ALBANY, NY — The New York State Legislature passed legislation Monday night, June 20, 2011, to boost State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s ability to catch those who abuse the state pension system. The bill grants the Comptroller’s office access to State Department of Taxation and Finance's wage reporting system to identify New York State and Local Retirement System retirees working for local governments who exceed the state’s post-retirement earnings limitation. If a state or local government employee earns more than those limits, the Comptroller has the authority to suspend and recoup any excess pension payments.
"I've been pushing hard to end pension abuse," DiNapoli said. "This legislation is the next piece of the puzzle. Our message is clear: Everyone must play by the same rules. This legislation will allow government agencies to work together to reduce fraud, waste and abuse.”
The Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) places limits on the amount that may be earned by a retiree who returns to public employment without it affecting his or her pension payments. Most retirees are covered by Section 212 of the RSSL, which allows retirees under age 65 to earn up to $30,000 per calendar year without any pension penalty. Currently, the Retirement System annually compares retiree information with payroll data for state employees. However, no similar mechanism existed to check payroll information of the thousands of local public employers statewide.
DiNapoli's legislation would amend Section 171-a of the Tax Law to grant the Comptroller's Office access to Tax and Finance's wage reporting system to match the Retirement System's records with information reported by local governments to Tax and Finance. The match would allow the Comptroller's Office to identify retirees improperly collecting a state pension and a local government salary.