Rules Change July 1 for Returning to Work in Retirement

May 2023
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The 2023 General Assembly passed changes affecting retirees who return to work in certain school positions while continuing to draw a monthly retirement benefit.

New Critical Shortage Position

Legislators added a new specialized student support critical shortage position, which includes school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions, such as speech-language pathologists, as determined by the Virginia Department of Education. 

Break-in-Service Requirement Reduces to Six Months

Break-in-service requirements for retirees returning to work full-time in critical shortage positions, which also include K-12 teachers, principals, assistant principals and bus drivers, will change from 12 months to six months.

Critical shortage positions, which the Virginia Department of Education designates each school year, are full-time and temporary. Retirees in these positions must meet certain requirements and will continue to receive their retirement benefits but do not earn additional service credit.

For more information on critical shortage designations, see Working After Retirement or contact the school system where you would like to work.

Break-in-Service Reduction Includes School Security Officers

The break-in-service change from 12 months to six months also applies to retired sworn law-enforcement officers who return to work full time in retiree school security officer positions at a Virginia public school. These roles do not fall under critical shortage positions. Retirees in these positions still must meet certain requirements and will continue to receive their retirement benefits but do not earn additional service credit.

The legislative changes will be reflected in VRS publications and on the website beginning July 1. VRS’ online course also will be updated to cover all return-to-work rules at The course explains different scenarios under which you may return to work for a VRS-participating employer and continue to receive your monthly benefit, including working part-time, filling an interim position or performing contract work, among others.

Other Return-to-Work Rules Still Apply

To meet break-in-service requirements, retirees cannot work in any full-time, part-time or volunteer position with a VRS-participating employer, or work for a contractor with any VRS-participating employer. These Code of Virginia requirements adhere to IRS rules and also help ensure the long-term viability of the VRS Trust Fund. In addition, you and your employer must certify on your retirement application that there has been no verbal or written offer of reemployment after retirement.