January 2017 Issue - Labor Issues
December 21, 2016

TRS: Constitutional convention endangers your pension

Source: NYSUT United

Teacher-members on the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of DirectorsQ: I read that a state constitutional convention vote takes place Nov. 7, 2017. What does this mean, and how could it impact me?

A: A constitutional convention could impact you a great deal — and likely not for the better. The state constitution protects the fundamental rights you enjoy as a New York State citizen, including guaranteed pension benefits, free public education and the right to unionize. Holding a constitutional convention, in which representatives can tweak, change or radically alter the state constitution, puts all those rights up for grabs. The New York State Constitution mandates that voters decide every 20 years whether to hold a convention. NYSUT is mobilizing to help voters understand what's on the line if a constitutional convention occurs. Voters rejected a constitutional convention in 1997 after concerned activists educated voters about the risks of opening the state constitution.

Q: I retired on July 1, 2014, and I'm receiving my monthly pension benefit. I'm now doing some per diem substitute work for my previous employer, and was approached about filling in for a long-term leave. I wasn't planning to do something like this so soon after retirement, but I'm considering the opportunity. What are the implications for doing this in retirement?

A: If you are younger than 65 years old, your post-retirement earnings from public employment in New York State are capped at $30,000; no income limits are in place for those older than 65. Other types of employment, for example private, out-of-state or federal government work, are not subject to the earnings cap. If you have questions, it's always a good idea to contact NYSTRS at 800-348- 7298, ext. 6150.

Did you know

David Keefe, NYSUT's retiree representative on the state Teachers' Retirement System Board of Directors, was elected NYSTRS board president in July. Keefe is a member of NYSUT Retiree Council 18.