After you retire, you can work for any employer that does not participate in the Virginia Retirement System, such as a non-profit organization or private company, and continue to receive your retirement benefits. If you return to a VRS position, your options include:

  • Returning to non-covered employment. Under some circumstances, you can continue to receive your retirement benefits while working in a non-covered position with a VRS-participating employer.
  • Returning to covered employment , your retirement benefits will stop and you will become an active member .
  • Returning in a critical shortage position. Positions are full-time and temporary. You will continue to receive your retirement benefit but you will not earn additional TOOLTIP.
  • Returning as a retiree school security officer. Open only to retired sworn law-enforcement officers. Positions are full-time. You will continue to receive your retirement benefit, but you will not earn additional service credit.

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Considerations Before You Return to Work

Considerations Before You Return to Work

Understand how your benefits may be impacted if you return to work.

Retired on Disability?

  • If you are retired on disability and accept a position with any non-VRS or VRS-participating employer that requires the same or similar duties as those you performed in your previous position, your disability retirement benefits will end.
  • If you return to covered employment with a VRS-participating employer, your disability benefits will stop and you will become an active member, regardless of your new duties. When you retire again, you will retire under service retirement. The period of time you were retired on disability will be included in the calculation of your service retirement benefit. If you wish to retire on disability again, you must reapply by submitting all required disability retirement forms and documents. Your application will be evaluated under the medical review process based on the duties of your new position.

Read more about disability retirement.

Before Returning to Work

If you want to work after you retire, call VRS toll-free at 1-888-827-3847 to determine the effect of accepting covered or non-covered employment on your current and future retirement benefits. Also contact the Social Security Administration for information on how earnings during retirement affect your eligibility for Social Security Benefits. Call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security Administration website.

If you retire, then go back to work in a covered position with a VRS-participating employer, you generally will be rehired in the plan from which you retired. In certain circumstances involving hazardous duty or judicial service, you will be rehired under the currently applicable retirement plan for your new position. Check with your employer or VRS.

Your Benefits

Upon reemployment in a covered position, your retirement benefits payments stop. You will resume earning TOOLTIP toward your next retirement. When you retire again, you will retire under the currently applicable plan for your position, which may change the benefit calculation for your second retirement. Your subsequent benefit calculation will also include the additional service credit as well as any increase in your average final compensation. In many cases, that will result in a higher subsequent benefit than your current benefit amount. However, depending on your circumstances, your next benefit may actually be less.

Examples
  • Any cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) you are receiving with your current benefit will not immediately resume when you retire again. As a result, your subsequent benefit may be less than what you are receiving now, especially if you have been receiving the COLA for several years. You will become eligible for a COLA effective July 1 of the second calendar year after your subsequent retirement date. The COLA will be calculated as if you were retiring for the first time.
  • If you retired under a severance benefits program administered by VRS, you will lose any additional retirement credits used to calculate your current benefit upon subsequent retirement. This may affect whether or not your next benefit is less than your current benefit amount.

Hazardous Duty Enhanced Benefits and Return to Work

If you retired with an enhanced benefit from a position covered by VRS, SPORS or VaLORS and return to covered employment with any VRS-participating employer in any capacity, your retirement benefit will be determined based on the plan you are covered under at the time of your subsequent retirement. This may result in the loss of enhanced hazardous duty retirement benefits.

Life Insurance and Disability Coverage Upon Reemployment

Basic group life insurance

  • If you have retiree coverage under the VRS Group Life Insurance Program and return to an employer that participates in the program, you will resume active member coverage for basic life insurance benefits. The amount of coverage will be based on your compensation upon reemployment or, if you have 20 or more years of service credit, your highest compensation as a covered employee.
  • If you have retiree coverage and return to an employer that does not participate in the VRS Group Life Insurance Program, you will continue your retiree coverage at the level to which it had reduced before re-employment.

Optional group life insurance

  • If you return to an employer that participates in the group life insurance program, you can apply for the Optional Group Life Insurance Program for yourself as well as a spouse or dependent children upon reemployment. You will pay the premiums.
  • If you elected optional life insurance with your previous position and continued your coverage into retirement, this coverage will not continue if you return to covered employment with an employer that participates in the VRS Group Life Insurance Program. You must re-apply to have optional life coverage again as an active member. However, if you converted your previous coverage to an individual policy, you may continue your policy as well as re-apply for coverage as an active member.

