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Understanding the School Resource Officer Retiree Earnings Limitation

‚ÄčTypically, working retirees of the South Carolina Retirement System or Police Officers Retirement System are subject to a $10,000 earnings limitation. The limitation applies when employees retire under their retirement system so they can begin to receive a retirement benefit, then begin to work again in a job covered by one of South Carolina's retirement systems. If the employee earns $10,000 in a calendar year through their covered employment, then the retirement benefit is suspended for the remainder of the calendar year.

Some exceptions exist to the earnings limitation, allowing working retirees who meet certain criteria to earn money through covered employment beyond the $10,000 limit without impacting their retirement benefit. The General Assembly created the most recent exception through a proviso in the state budget for fiscal year 2018-2019, and it applies specifically to retirees working as school resource officers.

The retiree in this case must be a Class 1 law enforcement officer, and must have retired under the Police Officers Retirement System on or before December 31, 2017. If this person returns to work as a school resource officer in a position founded to be a critical needs position, then this person is exempt from the earnings limitation. The proviso also indicates that if the retiree has been inactive for a year or more, then there cannot be a requirement of recertification through basic training.

Unlike many of the rules of the state's retirement system, this exception is not set in statute, but rather created by a budget proviso which is in effect through June 30, 2019. For the exception to continue beyond that date, the legislature would need to take additional action by placing the proviso in the next budget.