Section 211 - Frequently Asked Questions

General Information 

What is a Section 211 waiver?

Section 211 of the New York State Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL), in part, provides for the re-employment of a public service retiree without loss or diminution of the retiree's pension. For this section of law to apply, the public service agency re-employing the retiree must apply for and be approved for a Section 211 waiver.

A waiver may only be granted in cases where the agency is unable to locate a qualified non-public service retiree to fill a position.

Do public retirees need a Section 211 waiver to return to public service?

No. A Section 211 waiver is not needed for a public service retiree to return to public service. Instead, the waiver allows the retiree to earn a public salary of more than $30,000 per year without a reduction in his or her pension earnings.

When is a Section 211 waiver needed?

If a public retiree is younger than 65 years of age, expects to earn more than $30,000 through public employment during a calendar year, and is seeking to continue receiving his or her full pension benefit, a Section 211 waiver is needed to avoid an adverse impact on the retiree's pension.

Approval Process 

Who approves Section 211 waivers?

Section 211 of the RSSL authorizes the following entities to approve Section 211 waivers:

  1. State Civil Service Commission
  2. Commissioner of Education
  3. City of New York's Civil Service Commission
  4. Chancellor of the City School District of the City of New York
  5. Board of Higher Education of the City of New York
  6. Chancellor of the State University
  7. Chief Administrator of the Courts

Each of these approving agencies has a discrete jurisdiction with regard to the Section 211 waivers they will consider. The State Civil Service Commission (the Commission) has jurisdiction over Section 211 waivers for most non-teaching positions in State and local government, exclusive of New York City.

What factors are considered in determining whether a Section 211 waiver application is approved?

Section 211 of the RSSL sets forth clear criteria under which the Commission may grant a waiver for entities under its purview. For retirees subject to the Pre-October 7, 2008 statutory criteria, the appointing authority/agency must demonstrate, in part, that there are fewer than three qualified non-retirees available for appointment.

For retirees subject to the Post-October 7, 2008 statutory criteria, the appointing authority/agency must demonstrate, in part, that there are no qualified non-retirees available for appointment. - view the 211 Statutory Criteria & Commission Guidelines.

Is the public retiree I want to hire subject to the Pre-October 7, 2008 statutory criteria or the Post-October 7, 2008 statutory criteria?

The answer depends on when the retiree was first approved for a Section 211 waiver. If the retiree was approved for a waiver in any position, on or before October 7, 2008, he/she would be subject to the Pre-October 7, 2008 statutory criteria. Conversely, if the retiree was first approved for a waiver after October 7, 2008 he/she would be subject to the Post-October 7, 2008 statutory criteria.

Application Process 

How long does it take to process a Section 211 waiver?

All applications are thoroughly reviewed upon receipt. Complete applications are processed and placed on the Commission calendar for consideration. The Commission convenes a meeting every month, except August. The Commission calendar includes a list of upcoming Commission meeting dates.

How will I know when a Section 211 waiver application will be considered by the Commission?

Calendars are posted online for public viewing prior to the Commission meetings.

How do I find out if the Commission approved my Section 211 waiver?

There are three ways to find out:

  1. By accessing live or archived webcasts of the Commission meetings
  2. By reviewing the final Commission calendar (typically available within one week of the meeting)
  3. Via email, if your employer provided your email address on the Section 211 waiver application

Apply for a Section 211 Waiver 

Who can apply for a Section 211 waiver?

The agency or appointing authority that is seeking to hire the public service retiree must apply for the Section 211 waiver. Public retirees may not submit Section 211 waiver applications on their own behalf.

How does the public employer apply for a Section 211 waiver?

The Section 211 waiver application is now an online process. For more information, including how to obtain a User ID, please visit the Department of Civil Service website on applying for a Section 211 waiver.