Retirees can return to work at the discretion of an employer under certain conditions either through TRS’s permanent return-to-work programs that apply to all TRS employers or temporary changes currently in effect that apply only for school districts. All return-to-work programs are limited by law and are an option for employers. Both the permanent and temporary programs are outlined below.
Temporary Return-to-Work Program for School Districts Only
Temporary return-to-work changes summary
Permanent Return-to-Work Program
Information elsewhere below on this page and its links should be read in concert with the guidance in the link above through June 30, 2024.
Rules for TRS retirees returning to work with a TRS employer are made up of Kentucky Revised Statutes 161.605 and the the Kentucky Administrative Regulations. The law and regulations govern in the event of any unintended conflict between them and the information on this page and its links. Rules also differ based on when a person retired and for what type of TRS employer the retiree intends to work. A TRS 1, TRS 2 or TRS 3 retiree returning to work in a new account on or after Jan. 1, 2022, will be in a TRS 4 account; TRS 4 retirees are not eligible for a return-to-work account. The links below cover most situations retirees will face. Less-common situations are described below.
Retired before Jan. 1, 2020:
Retired on or after Jan. 1, 2020:
Common questions and answers:
For retirees returning to work with a TRS non-university employer
For retirees returning to work with a TRS university employer
Click these links for more information on this page about …
- Returning to work in a TRS non-university position and your second retirement account
- Minimum daily wage threshold (DWT) amount
- Alternative breaks in service
- Additional details for returning to work and waiving your retirement annuity
- Additional details for university retirees returning to work
- Reminders to retirees
Returning to Work in a TRS Non-university Position and Your Second Retirement Account
If you return to work with a TRS non-university employer in the part-time, full-time or critical shortage programs, you will start contributing to a second retirement account. After earning five years of service credit, you may retire this account and receive another lifetime annuity.
If you terminate your employment before earning five years of service credit, you may apply for a refund of your account. Account refunds may be rolled over to another qualified retirement savings plan or paid to you. You may call for a refund application at 800-618-1687.
Minimum Daily Wage Threshold (DWT) Amount
Your daily wage threshold cannot be less than $170 a day. When a DWT is calculated and is less than $170 it will be increased to $170 per day as the maximum allowable earnings for a full day of work in a TRS position.
Alternative Breaks in Service
You may return to work after only a two-month break in service under certain circumstances. This opportunity requires that you forfeit your retirement allowance for the remainder of the required standard break in service.
For example, if you return to work part time (or full time for a TRS employer other than the one from which you retired), you must experience a complete two-month break in service and then forfeit your retirement allowance for the remaining month of the standard break in service.
If you return to work full-time for the same TRS employer from which you retired, you must experience a complete two-month break in service and then forfeit your retirement allowance for the remaining 10 months of the standard break in service. If you experienced a six-month break in service, then you would be required to forfeit your retirement allowance for the remaining six months of the standard break in service.
The required minimum break in service never will be less than two complete months.
Additional Details for Returning to Work and Waiving Your Retirement Annuity
- If you remain on waiver less than one full contract year, your contributions will be refunded at the end of the waiver period.
- Reductions that were applied during your initial retirement also may be reduced or eliminated depending on how many years you return to work on waiver.
- Recalculations do not incorporate cost-of-living adjustments assigned to your annuity prior to your return to work on waiver.
- A member may waive his or her retirement annuity and return to covered employment no more than one time during any five-year period.
Additional Details for University Retirees Returning to Work
If you work 3.5 hours or less in a day, TRS considers that as half day toward the 100-day limit. If you work more than 3.5 hours, TRS considers that as one day toward the 100-day limit.
Reminders for Retirees
- Exemption requirements for retirees returning to work with a non-university employer apply to contractors and their workers.
- Retired members returning to work and starting a new retirement account will not be entitled to a second set of benefits for medical insurance, life insurance or an adult handicapped child; nor will they be eligible for disability retirement or survivorship benefits with this new account.
- New accounts are separate entirely from first accounts, including that no service credit for time before an earlier retirement may be purchased in a new return-to-work account.
- Any TRS retiree who has questions about the break-in service-requirements and/or the daily wage threshold should contact TRS before returning to covered employment.
- It is your responsibility when returning to work to meet all the requirements for the option you’re choosing.
- Breaks in service apply whenever a member moves to retired status regardless of whether the member has been on waiver or is retiring a second (or subsequent) account.