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An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

Information for Payroll Personnel

  • The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act was passed by the United States Congress on December 16, 2010 and signed into law on December 17, 2010. As a result, the IRS published the tax withholding tables later than usual for 2011. OPM applied the tax tables as quickly as possible but there was not enough time to apply these tables to the January 3, 2011 annuity payments.
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  • If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased retiree, recurring monthly payments may be made to you if your spouse elected a reduced annuity to provide the benefit. To qualify for the monthly benefit, you must have been married to the retiree for at least nine months. A survivor annuity may still be payable if the retiree's death occurred before nine months if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the retiree. A court order awarding a former spouse a survivor annuity may prevent us from paying you the portion of the annuity awarded under the court order. However, if otherwise eligible, you may receive the complete annuity if the former spouse loses eligibility for benefits. Read about survivor benefit elections. If no survivor annuity is payable upon the retiree's death, any remaining portion, representing either the remaining annuity and/or retirement contributions not paid to the retiree, is payable to the person(s) eligible under the order of precedence. See how the amount of the monthly survivor benefit is determined.
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  • The withholding changes affect the February 1, 2011 payment and subsequent annuity payments.
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  • If you are a federal retiree, contact OPM’s Retirement Office at 1-888-767-6738 or retire@opm.gov to check the status of your request.  The phone lines are open from 7:30 am to 7:45 pm (Eastern Standard Time). It is a busy phone number so we encourage you to call early in the morning or after 5:00 pm when the phone lines are less busy.
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  • Yes. After you retire, you will still have the opportunity to change your enrollment from one plan to another during an annual open season. You cannot change to another plan simply because you retired.
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  • If you were under 62 when your disability benefit began, and were not eligible for a voluntary immediate benefit, your benefit will be recomputed after you have been retired for 12 months. The recomputed annuity will be 40 percent of your high-3 average salary minus 60 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit, or your earned benefit, whichever is higher. At age 62, your benefit is recomputed as though you had continued working until age 62. (Your average salary is increased by all FERS Cost-of-Living Adjustments paid while you were disabled.)
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  • You can roll over lump sum payments representing the deceased's retirement contributions and applicable interest and the FERS Basic Employee Death Benefit. An eligible payment can be paid either to you or directly to an individual retirement account or other employer sponsored plan. Your choice will affect the amount of taxes you owe. We are required to withhold Federal income tax from taxable payments over $200 at the rate of 20 percent. However, you may choose to take all or part of these payments in a direct rollover to an individual retirement account or an employer-sponsored retirement plan that accepts rollovers. The taxable portion can be rolled over into the Thrift Saving Plan. If you make this election, we will not withhold the Federal income tax from the taxable payments. You can open an individual retirement account to receive a direct rollover. You must contact the individual retirement account sponsor to find out how to have your payment made to your account. If you are unsure of how to invest your money, you may wish to temporarily establish an account to receive the payment. However, you may wish to consider whether or not you may move any or all of the monies to another account at a later date without penalties or limitations. If you choose to have the payment made to you and it is over $200, it is subject to the 20 percent Federal income tax withholding. The payment is taxed in the year in which it is received unless within 60 days after receiving it, you roll it over to an individual retirement account or retirement plan that accepts rollovers. You can rollover up to 100 percent of the eligible distribution, including the 20 percent withholding. To do so, you must replace the 20 percent withholding within the 60 day period. You will be taxed on any amount that you do not roll over. For example, if you roll over only the 80 percent of the distribution, you will be taxed on the remaining 20 percent. You can find more information about the taxation of payments from qualified retirement plans from the following Internal Revenue Service publications: We will withhold Federal income tax of ten percent if your total taxable lump sum is less than $200. We will request a rollover election when you are eligible for a payment of $200 or more.
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  • We keep a separate mailing address to periodically send you information about your retirement and health and life insurance benefits. You can see the current record of your mailing address on Services Online. Please notify us if this address changes. (If you do not receive your payments through direct deposit, we ordinarily use the same address for mailings and payments.)
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  • In many cases, after receiving the report of a retiree's death, we can start monthly payments to those who are eligible based on the records we have on file. In every case, we will tell you what benefits are payable and provide the necessary forms and help to apply for benefits. If you are the survivor of an employee who has passed away while working for the Federal Government, please contact the personnel office of the Federal agency where the employee worked. You should complete the following form- If the employee was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) at the time of death: Application for Death Benefits/CSRS, Standard Form (SF) 2800 [806 KB] If the employee was covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) at the time of death: Application for Death Benefits/FERS, Standard Form (SF) 3104 [741 KB] If you are the survivor of an employee who has passed away after separating from a position with the Federal Government under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), but before receiving any retirement benefits, you should file the following form- Application for Death Benefits/FERS, Standard Form (SF) 3104 [741 KB] Attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and a copy of the certificate of the marriage to the widow or widower. Give the application to the personnel office. A widow or widower who is claiming benefits for himself or herself and on behalf of children should file one application. If a lump sum payment is due following the death of someone who passed away after leaving Government service but before retirement, please complete the Application for Death Benefits, Standard Form (SF) 2800 [806 KB] and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Send it to this address.
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  • You can cancel or decrease your coverage at any time. You cannot increase your coverage.
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