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Governance Document

NEA-Retired Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about NEA's program for retired educators.
Published: July 2020

Q: How do I join?

A: NEA-Retired members join through their state affiliates. Learn more.

Q: I retired from active teaching but I do a lot of substitute teaching. Does this affect my eligibility for NEA-Retired membership?

A: That depends. Some state departments of education and/or legislatures are authorizing extended substitute teaching contracts or agreements to avoid the expense of hiring permanent staff.

In general, if you are at least 45 years old and are receiving a pension from either Social Security or from a state's education employee retirement system, you are eligible for membership in NEA-Retired.

It is possible, however, that a state affiliate could specify a maximum length of continuous substitute teaching service in a year beyond which a teacher is designated "Active." In such a case, the state retired member would have to revert to "Active" status and place the retired membership in an inactive category similar to NEA-Retired's "Pre-Retired subscriber."

Q: I retired and receive a pension from my state's school employee retirement fund. However, I decided to accept an offer of a standard teaching contract and re-enter teaching. How does this decision affect my membership status?

A: Be sure to discuss your options with your NEA state affiliate. If you are a Lifetime or Annual NEA-Retired member who signs a standard contract to teach, the NEA Bylaws require you to return to Active membership.

NEA will convert your NEA-Retired Lifetime membership to that of a Pre-Retired subscriber. NEA-Retired recommends that an NEA-Retired Annual member working under a standard contract join NEA-Retired as a lifetime Pre-Retired subscriber.

Q: How will my liability insurance coverage be affected by my decision to stay a member of NEA-Retired or to return to Active membership?

A: If you maintain your NEA-Retired Lifetime membership, you are covered by NEA's Education Employee Liability (EEL) insurance. If you return to active teaching, you are required by the NEA Bylaws to return to Active membership (see above) and, of course, you have liability coverage under that category.

You are NOT covered by the liability insurance if you are hired by a school district as an individual consultant and report your earnings to IRS on form 1099 and, judged on a case-by-case basis, you might not be eligible for EEL if you actively teach or substitute in a non-public school.

Q: I have retired and moved from my non-unified “pension state” to a unified “residence state.” Do I have to join the NEA-Retired state affiliate in my residence state?

A: If you choose to have your NEA-Retired membership transferred for governance purposes, yes.

If you opt to leave your NEA-Retired governance rights in your pension state, you are not required to join the residence state retiree organization. In brief:

  • You are not required to join the retired affiliate in a non-unified state.
  • You are required to hold state and national membership in a unified state.

Q: I have moved from my pension state to a new residence state, both of which have unified NEA-Retired affiliates. Do I have to join BOTH state affiliates?

A: No. If you have transferred your NEA-Retired governance rights to your new residence state and you wish to run for delegate from your residence state, you may wish to join in the residence state for the political advantage to your candidacy.

But you are not required to do so.

Remember you must maintain your membership in your pension state, regardless of your membership status in your residence state. Your membership resources help your pension state affiliate protect and improve your retirement benefits.

Q: I am a Pre-Retired subscriber. Am I eligible to be elected as a delegate to the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting and the NEA Representative Assembly?

A: No. As an Active member you are eligible to be elected as a state or local delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly, but you must be retired and eligible for a pension before you can be a retired delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly or a delegate to the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting (with full voting rights).

You are welcome to attend the Annual Meeting where you can debate and vote on NEA-Retired business but you cannot vote for—or be a candidate for—elective office until you have retired

Q: I have been elected as a retired delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly. How do I become a delegate to the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting?

A: NEA-Retired Retired members elected as delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly are automatically voting delegates to the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting.

Q: I am a retiree and have been elected as an alternate delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly. Am I a voting delegate to the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting?

A: If you are on the official list of alternates and the president or executive director of the NEA state affiliate certifies in writing that you have been elevated to delegate status, you will have full voting status in the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting from the time of your certification as a delegate through the remainder of the meeting.

Until you are elevated to delegate status, you are welcome to attend the Annual Meeting on the same limited basis as other non-delegate NEA-Retired members.

Q: Does NEA-Retired pay any of the costs of attending the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting?

A: No. Except for NEA-Retired officers or Advisory Council members, all costs related to state delegates' attendance at the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting are handled by the state.

Q: I hold NEA-Retired membership in my pension states but I have also joined NEA-Retired in my residence state and I have had my NEA-Retired governance rights transferred to my new home. Can I run for election in both my pension and residence states?

A: If you have had your governance rights transferred, you are eligible to be elected as a delegate only in your residence state. If you had not requested the transfer, you would be eligible only in your retirement state.

Transferring Membership

Q: I retired from one unified state and moved my residence to another unified state. Do I have to purchase another NEA-Retired membership because my “residence state” is unified?

A: No. Transferring your NEA/NEA-Retired governance rights does not change your NEA-Retired membership. However, it does mean your NEA-Retired membership is, following your application to transfer the NEA-Retired governance rights, credited to your residence state and that you may be a candidate for NEA/NEA-Retired delegate from that state only.

Q: Is it true that I MUST be a member of my retirement state?

A Yes. This policy recognizes that the affiliate in the state from which you retired and from which you draw your pension carries a substantial obligation to protect your rights in retirement. These obligations are costly and absolutely critical to your retirement security.

Q: But if I am a member of my retirement state, how can I be a delegate to NEA and NEA-Retired from my residence state if my membership is in my retirement state?

A: You may run for a delegate position from the state that holds your NEA-Retired governance rights. It is your right to have your NEA-Retired governance rights transferred to your residence state and to run for a NEA/NEA-Retired delegate position in that state.

If you do not transfer your NEA-Retired governance rights, you must run for the delegate position in your pension state.

Q: I hold a lifetime membership in my retirement state. I'm glad that an opportunity exists to be active in my new residence state but shouldn't I be able to transfer my lifetime state membership to it?

A: State memberships are governed by the state affiliates.

Please check with your state about its membership transfer policies.

Are you an affiliate?

Jump to updates, opportunities, and resources for NEA state and local affiliates.
Sam Evelyn Morgan Rock

Learn more about NEA-Retired

Now more than ever the commitment continues. Learn how NEA-Retired works to meet the needs of retired education employees (like Sam Evelyn Rock from the Chattanooga Hamilton County Retired Teachers Assn in Tennessee at right) and how to join.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.