The following was included in TCTA's 2020-21 Survival Guide, the ultimate reference tool for Texas educators, and is current as of September 2020 but is subject to change. NOTE: significant changes were made to the employment after retirement laws during the 2021 legislative session; those changes will be reflected in the updated Survival Guide available in Fall 2021. In the meantime, check TCTA's bill summaries under the category of "Teacher Retirement System" for information, and call TRS at 800-223-8778 to talk to a benefits counselor.
A retiree can return to work full time after a complete break in TRS-covered employment (substitute service counts as “employment” for this purpose as do some types of volunteer work) of at least 12 consecutive months. The employee can then return to work in school employment without any loss of monthly TRS checks. An employee working at a school in any capacity, paid or unpaid, during the 12 months after retirement should contact TRS regarding their eligibility to return to work. A retiree can return to work part time or as a substitute after only a one-calendar-month break in service without penalty (a disability retiree returning part time or as a substitute may work no more than 90 days in the school year).
An employee who retired prior to Jan. 1, 2011, can return to work full time with no loss of monthly TRS checks, even if the employee did not sit out 12 months before returning to work.
Districts must make contributions to TRS (15.2% of salary) and TRS-Care (an amount set by TRS at $535 per month, due only on retirees participating in TRS-Care) on behalf of a rehired retiree. Pursuant to legislation initiated by TCTA, this surcharge is not required for employees who retired prior to Sept. 1, 2005.
State law does not prohibit districts from reducing a retiree’s salary to help offset the cost of the surcharge, though local policies may differ in this regard. However, districts cannot pay less than the amount to which the employee would be entitled under the state minimum salary schedule.
A district participating in TRS-ActiveCare may be required to offer ActiveCare enrollment to a returning retiree, but the retiree may opt to remain in TRS-Care.