Disability coverage

Defined Contribution Plan Distributions

If you return to covered employment, you will be able to resume contributions or enroll in, if applicable, the defined contribution plans. If you return to covered employment and are receiving plan distributions, your distributions will stop. You cannot receive distributions while working in a covered position unless you are age 70 ½ or older and eligible for an in-service distribution.

More Information

If you are thinking of returning to covered employment, refer to your member handbook for more information about the provisions of the plan under which you will return. If you return to covered employment, your human resource office will assist you with active member benefit coverage. You also can contact VRS toll-free at 1-888-827-3847 for assistance.

If you want to work for a VRS-participating employer and continue to receive your retirement benefits, you must work in a non-covered position, and the hours must be 80% or less of the hours required of a full-time employee in the same or a comparable covered position. Employers, not VRS, classify positions as full time or part time and define the hours applicable to each classification, according to the following guidelines:

  • Full-time employment is typically considered to be 40 hours a week. Thirty-two hours is the usual minimum number for a full-time position.
  • Part-time employment is typically 80% or less of a comparable full-time position. Note that some permanent part-time state positions are paid on a salaried basis and are considered covered positions providing eligibility for benefits.
  • Some full-time positions may be considered non-covered if they are temporary and require 80% or less of the hours per year that would be considered full-time and permanent for that position.
  • If you work in more than one part-time position and continue to receive your retirement benefits, the total number of hours for all positions cannot exceed a part-time schedule.

If you return to non-covered employment with the employer from which you retired, you must have a bona fide break in service to continue receiving retirement benefits. The Commonwealth of Virginia, including all state agencies and public colleges and universities, is considered one employer. School divisions and political subdivisions are considered separate employers.

Example You have just started your retirement after 30 years with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). If James Madison University offers you a part-time position, you will be required to have a break in service to continue receiving your benefits. James Madison and VDOT are part of the same employer, the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, if the City of Harrisonburg offers you a part-time position, no break in service will be required. The city is a separate employer.

You and your employer must certify on the retirement application that there has been no verbal or written offer of reemployment after retirement.

Interim Appointments

In some cases, retirees can work in an interim position for up to six months without interruption in retirement benefits. Examples include working in a vacant position while the employer recruits for a full-time permanent employee or while the incumbent is on leave. If you are considering an interim appointment, your employer must discuss the appointment with VRS before hiring you in the position and provide proof that the employer is actively recruiting for the position. If you return to the employer from which you retired, you also must have a bona fide break in service.

If you are working in a covered position from having previously retired under VRS, your next retirement benefit will be recalculated to include the additional TOOLTIP earned in your current position as well as any changes in your average final compensation. For an estimate of your next benefit, log in to your myVRS account or call the VRS customer counseling center at 1-888-827-3847.

Applying for Subsequent Retirement

If eligible, complete your retirement application through myVRS or submit a new Application for Service Retirement (VRS-5) and other required forms and documents to VRS within 60 days, but not more than four months (120 days), before your retirement date. You must elect the same benefit payout option you elected previously. If you elected the Partial Lump-Sum Option Payment (PLOP) for your previous retirement, you will not receive another PLOP. Your subsequent benefit also will be adjusted for the payment of your first PLOP. If you elected the Advance Pension Option, your subsequent benefit calculation will be adjusted for the temporary increase in your previous benefit. Read more about benefit payout options.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

Any cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) you were receiving with your previous retirement benefit will not resume when you retire again. You will become eligible for a COLA effective July 1 of the second calendar year after your subsequent retirement date. The COLA will be calculated as if you are retiring for the first time.

Retired on Disability?

If you retired on disability and returned to covered employment, you will retire under service retirement when you retire again. The period of time you were retired on disability will be included in the calculation of your service retirement benefit. If you wish to retire on disability again, you must resubmit all required forms and documents for disability retirement and be evaluated again under the medical review process for your new position.

Note

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