New Hampshire Supreme Court Limits “Double-Dipping”

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A New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling Tuesday limited “double-dipping” – the term used when a public worker retires and later rejoins the public sector and earns a pension and a salary at the same time – but didn’t restrict it entirely.

Reported by SeaCoast Online:

The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued a decision Tuesday ruling that state pensioners cannot work more than 32 hours a week at a public job while collecting their state pensions.

The decision upholds current state law, but leaves an unanswered question about retirees who work public jobs for more than 32 hours a week and less than full time, said Marty Karlon, spokesman for the New Hampshire Retirement System.

The case was brought to the state’s highest court on appeal by Scott Anderson, a retired Plaistow police officer, who worked post-retirement jobs for the towns of Plaistow, Atkinson and Hampstead. Anderson argued that state law allowed him to work up to 32 hours a week for a municipality, while collecting his pension, so he believed that meant he could work up to 32 hours a week for each of the three towns.

Anderson previously lost his case in the Merrimack County Superior Court and appealed to the Supreme Court.

The retired police officer argued that because pre-2012 law referred to post-retirement work for “an employer,” instead of “one or more employers,” it allowed state pensioners to work for up to 32 hours a week for multiple employers. Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision notes that the Legislature intended the singular “an employer” to include the plural “one or more employers.”

“Thus, contrary to Anderson’s contentions on appeal, when he retired in 2011, he had no right, vested or otherwise, to work up to 32 hours per week or 1,300 hours per year for more than one NHRS employer,” Monday’s Supreme Court decision states.

Double-dipping has been an issue in New York and New Jersey as recently as last month.

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