Thinking of a “temporary” retirement? Better know the facts first

The possibility of reopening schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has some educators thinking about retiring early. Some may be thinking about retiring until the pandemic subsides and then returning to the classroom after a year or two. The Teacher Retirement System cautions, however, that there are no provisions in the law allowing a public educator to retire “temporarily.”

Your retirement annuity amount would be fixed as of your initial retirement date. Any employment after that retirement date would not increase your annuity amount. There would not be a new calculation for the annuity to reflect additional years of service or a higher salary, and there would not be a “second” annuity.

A public education employee who retires also will be subject to employment-after-retirement guidelines. The law allows a retiree to go back to work without restrictions after a consecutive 12-month break. But a retiree returning to work more than one-half time is subject to a pension surcharge equal to the amount of both member and state contributions on the compensation paid. That amount currently is 15.2 percent. A health benefit surcharge also would be due for TRS-Care, currently $535. Employers often pass these surcharges on to the retiree. (These surcharges are effective for retirement dates after Sept. 1, 2005.)

For more information on employment after retirement, check out this TRS resource or contact TRS directly.