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You will be happy to know that our retired Federal employees and entitled surviving family members of deceased Federal employees and retirees will receive a 1.5% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) effective December 1, 2013.  You will see your annuity increase in the January 2, 2014 payment.

It’s time to review your federal employee health benefits coverage. The Open Season enrollment period is from November 11, 2012 through December 9, 2012. We have worked to take the stress and hassle out of selecting a health benefits carrier for the coming year.  If you are happy with your health benefits plan; you don’t need to take any action. 

However, if you are considering changing health benefit plans; please visit our website at  To access the website, you must register with your CSA/CSF claim number and the last four digits of your SSN and then create a user id and password.

Use the convenient self-service tools to make an Open Season change, request health plan information and/or make other retirement related transactions such as correspondence and email address updates and dependent information updates.

You can also dial our toll-free Open Season Express number (interactive voice response system) at 1-800-332-9798. Once you access ; you can also chat with a Customer Service Representative using Live Help or send a web mail message which will be answered by a Customer Service Representative.

OPM Retirement Services offers a mobile website for the Federal Employee Health Benefit Open Season. This enhancement brings all of the features of the website to the palm of your hand. The mobile website will be available during the open enrollment window at

Remember to visit Services Online for an easy and secure way to manage your retirement account. Please note Services Online cannot be used for Open Season transactions.

I want to personally update you on the status of your benefit payments. As you may be aware, a potential lapse in Federal appropriations may occur at midnight on September 30.

I want to reassure all benefit recipients that payments will be made as scheduled on October 1, 2013. The Retirement Fund is not impacted by the lapses in Federal appropriations so there will be no delay or difference in your benefits as a result of these events.

Thank you for your service and dedication to the government.

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  If you are unable to access your SOL account because you do not have a password, go to 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, you can also follow us on Twitter at and Facebook at

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;


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)


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.  

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