Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

I was wondering how much I can make in retirement with a school district and not be penalized. Is there a certain dollar amount?

During the first 180 days of retirement, any compensation you earn from CalSTRS-covered employment, either as an employee of the school district, an independent contractor or as an employee of a third party performing service for a school district, will be offset by a reduction in CalSTRS benefits paid during that time. In addition, there is an annual limit on how much you can earn after retirement for such employment.

The annual postretirement earnings limit for the 2013-14 school year is $39,903. Any amount you earn in a CalSTRS-covered position during the first 180 calendar days of retirement will also count against the annual postretirement earnings limit for the appropriate fiscal year. There are narrow exceptions to these limits under specified circumstances that are described in CalSTRS’ Your Retirement Guide 2014 on pages 17-19.

If your earnings from CalSTRS-covered employment exceed the limit, your retirement earnings will be reduced dollar for dollar for any amount in excess of the limit up to your annual benefit amount. The amount of this reduction accounts for any previous reduction to your benefit due to the postemployment earnings limits.

You can continue to receive your full CalSTRS retirement benefit, with no earnings limitation, if you take a job outside of CalSTRS-covered employment, including work in:

  • Private industry outside of the California public school system.
  • Private schools.
  • Public schools outside of California.
  • University of California or California State University system.

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