Dec - Jan Issue
November 25, 2014

TRS: Pension buybacks and retirement earnings

Source: NYSUT United

Teachers’ Retirement SystemQ: I'm a public school special education teacher. I've been told there's no way for me to buy back retirement credit for the years I worked at a private school in New York state. However, I can't believe there isn't some way I can get credit for those years.

Many of my colleagues have been able to buy back time for military service and from non-teaching county and state jobs. Please consider allowing those of us who worked in private schools to buy back our time.

A: While it may seem unfair, currently there is no way to buy back credit for private school teaching. NYSUT is lobbying hard for a bill that would allow pension credit for private school service, but the state Legislature has yet to take action. Unfortunately, neither NYSUT nor the New York State Teachers' Retirement System has control over this, only state lawmakers. We encourage you to call, email or write your state representatives and urge them to pass this important legislation.

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: Congratulations on your retirement! If you are younger than 65 years old, your post-retirement earnings from public employment in New York state are capped at $30,000. 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.


If you work for a New York State Teachers' Retirement System participating employer, you must provide your seven-digit NYSTRS Employee Identification Number. Your annual earnings will be automatically reported to the system.