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An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

Pre-Retirement

  • To qualify for payments from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you must submit a retirement application. They are available on our website, as follows: You should submit an application for immediate retirement as shown below.
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  • Some of an employee’s spousal Social Security benefit may be offset if the employee has a government pension from work not covered by Social Security. The offset does not apply to the employee’s own Social Security benefit, only the benefit that comes from a spouse’s employment. If the Government Pension Offset applies, the spousal Social Security benefit will be reduced by two-thirds of any Federal pension based on employment not covered by Social Security. Some employees are exempt from the Government Pension Offset. They are employees who are automatically covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset, and those who elected to transfer to the FERS before January 1, 1988, or during the belated transfer period which ended June 30, 1988. Employees who were covered by the CSRS and who elected FERS coverage after June 30, 1988 must have five years of Federal employment covered by Social Security to be exempt from the offset.
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  • Complete information pertaining to military service can be found in the CSRS/FERS handbook at www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C022.pdf.  If you are a current employee, contact your personnel office for information.
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  • You should carefully read the information that is part of your retirement application, and complete and submit the forms.  You do not need to submit a separate letter of resignation.  A completed and signed retirement application is equivalent to a letter of resignation. If you are eligible for a retirement benefit, you should not resign, intending to submit a retirement application later. This is because if you die after separating but before filing the application no life insurance, no survivor benefit, and no survivor health insurance coverage would be available to your survivor(s). You should, however, complete all the other required "exit procedures." Read more about applying for retirement.
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  • The program will become effective at the time set in the regulations to be issued.  Implementation of the program is an important goal of OPM, and this will be accomplished as soon as possible.  
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  • You should ask for a form SSA-7004-PC, Request for Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement, from your local Social Security Office or visit their website at http://www.ssa.gov. If you submit this form, you will get a statement that provides information on your future eligibility for Social Security benefits and estimates of these benefits at specified dates. These estimates do not reflect any reduction for the Government Pension Offset or the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
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  • When you get within one year of retirement eligibility, you should:
    • Confirm when you will be eligible to get a retirement benefit;
    • Decide when you want to retire;
    • Get information about other benefits to which you may also be eligible, such as Thrift Savings Plan payment options and any other entitlements based on employment, for example: Foreign Service, Social Security, pensions from private industry, and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). You should have a fairly comprehensive picture of all sources of your retirement income and when each is payable.
    • Tell your supervisor about your proposed retirement date. You should give sufficient notice to allow for planning for someone to take your place.
    • Attend a pre-retirement counseling seminar.
    • Make an appointment with your personnel officer to review your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) or its equivalent to make sure all your records are complete and accurate, all service is verified, and your insurance coverage is documented.
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  • You should begin planning several years before the date you have set for retirement so that you will know what is required to continue certain benefits into retirement. There are many factors related to retirement planning, and it is literally never too early to begin. The federal annuity is only one element to consider in today's complex financial scene. You may need to start a Thrift Savings Plan or IRA schedule many years before considering actual retirement. Other considerations, such as Social Security may affect your benefits. However, the best place to begin is with your local personnel service center. They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records. Your health and life insurance coverages are of immediate concern now because you must carry coverage continuously for at least five years before your retirement or you may be ineligible to continue them.
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  • If you receive a Federal pension and are also eligible for Social Security benefits based on your own employment record, a different formula may be used to compute your Social Security benefit. This formula will result in a lower benefit. The Windfall Elimination Provision affects workers who reach age 62 or become disabled after 1985 and are first eligible after 1985 for a Federal pension. The Windfall Elimination Provision does not apply if:
    • You were eligible to retire before January 1, 1986; or,
    • You were first employed by the government after December 31, 1983; or,
    • You have 30 or more years of substantial earnings under Social Security.
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