your retirement allowance will be suspended, usually for the rest of the calendar year.

If you anticipate your earnings as a New York State public employee will exceed your earnings limit, you must comply with Section 211 of the Retirement and Social Security Law to continue receiving a retirement allowance. To apply Section 211 provisions to your earnings, you must be granted a waiver by your employer.

If you have any questions regarding postretirement employment, call 212-331-6314.