You may work for any employer other than an ACERA participating employer for any amount of time without affecting your retirement allowance.
Working for an ACERA Participating Employer After Retirement Has Restrictions and Duration Limits
Becoming a Retired Annuitant
Once you retire as an ACERA member, and begin receiving an ACERA benefit, there are rules, regulations, policies, and laws which govern your ability to return to work with an ACERA participating employer.
Retired members may not be paid for service to an ACERA Participating Employer and continue to receive their retirement allowances except in limited and specific circumstances. In situations where the participating employer believes an ACERA retiree possesses special skills or knowledge, the law allows the participating employer to hire that retiree on a temporary basis—for a limited duration and for a period of 960 hours per fiscal year—without suspending the retiree’s retirement allowance, and as such, the employee is referred to as a “Retired Annuitant.” However, the following restrictions apply:
- You May Not Have a Prearranged Agreement to Return to Work: A member who retires cannot have a prearranged agreement (either written or oral) to return to work for the employer after retirement, regardless of the length of the break in service.
- General Members Must Wait 180 Days: Regardless of your age at retirement, general ACERA members who have retired won’t be eligible to return to work (for a limited duration, in any capacity, in any form) for an ACERA employer for a period of 180 days following retirement, except under special circumstances. (This even applies to work under contract or via an employment agency).
- If there are special circumstances, the employer can certify in writing it is necessary to fill a critically needed position and the hiring has been approved by the Board of Supervisors or governing body of the Participating Employer in an open public meeting and not on the consent calendar.
- Note: This limitation was suspended during the pandemic by the governor’s executive order; it became effective again on April 1, 2022 including for those members who were already working for an ACERA participating employer on March 31, 2022. For those members already working on March 31 who have not fulfilled the 180 day waiting period by July 1, 2022, on July 1, they must suspend work until 180 days have elapsed since their retirement date.
- Safety Members Under 50 Must Wait 90 Days: ACERA safety members cannot return to work within 90 days of retirement if they retire at an age younger than 50, except under special circumstances, under IRS rules.
- You May Not Work For More Than 960 Hours Per Fiscal Year: An eligible retiree may return to work for a limited duration of time with a participating employer and for a period of 960 hours or less in any fiscal year and continue to receive his/her retirement allowance. Sometimes this is called becoming a “Retired Annuitant.” During this limited duration post-retirement employment, the member will not accrue any additional ACERA service credit or pension benefits, nor will the member or the employer pay contributions for this service.
- Note: This limitation was suspended during the pandemic by the governor’s executive order; it became effective again on April 1, 2022 including for those members who were already working for an ACERA participating employer on March 31, 2022. For those members, the employer must begin counting hours again on July 1, 2022.
- Your Pay Must Fall Within the Range of Other Employees Performing Comparable Duties
- All Incentivized Retirees (General and Safety) Must Wait 180 Days: ACERA members who received a retirement incentive, such as a golden handshake or early separation program payoff, won’t be eligible to work for an ACERA employer for a period of 180 days following retirement.
- You Cannot Have Collected Unemployment Compensation Within the Prior 12 Months: You are not eligible to return to work if you have collected unemployment compensation arising out of prior employment with a public agency during the 12 months before your appointment to the position with one of ACERA’s participating employers.
If You Return to Work For an ACERA Employer, You Can’t Get Medical Subsidies For Via Benefits Healthcare Plans
If you an ACERA retiree who is enrolled in an individual plan through the Via Benefits, the Affordable Care Act disallows ACERA from providing premium and other reimbursements (such as the Monthly Medical Allowance) during time of employment. However, if you are in a group plan such as through Kaiser Permanente or UnitedHealthcare, you can still receive medical subsidies.
Returning to Active Status With ACERA
After retirement, a member can return to full-time employment with the County without restrictions, become an active ACERA member again, and the member’s retirement allowance will be suspended while the member is back in active status (see this code section for more information). Please note, however, that this option requires express approval by the Board of Supervisors and includes a medical examination to verify he or she is not incapacitated for the duties, before returning to work.
Working After Retirement May Affect Social Security
Working after retirement may affect your Social Security benefit. Check the Social Security website for more information.