Returning to Work after Retirement
- General Information
A CTPF retiree may decide to return to work as a teacher, but there are some rules to be aware of to avoid a pension suspension, cancellation, and possible benefit overpayment. Returning to work on a permanent, annual basis will generally result in your pension being immediately cancelled, to resume only upon re-retirement.
A retiree can return to work as a teacher on a temporary and non-annual basis without affecting their pension and, if applicable, health insurance subsidy for that fiscal/school year (July 1 – June 30). However, retirees are restricted as to how many days during each fiscal/school year) they can work for a Chicago Public, charter or contract school (Employer). A retiree may go to work for any entity other than an Employer without restriction. However, reciprocal retirees must meet all return to work requirements from each reciprocal retirement system.
Serious financial consequences can occur (including the loss and/or required repayment of your pension and, if applicable, health insurance subsidy for that fiscal/school year) when limitations are exceeded. You must notify CTPF in writing before beginning employment with an Employer.
Who is Impacted
A “teacher” is defined as any educational, administrative, professional, or other staff member whose position requires certification or licensure under the Illinois School Code.
All managerial, supervisory, confidential employees, at contract schools are excluded from the definition of teacher.
If you are unsure if a job you are considering falls under this definition, you may submit a job description to CTPF for review prior to accepting the position.
Definition of Day
A retiree will be considered to have worked a “day” for return to work purposes, if the employer reports the retiree as having worked for one hour or more during a calendar day. However, a “day” shall not include an “in service” day that the retiree must attend in order to qualify as a substitute.
Note: This definition of a “day” does not affect the accumulation and tracking of hours worked teaching only drivers education courses—i.e. any portion of an hour worked counts toward the “no more than 900 hours” limitation.
Return to Work Rules and Policy
- 2022 Updates
2022 Administrative Updates
The CTPF Administrative Rules - Return to Work have been amended as of June 16, 2022, and no longer apply to individuals working for third party vendors or as bona fide independent contractors.
2022 Legislative Updates
In 2022, the Illinois General Assembly passed two measures designed to help address the shortage of Chicago Public School (CPS) substitute teachers.
Public Act 102-1090 amends the return –to work statute for retired CTPF teachers and administrators. The legislation increases the number of days on which a retiree can return to work on a temporary and non-annual or hourly basis without having their benefits cancelled from 120 to 140. Additionally, the compensation limits previously in effect have been removed. This legislation takes effect July 1, 2022, and expires June 30, 2024.
Working in a Subject Shortage Area
Public Act 102-1013 allows a retiree to return to work without limitation or cancellation of their pension under certain circumstances. Retirees returning to work under this provision must be employed in a subject shortage area for an employer that has demonstrated that they cannot otherwise fill the position(s). This legislation was signed by the Governor on May 27, 2022, and expires June 30, 2024.
- Permanent or Annual Re-Employment
A retiree who is re-employed as a teacher in Chicago Public, charter or contract school (Employer), on a permanent or annual basis will have their retirement benefits cancelled.* The retirement benefit will be cancelled on the date the re-employment begins, or on the first day of a payroll period for which service credit is validated, whichever is earlier. For permanent or annual re-employment, the retiree will have to end that permanent or annual re-employment and apply to re-retire in order to collect a pension again. The terms of a pension, based on re-retirement, are determined by 40 ILCS 5/17-149(c), other Illinois Pension Code provisions, and CTPF’s administrative rules.
*There are limited exceptions to this as noted in the new rules effective through June 30, 2024. (See Working in a Subject Shortage Area.)
- Temporary and Non-Annual Re-Employment
Prior to July 1, 2022, a retiree who was re-employed as a teacher in a Chicago Public school, charter school or contract school, on a temporary or non-annual basis was subject to both employment and compensation limits. July 1, 2022, the compensation limit will be eliminated.
The chart below defines the temporary and non-annual re-employment limitations. A retiree who exceeds either the Employment Limit or the Compensation Limit (prior to July 1, 2022) exceeds the statutory return to work limitations:
Compensation Limit prior to July 1, 2022
Employment Limit for the period
July 1, 2022-June 30, 2024
Compensation Limit beginning July 1, 2022
CTPF retirees who only teach drivers education courses in the school year
The daily rate normally paid to retired multiplied by 100 for individuals who retired with at least 5 years of service as a principal.
All other CTPF retirees
120 days (prior to July 1, 2022)
The daily rate normally paid to retired principals multiplied by 100 for individuals who retired with at least 5 years of service as a principal.
*Applies before July 1, 2022, and after June 30, 2024. The days worked limit returns to 120 days on July 1, 2024.
- Notifying CTPF of Re-Employment
You must notify CTPF if you return to work after retirement. If you are returning to work, you must fill out and return the applicable form to CTPF:
- Tracking Your Work
You must track days (or for drivers education only, hours) worked. Employers use various systems to register hours worked and those systems are not connected to each other. Therefore, there is no single place you can go to find out how many days or hours you have worked in a fiscal/school year. You must track your time to ensure that you do not exceed any limits.
You will not receive a warning if you are getting close to the maximum limit.
- Retirement Benefit Cancelled Due to Re-Employment
If you have received notice that your retirement benefit was cancelled relating to re-employment and need further information, please visit Pension Cancellation.
Impact of Return to Work Retirement Benefit Cancellations on Reciprocal Retirement Benefits
CTPF will notify the Reciprocal Systems from which the retiree is receiving reciprocal retirement benefits when the CTPF retirement benefit is suspended or cancelled due to re-employment. The Reciprocal Systems may take action regarding pension and any other affected benefits, according to their own statutes and administrative rules.