Rules Change July 1 for Retirees Returning to Work in Certain Jobs

June 2023
tezt reading return to work changes and a photo of a retired teacher back in the classroom looking at her laptop computer

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 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 VDOE 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, visit 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 at beginning July 1. The Considerations Before You Return to Work video, which will also be updated, 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.

If you want to work after you retire, call VRS toll-free at 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 800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security Administration website.