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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

FERCCA

  • It is possible that because of a retirement coverage error, you paid either too much or too little for service you performed before you had retirement coverage. Under FERCCA, if you paid too much, you can receive a refund, plus interest, of any money that you paid over the amount needed to pay for the service. Also, if you now owe more for service you performed before you had retirement coverage, you can get credit for that service by taking an actuarial reduction instead of having to pay additional money. If you die before retiring, we will apply the actuarial reduction to your survivor's benefit.
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  • You can go ahead and process any error that lasted for less than 3 years of service after December 31, 1986 with one exception. If the error is one where the employee was erroneously put in FERS during the time that the employee could have voluntarily elected FERS (these are sometimes called "deemed FERS" errors), then you should not correct these types of errors. Do not correct the deemed FERS errors even if the error lasted for less than 3 years of service. In the coming months, OPM will issue detailed instructions for correcting each type of error that is affected by FERCCA. Please do not begin correcting coverage errors affected by FERCCA until you receive OPM's instructions.
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  • You should register the survivor using her name and Social Security number. There is a designated field on the Survivor registration form to enter the decedent's name, date of birth and Social Security number. There is also a mandatory field, which requires the OPM claim number. In a case such as this, put an "F" as the claim number suffix (CSF) and enter all 0's as the claim number. In the comments field, include the date of death along with the agency and sub agency the decedent last worked for.
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  • TSP make-up contributions may only be made through payroll deductions while you remain employed with the Government. Make-up contributions cannot be made after you retire.
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  • If you are separated from the Federal Government and you believe you are eligible under FERCCA, you should contact your former Federal agency's Human Resources Office. OPM works with representatives from your former agency to provide guidance in determining an employee's eligibility for relief under FERCCA. You will be asked some preliminary information to assess your potential eligibility, however, a final determination can not be made until your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is reviewed. You will be notified of your eligibility in writing.
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  • TSP stands for the Thrift Savings Plan. The TSP is an important benefit designed to help you save for your future. The TSP is comparable to a private-sector tax-deferred 401(k) plan. You can participate in the TSP if you are covered by FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset. The TSP offers all participants:
    • Tax deferral on contributions
    • A choice of 5 investment funds
    • A loan program
    • In-service withdrawals for financial hardship or after age 59
    • A choice of post-separation withdrawal options
    • The ability to transfer money from other eligible retirement savings plans into your TSP account
    The TSP is especially important for FERS employees because it is one of three parts of your retirement coverage. Beginning July 1, 2001, FERS employees can contribute as much as 11% of basic pay each pay period, up to the IRS annual limit. (The IRS limit for 2001 is $10,500.) As a FERS employee, you can receive 2 types of agency contributions to your TSP account, which together can equal as much as 5 percent of your basic pay.
    1. Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions. When you become eligible, your agency automatically deposits into your TSP account an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay each pay period, even if you do not contribute your own money. After 3 years of Federal civilian service (or 2 years in some cases), you are vested in these contributions and their earnings.
    2. Agency Matching Contributions. When you become eligible, your agency will match the first 3% of basic pay you contribute each pay period dollar for dollar. Each dollar of the next 2% of basic pay will be matched 50 cents on the dollar. You are immediately vested in the matching contributions.
    CSRS employees do not receive any Government contributions in their TSP accounts. However, CSRS employees can still take advantage of the TSP to provide a source of retirement income in addition to your CSRS retirement benefit. Beginning July 1, 2001, CSRS employees can contribute up to 6% of basic pay each pay period.
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  • Wait until you choose retirement plans to pay the military deposit. You'll have an opportunity to pay your military deposit once you've received detailed information about your benefits options and made your choice. It won't matter that you're a retiree, and no longer a Federal employee. Before you're asked to choose retirement plans, OPM will give you information about your benefits under both CSRS and FERS. They will tell you how much you owe under both. They will also explain how payment of a deposit will affect your benefit, and let you know whether you will be able to receive credit for the service by taking an actuarial reduction in your annuity. If, in the meantime, you want to know how much you'll owe so you can put the money aside, ask your agency to estimate the deposit under both CSRS and FERS rules.
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  • If you believe you are eligible under FERCCA, you should contact a member of the OPM FERCCA Implementation team at 1-888-767-6738. You will be asked for some preliminary information to assess your potential eligibility; however, a final determination can not be made until your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is reviewed. You will be notified of your eligibility in writing.
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  • If your retirement coverage error was corrected in the past, you have until September 19, 2002, to make your election. Your agency and OPM have the authority to waive this deadline. If you are currently in the wrong retirement plan, you must receive written notice of the error and of your options under FERCCA. If you qualify to choose another retirement plan, you have 6 months from the date you are notified of the error to make your election.
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  • Your widow will be able to make the same choices that you would have been able to make. While we will provide election information and benefits counseling as soon as possible, we will make special provisions for those individuals who need to make an election immediately. Contact OPM directly by calling us toll free at 1-888-767-6738.
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