Teachers- Read This if You Plan on Substitute Teaching After Retirement

Plan on Substitute Teaching After Retirement? Keep Reading!

There is a running joke that says, “Teaching is the only profession where it is more work to call in sick than if you actually suffered

Substitute Teaching After Retirement?

through it.” Usually, the germ invasion took place towards the beginning of the year. Our immune systems had spent three months outside, and now, there were 25 or so bodies in close quarters. Wouldn’t it be nice if kids (and adults!) always washed their hands, used hand sanitizer, and sneezed into their elbows? Ah well, one can dream.


We have all been there: your head is pounding, you nose is running, your lungs are dying, and you just want to stay in the fetal position in your bed and watch “The Price is Right.” We all know it was just easier to pull out one of those movies that “kind of” related to what you were currently teaching, or some of those worksheets that were supposed to keep the kids occupied. I always felt sorry for my substitute teachers, especially during certain hours.

But now you are retired, and you’re not quite ready to watch the Price is Right daily. (Make sure to read this before leaving the profession!) Maybe you could be a substitute teacher? You could still see some of your old colleagues and favorite students. You could choose when you wanted to work. Sounds like a good idea. However, there are some rules you should be aware of if you are a retired teacher and want to go back to work in the public school system.

Substitute Teaching Can Affect My Pension?

You would think that once you have retired, you could work whenever you would like to without affecting your retirement income. Not true. The discussion about how much you can make at different ages while collecting your Social Security is a topic for another time. This conversation is about your pension. Yes, your pension! According to the Michigan Office of Retirement Services for retired public-school employees, if you are retired, there are earnings limits, which if exceeded, can have a negative impact on your pension.

Specifically, as a substitute teacher: “If you’re employed directly as Substitute Teacher…you may earn up to one-third of your FAC without penalty. This applies to employees who are employed directly by the reporting unit, or as an independent contractor, or as an employee of a third-party contractor. Let’s put this simply: as a substitute, you can earn up to one third of the salary you earned in your last year of teaching. What happens if you earn more? “If you exceed the earnings limit for the gross amount paid in a calendar year, you will forfeit both your pension and retiree insurance premium subsidy until the month after your employment ceases.” Going without a pension payment and paying your health insurance premium out of your own pocket could be quite an unwelcomed surprise!

Other factors that can Affect your Pension

Substitute teachers in Michigan only earn an average of $104/day, so you most likely would have to sub a lot to make a third of your last year’s salary. However, there are other ways a retired teacher can go back to work in education. I have seen retired colleagues return as coaches, aides, and school improvement facilitators. Some of us just can’t stay away! So, whether you want to watch those movies, keep kids busy with word searches, or contribute to the system in another way, it would be in your best interest if you decide to return to school in a paid capacity to see exactly what you can do without penalty!

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If you would like further information on planning for or reevaluating your retirement, or simply want to chat, give us a call at 231-421-7391.

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