To address ongoing staffing challenges, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation this year creating an additional return to work opportunity allowing retired TCRS members to be employed as a K-12 teacher, bus driver, or emergency medical services personnel without the loss of their TCRS retirement benefits.
Beginning July 1, 2022, the law allows these personnel to return to work without suspension of benefits under the Return to Work 70% Retirement Benefit provision. Generally, if a retired member returns to service with a TCRS-covered employer under any circumstance, other than 120-day Temporary Employment or Limited Reemployment of Retired Teachers, his or her retirement payment is suspended during reemployment. The new legislation has expanded these exceptions. To return to work under the new guidelines, the following conditions must be met:
• The retiree must be retired at least 60 days.
• For teachers and bus drivers, the retiree must have the requisite experience and training for the position, there must not be any other qualified persons available to fill the position, and the position must be with a K-12 school system.
• For emergency medical services personnel, the retiree must possess a current valid license issued by the emergency medical services board through the Department of Health.
• The retiree’s retirement benefit will be limited to 70% of what would otherwise be payable for the period of reemployment.
• The retiree must not be drawing a TCRS Disability Benefit.
• The retiree’s appointment cannot exceed one year; however, they may be reappointed to additional one-year periods as long as the retiree still meets all of the above requirements.
Members must apply for this type of return-to-work provision using the Return to Service with 70% Retirement Benefit form found on the Forms and Guides page at RetireReady.gov. Before accepting a position with a TCRS-covered employer, retirees should contact RetireReadyTN at (800) 922-7772 to determine how their TCRS retirement benefits may be impacted.