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I’d like to talk about an exciting new option available to you as an OPM annuitant or survivor.  OPM has instituted the electronic delivery of several of our mailings.  These mailings include:

• Annual mailer
• IRS 1099R
• Informational alerts

This new service will allow you to receive retirement information quicker than in a hard copy format.  However, in order to receive these mailings electronically OPM must have your current email address on file.

To take advantage of receiving this information electronically, you can “opt-in” using the Services Online (SOL) webpage which is accessible at  www.servicesonline.opm.gov.  If you are unable to access your SOL account because you do not have a password, go to www.servicesonline.opm.gov and select the “Forgot Password” link.  Once you receive your password and have access to SOL, you can elect to receive mailers electronically. 

I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping to reduce the cost of printing and mailing by using SOL. Over the past year, more than 3.2 million transactions were processed through SOL.  This is a 70% increase of SOL usage!  While the increase in use is great, you can do even more.  Last year almost 50% of the calls made to the call center were for changes that could have been made online using SOL.  With so many transactions available, you can manage your retirement account whenever it is convenient for you; and by completing the SOL survey you provide us with valuable information that helps us to improve the services we provide. Continue to help OPM save money and reduce our environmental impact by reminding your fellow retirees to update their email address. 

You can find a great deal of retirement information online at www.opm.gov/retire, you can also follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/fedretireinfo and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/USOPM.

OPM will continue to keep your transactions on SOL secure and easy for you to access as we move toward a modern and responsive system that meets your needs now and in the future. 


Due to the tragic tornado in the Oklahoma, OPM has dedicated a telephone line to receive calls so affected individuals may report deaths of Federal annuitants and/or advise of June 1, 2013, annuity payment disruptions. If you are affected by these events, please call 855-813-2523 so the appropriate arrangements can be made to handle your situation as quickly as possible.

Public Law 112-96, Section 5001 of the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, makes two significant changes to the Federal Employee's Retirement System (FERS).  First, beginning in 2013, new employees (as designated in the statute) will have to pay higher employee contributions.  These employees must pay 3.1% of their salary as FERS retirement contributions.  This is an increase of 2.3%.   Second, new Members of Congress and Congressional employees, in addition to paying higher retirement contributions, will accrue retirement benefits at the same rate as regular employees. 

The higher FERS-RAE coverage percentage will generally apply to any individual who receives an appointment not excluded from FERS coverage on or after January 1, 2013, who would normally be placed into FERS. 

There are three exceptions to this general rule, however, and the date December 31, 2012, is a key date for each of those exceptions.  An individual will be excluded from FERS-RAE coverage if any of these exceptions apply.

Exception 1:  the individual on December 31,2012, was covered under FERS;

Or

Exception 2:  the individual on December 31,2012, was performing civilian service which is creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS (for example the individual may have been covered under another retirement system from which service credit may be transferred to FERS, such as CSRS, CSRS-Offset, Foreign Service, Federal Reserve, or CIARDS)

Or

Exception 3:  the individual on December 31, 2012, was not covered under FERS and was not performing civilian service which is creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS, but as of December 31, 2012 had performed at least five years of civilian service creditable or potentially creditable under FERS, including service subject to CSRS or CSRS-Offset.

Employees that fall under the higher FERS-RAE coverage percentage will not see a change in the calculation of their future retirement benefits.

The Members and Congressional employees who do not qualify for the exclusion from paying the higher FERS-RAE coverage percentage are subject to a significant change in their future benefits. First they are subject to the increased higher FERS-RAE coverage percentage.  Second, their retirement benefits will be computed under the regular employee formula and no longer under the enhance formula used for FERS Members and Congressional employees.

Benefits Administration Letter 12-104,Federal Employees Retirement System-Revised Annuity Employees (RAE), provides additional information and can be found here on our website.  


Due to budget cuts caused by sequestration, OPM has been required to initiate changes to some of the business operations in Retirement Services. Beginning on Sunday, April 28, 2013, all overtime for employees working in Retirement Services at OPM is suspended and call center hours are reduced to 7:40 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday.  While it is our hope that process improvements developed over the past year will ameliorate some of the adverse effects of these necessary actions, retirees should expect an increase in the time required to process their claims or respond to inquiries. OPM remains committed to assuring that retirees receive the benefits that they have earned, and we will provide an update on the impact of these actions on retirement processing on a monthly basis with our retirement claims processing report.

 

OPM strives to make sure the proper payments are being paid to the proper beneficiaries.  We take every opportunity to send reminders to our annuitants and their survivors concerning the importance of reporting changes in addresses and or life events.

This is also a good time for me to remind our newer annuitants and those that have been retired for a while of some activities that can safeguard your retirement information.   

 You should always:

  • Keep your retirement claim number in a safe place
  • If you use Services Online (SOL) (www.servicesonline.opm.gov) keep your password in a secure place just as you would with the password to your banking institution. We have made it easy for you to access SOL using your password to record changes and manage your account quickly
  • Log into SOL periodically to keep your address and email address up to date so you don’t miss any important information
  • The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) employees will NOT call you and ask for your identifying information over the phone or request your password.  If you should receive a questionable telephone call from someone claiming to be an employee of OPM, please do not give out your personal information, but contact us immediately at 1-888-767-6738

As we enter into the second quarter of 2013, we made significant improvements in our processing time. We enhanced SOL by allowing you to print a verification of income statement that can be used for personal business. Thanks to you, we increased our email address data base allowing us to send you valuable retirement information as well as allowing us to go green and reduce our paper usage.  In the upcoming months, we will provide you the option to receive information from OPM electronically.

You can now follow us on Twitter and Facebook

https://twitter.com/fedretireinfo

http://www.facebook.com/USOPM


 
 
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