Ask Jack: If I retire, how long do I have to wait to return to work without penalty?

Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

Q: Do I have to wait six months from my retirement date to begin work in a K-12 setting or wait until the new school year begins?

If you separate from service and return to work within 180 calendar days, or six months, from your effective retirement date in a position with the California public school system as an employee, an employee of a third party, or an independent contractor, your retirement benefit will be reduced dollar for dollar by the amount that you earn in CalSTRS-covered employment during the first 180 calendar days following your most recent retirement effective date up to your benefit amount payable during that period.

The California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) extends the separation-from-service requirement, or zero-dollar earnings limit, to all members who retire on or after January 1, 2013, regardless of your age. If your most recent retirement date was on or after January 1, 2013, and you return to work within 180 days, or six months, under CalSTRS-covered employment, your benefit will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount that you earned in that employment, up to your benefit amount payable in that period. This requirement also applies to Cash Balance annuitants who are under normal retirement age. For 2% at 60 members normal retirement age is 60.

 Learn more about working after retirement.