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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

Retire in One Year

  • You can use voluntary contributions you made while working under the Civil Service Retirement System to purchase additional annuity when you retire or you can withdraw the contributions in a one-time payment. You can purchase additional annuity of $7 per year for each $100 of voluntary contributions, plus 20 cents for each full year you are over age 55 when you retire. By electing to take a reduction in the additional annuity, you can also purchase additional annuity for a surviving spouse who may receive a benefit after your death. Most people want to withdraw their voluntary contributions in a one-time payment. If the amount of the voluntary contributions, plus interest, is more than $200, you can roll the funds into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other qualified retirement plan to defer income tax. If you want to withdraw your voluntary contributions, you should submit either a Form RI 38-124 or Standard Form 2802 with the statement in item number seven, "I want only my voluntary contributions to be refunded to me." You can get these forms from your employer. You should submit your request at least 60 days before your expected retirement.
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  • Voluntary contributions are payments made to the retirement fund in addition to the deductions that are withheld from pay. You can make these contributions only if you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and do not owe a deposit for a period of time when deductions were not withheld from your pay. To make voluntary contributions, you should submit a Standard Form 2804 to your employer. You can make voluntary contributions in multiples of $25. Total contributions cannot exceed 10 percent of your pay. You can purchase additional annuity of $7 per year for each $100 of voluntary contributions, plus 20 cents for each full year you are over age 55 when you retire. By electing to take a reduction in the additional annuity, you can also purchase additional annuity for a surviving spouse who may receive a benefit after your death. Interest is paid on voluntary contributions at the rate of three percent annually until December 31, 1984. After that date, a variable interest rate is compounded annually on December 31st until service ends or a refund is paid. View the table of variable interest rates.
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  • That depends on when you worked and whether you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Make a selection from the list of circumstances below which best describes your situation and ask your local personnel service center for assistance because they have your employment records.
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  • You may be able to receive retirement credit for active-duty military service after 1956 if you make a payment for that service. You must make the payment before you stop working for the government. You should ask your local servicing personnel center for help in determining whether to make this payment. They can provide personalized assistance because they have your employment records.
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  • When you apply for retirement, you should list your workers compensation on your application. Generally, you cannot receive workers' compensation and civil service annuity payments at the same time. You must decide which benefit is most advantageous and elect to receive that one. If you decide to receive workers' compensation benefits, payments from the Office of Personnel Management will be suspended. If your workers compensation benefit stops, you can ask us to pay your civil service annuity. You can continue to receive your civil service annuity payments when your workers' compensation is for a Scheduled Award. If you missed work before retirement for an on-the-job injury or illness and received workers' compensation, generally, you can receive credit for time in the computation of your civil service annuity.
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  • Your Official Personnel Folder should contain a record of all of your health benefits registration forms, Standard Form 2809, and, if appropriate, Standard Form 2810, Notice of Change in Health Benefits. Be sure that when you retire, your records will show a complete history of your health insurance enrollment for the last five years.
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  • Your personnel officer will review the election opportunities to provide benefits after your death to your husband or wife, ex-spouse, or another person you designate as having an insurable interest in your continuing life.  If you do not provide for a monthly benefit after your death, your survivor will not be able to continue coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program.  The advisor will also cover the requirements that each survivor must meet to qualify. When making an election to provide a benefit after your death, you must obtain your husband's or wife's written consent to provide less than the maximum benefit allowed. To designate an insurable interest, you must have a physical examination at your own expense. You local personnel service center is the best place to begin. They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records.
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  • You should review your designation of beneficiary for the lump sum payment of retirement contributions when no one is eligible for monthly payments. This designation is made on a Standard Form 2808 for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or a Standard Form 3102 for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Make sure the form shows the person or people you want designated. If a copy is not available to review, you may wish to file a new designation. If you transferred to FERS, any prior designation you made for CSRS coverage is canceled. You may wish to file a FERS designation. If you were automatically transferred to FERS coverage from CSRS, your designation will remain in force. If there is no designation of beneficiary, benefits will be paid in the following order:
    1. Your widow or widower.
    2. Your children in equal shares.
    3. Your parents in equal shares.
    4. Your appointed executor or administrator of your estate.
    5. Your next of kin under the laws of the state you reside in when you die.
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  • See information here about cost-of-living adjustments. Then, check with your local personnel service center for an explanation about how the cost-of-living increases apply to those retiring under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records.
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  • You can pay your premiums directly to the Office of Personnel Management. In this case, we will tell you how to make these arrangements. You should not send any payments until we do.
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