Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

If I retire before January 1, 2013 will I have to wait six months to work at any job, including substitute teaching?

That depends upon your age and where you take a job; for example, if you are under the normal retirement age of 60 years, there currently is a six month separation from service requirement that applies to you and any member under normal retirement age who retires and returns to work under CalSTRS-covered employment. Returning to work under CalSTRS-covered employment before the six month separation from service requirement is fulfilled means you will have your retirement benefit reduced dollar for dollar, up to your annual benefit amount, for any compensation earned.

CalSTRS-covered employment does include substitute teaching, but it does not include any work outside of the California public school system. Therefore, if you are under age 60, retired prior to Jan. 1, 2013, and returned to work as a substitute teacher, you are subject to the separation from service requirement.

If you are older than 60 years of age and retire prior to Jan. 1, 2013, you are not subject to the six month separation from service requirement, but you are subject to the postretirement earnings limit of $40,011 for the 2012-13 fiscal year. Again, you can continue to receive your full CalSTRS retirement benefit, with no earnings limit, if you take a job outside of CalSTRS-covered employment.

CalSTRS-covered employment is any of the following activities performed either as an employee of a CalSTRS employer; an employee of a third party contracted to perform services within the California public school system; or an independent contractor within the California public school system:

  1. The work of teachers, instructors, district interns, and academic employees employed in the instructional program for pupils, including special programs such as adult education, regional occupation programs, child care centers, and prekindergarten programs.
  2. Education or vocational counseling, guidance, and placement services.
  3. The work of directors, coordinators, and assistant administrators who plan courses of study to be used in California public schools, or research connected with the evaluation or efficiency of the instructional program.
  4. The selection, collection, preparation, classification, demonstration, or evaluation of instructional materials of any course of study for use in the development of the instructional program in California public schools, or other services related to school curriculum.
  5. The examination, selection, in–service training, or assignment of teachers, principals or other similar personnel involved in the instructional program.
  6. School activities related to, and an outgrowth of, the instructional and guidance program of the school when performed in addition to other activities described in this list.
  7. The work of nurses, physicians, speech therapists, psychologists, audiometrists, audiologists, and other school health professionals.
  8. Services as a school librarian.
  9. The work of employees who are responsible for the supervision of persons or administration of the duties described in this list.
  10. The work of superintendents of California public schools.

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