Summer building blocks

July 26, 2012

School's not necessarily out for everyone during the hazy days of summer. For some teachers, the summer months present an opportunity to keep teaching.

What does summer school teaching mean for your pension? Not surprisingly, the answer is, "it depends."

Your status as a teacher has an impact on whether or not this income is pensionable.

Do you teach on an occasional basis? Here are 3 key questions you might have.

If you've worked full-time during the school year, then your earnings as a summer school teacher are not pensionable. Why? With your Teachers' pension, you can only earn credit—both actual and qualifying—for a maximum of one year. Under the plan, a school year is generally 194 days. If you taught full-time from September until June, then you've already reached the maximum.

On the other hand, if you spent the past school year working less than full-time, either on a part-time or on an occasional basis, then the income you earn as a summer school teacher is pensionable.

Keep in mind that to gain a qualifying year in the plan, you need to teach more than 10 days in a school year. If you taught less than 10 days during the regular school year, and opted to teach summer school in order to raise your grand total of days to more than 10, two things will happen:

  1. You build your credit in the plan, which helps to increase the value of your pension, and
  2. You will add qualifying credit.
    Qualifying credit may help you retire sooner with an unreduced pension.