Retire With ESI

You've Earned This!

RetireRehire is ESI's return-to-work program that allows you to retire from the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) and return to work, continuing in your same position without any restrictions, while collecting your ASRS pension and a salary from ESI.

The Basics

Serena and Andy introduce you to ESI, and discuss the basics of the Return-to-Work program.

+Who does ESI serve?

ESI is an Arizona company proudly serving Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) employers, including school districts, community colleges, municipalities, counties and government agencies, since 1999.

We provide return-to-work services for around 1,000 retirees each year, with over 12,000 ASRS retirees since the company was founded.

Additionally, ESI provides substitute staffing services for over 60 school districts across Arizona, employing over 6,000 substitutes each year.

+What is the Return-to-Work program?

ESI's return-to-work program allows ASRS employees to retire and return to work, continuing in their same position without any restrictions, while collecting their ASRS pension and a salary from ESI.

+What's the benefit of the program?

There are several:

  • The retiree is able to return to work after retirement, increasing their take home pay by collecting their pension and a paycheck from ESI.
  • The employer retains their most experienced employees after retirement.
  • The employer is also able to stretch their budget, which ultimately benefits Arizona taxpayers when budgets are used this way to support our public servants.
+Why do I have to work through ESI if I want to return to work?

Once an employee retires with the ASRS, Arizona requires the individual to have a separation of service for 365 days, or work very limited part time hours when returning to an ASRS employer. Working for ESI (a non-ASRS employer) during the separation of service period allows retirees to fulfill that year of separation, while still doing the exact same work. Without using ESI's return-to-work program, ASRS retirees are limited to working 20 hours a week for a total of 20 weeks with any ASRS employer during the year following retirement.

Learn more about ASRS separation of service and the return-to-work option on the ASRS Return to Work page.

+Who is eligible for the Return-to-Work program?

ASRS employees who are eligible for retirement can participate in ESI's return-to-work program. Check with your employer to see if ESI currently serves your organization or if they need to sign up with ESI. We add new ASRS entities all the time. Also check with your employer to see if your position is eligible for the program.

The Details

Client Managers, Becky and Serena, discuss some of the details of the Return-to-Work program.

+When is the best time to retire and return to work?

It's a personal decision with several important things to consider. There is often a "sweet spot" when you'll be able to maximize your financial benefits of participating. You want to plan ahead and consult your financial advisor for guidance. Having a good understanding of your personal financial situation and your ASRS benefit can help make it clear when the best time is for you.

+How does it all work?

You have to retire from the ASRS, retire from your current employer, and then become an employee of ESI. While this is the overview, we have more specifics for you in the Get Started section below.

+How does the pay work?

Participating in the return-to-work program means you receive your monthly retirement check from ASRS, along with a paycheck every two weeks from ESI. Your current employer determines the amount of pay you receive from ESI. If you currently receive supplemental pay for added duties or other work related expenses, talk to your employer about the availability of supplemental pay as part of your return to work with ESI.

+What are the benefit options?

You have several health insurance options to choose from as you make this important decision.

COBRA - This is the most common option selected by return-to-work participants. COBRA allows you to continue the health coverage you have under your current employer. Under COBRA you pay your portion of the health insurance premiums along with the portion your employer previously paid. Coverage lasts a maximum of 18 months and once you waive COBRA, you cannot sign back up. It is best to speak to your benefits department to fully understand this option.

Spouse's insurance - Retirement is considered a qualifying life event, so you have the option to enroll in your spouse's insurance plan.

ASRS - ASRS offers medical insurance, dental insurance, and a prescription drug discount program for retirees and their qualified dependents. There is also a Retiree Health Insurance Premium Benefit (subsidy) that can be used to supplement the cost of health insurance, which is only available to those enrolled in an ASRS health plan or a non-subsidized ASRS employer COBRA plan.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace - Shop the Marketplace for a plan that works for you.

Medicare - In general, individuals are eligible to sign up for Medicare 3 months before turning 65, but sometimes sooner depending on your personal situation.

Veterans Benefits - Each Veteran's medical benefits package is unique. All Veterans receive coverage for most care and services, but only some will qualify for added benefits like dental care. Please visit the VA Healthcare page to explore your options.

ESI - Medical, dental, vision, and supplemental plans are available to purchase. Our Benefits Guide provides more information on each of the plans offered through ESI.

+Calculate your income.

We've put together a handy worksheet to help you calculate your retirement income. Each employer establishes parameters for their unique RetireRehire program, but our worksheet will help you track down the info you need so you can make an informed decision. Contact your employer or ESI to confirm your information. Download the Worksheet (PDF)

Retiree's Perspective

Serena uncovers the return-to-work experience from a recent retiree's perspective.

+How did they decide the time was right?

Knowing when the time is right can be daunting. Past retirees often talk with a financial advisor, their employer's HR department, ASRS or friends who have joined ESI in the past. The most important piece of advice we hear from retirees is "do your research - you can only retire from ASRS once".

+What are the common challenges of the program?

The biggest challenge retirees face is working through the approval steps. We often hear from past ESI retirees that it's easier than it first appears, but coordinating with your employer, ASRS and ESI is still tricky. Benefits take some research, too, but ESI is here for you every step of the way.

The other thing retirees mention - "I haven't changed jobs in years, digging up my old documents and filling out a job application was a surprise." ESI will help you, but yes, you do need to dust off those documents.

+Hear from other past ESI RetireRehire participants.

ESI was thrilled to partner with Westwood High School video production students to produce a video featuring some past retirees. The students did an excellent job of capturing the feelings, fears, and excitement of retiring with ESI.

Watch to hear these retirees' candid, unfiltered feedback on what it was like for them to make the decision and participate in the program.

Get Started

Jocelyn and Robert share some important tips to help you get started with the return-to-work program.

+Who do I need to work with to get started?

You will need to meet with your current employer, connect with ASRS, and of course, work with us here at ESI!

+Meeting with your current employer

Meeting with your employer prior to taking any steps towards applying for your retirement is a critical step. Most likely, you will reach out to your employer's HR department. Key questions to ask your employer:

  • Does the organization participate in the return-to-work program with ESI?
  • Is my position eligible for the return-to-work program?
  • Is there a window of time during the year that the organization sets for joining the return-to-work program?
  • How will my pay be calculated when I join the return-to-work program?
  • How much will my health insurance cost if I choose the COBRA option? 
+Meeting with ASRS
  • Access the ASRS Portal and sign-up for a live information webinar. 
  • Talk with an ASRS representative to answer any question you may have. 
  • Apply for retirement and establish your official retirement date. 
+Working with ESI
+Step-by-step video

Our team takes you through the 7 Easy Steps to Joining the RetireRehire Program with ESI.

+Printable Guide

Download and print the 7 Easy Steps to Joining guide.

Connect With Us

Don't let this opportunity pass you by!

We are happy to help you through the process. 

webinar icon.

Attend a Live Virtual RetireRehire Session

Available to everyone! ESI hosts a live RetireRehire webinar the first Wednesday of every month at 4pm. Bring your questions!

Attend a Session

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Get Personalized Support

You can schedule a 1:1 phone call with a RetireRehire expert who can answer all your questions. 

Schedule a Call

If you have questions at any point during your information gathering phase or application process, please reach out to us!

Feel free to contact us any time--we're here for you. Email | Call or Text (480) 719-3271