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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

Post-Retirement

  • You may receive a CSRS survivor annuity and social security payments. You may receive a FERS survivor annuity and social security payments.  However, if you are the survivor of a FERS retiree, you cannot receive the FERS survivor supplement if you are eligible for social security mother, father or disability benefits based on the deceased annuitant’s account.  Please contact the local office of the Social Security Administration for information about social security benefits. If you receive social security benefits based on your own employment, there may be a reduction in the social security benefit you receive based on your deceased spouse's service. Contact the Social Security Administration for more information about the Government Pension Offset at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html. See the information below about benefits which may be payable to the surviving spouse of a deceased annuitant who was covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset program. Under these circumstances, a survivor may be eligible for both a CSRS annuity and social security benefits.
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  • Use Services Online to:
    • start, change, or stop Federal and State income tax withholdings;
    • request a duplicate tax-filing statement (1099R);
    • change your Personal Identification Number (PIN) for accessing our automated systems;
    • establish, change, or stop an allotment to an organization;
    • change your mailing address;
    • start direct deposit of your payment or change the account or financial institution to which your payment is sent;
    • establish, change, or stop a checking or savings allotment; and
    • view a statement describing your annuity payment.
    You can also call our toll-free number 1 (888) 767-6738 , for these and many of your voluntary withholdings. When using our self-service systems, you need your claim number, Personal Identification Number (PIN), and social security number. If you do not have a PIN, call us. If you do not have a touchtone telephone, you can speak to a Customer Service Specialist. Generally, in the middle of month, we authorize payments that are due for the first business day of the following month. Therefore, if you want your change to be reflected in your next payment, you should submit your request as early in the month as possible. See our payment schedule for the last date you can change your next monthly payment.
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  • To report a death of someone who receives benefits from us, you can:
    • Contact us online:  Report a Death
    • Call us: 1-88USOPMRET — 1 (888)767-6738
    • Write to us at:
    U.S. Office of Personnel Management Retirement Services Program Post Office Box 45 Boyers, PA 16017-0045
    If you are reporting the death of someone who receives benefits from us, please provide us with the full name of the deceased and date of death, as well as the retirement claim number, if known, and social security number. You should also include your name, address, and telephone number. When we receive the report that someone who receives benefits from us has died, we will stop annuity payments and ask survivors who may be eligible for benefits to apply. In many cases, we can start monthly payments to an eligible surviving spouse based on the records on file. Payments made to a retiree after the date of his or her death are not negotiable. In addition, survivors may not be eligible for the full amount of such payments. Therefore, the Department of the Treasury will reclaim all direct deposit payments made after the date of death from the financial institution to which they were disbursed. The financial institution will debit the account to which the payments were previously credited. The annuitant's account should remain open until reclamation of any payments is completed. Uncashed checks payable to the deceased must be returned to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. You should void any uncashed checks by noting the annuitant's date of death on them before returning them. Voided checks should be returned to the following address: U.S. Department of the Treasury P.O. Box 24720 Oakland, CA 94623-1720 In addition, Benefit Officers can use our website to report the death of an employee and help us expedite payments to family members.
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  • You can voluntarily withhold Federal and State income taxes, checking and savings allotments, or allotments to other participating organizations. Federal Income Tax: Generally, unless you specify a monthly withholding rate or amount, we withhold Federal income tax as if you are married and claiming three allowances. Use Services Online to start, change, or stop the Federal tax withheld from your annuity payment or specify the dollar amount withheld. You can also call us or write us to change your withholding amount. If you write, your letter should include your claim number and the monthly amount in dollars you want withheld. If you write, we will send you a Form W-4P-A, "Election of Federal Income Tax Withholding," and instructions for making the change. The change in your withholdings will be made after we receive your Form W-4P-A. You may change the amount withheld whenever you think it is necessary. Please note that you may be penalized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you do not have at least 90 percent of your yearly tax liability either withheld from your salary or annuity or made via quarterly payments to the IRS. If you need more information or assistance in determining whether or not you are having the right amount of Federal income tax withheld, see the Internal Revenue Service website at http://www.irs.gov. State Income Tax: You must specify the dollar amount of State tax you want withheld from your monthly payments. The withholding must be in whole dollars. The minimum amount we can withhold for State income tax is $5. Use Services Online to start, change, or stop the State tax withheld from your annuity payment. You can also call us or write us to change your withholding amount. If you write, your letter should include your claim number and the monthly amount in dollars you want withheld. If you do not know the monthly amount you want withheld, contact your State tax office for information or assistance. Check our list of State tax offices for information about participating States. If your State does not participate, please contact the State tax office for information or assistance. Savings Bonds: As of April 1, 2009, The Office of Personnel Management is no longer withholding for the purchase of savings bonds. Please contact your bank or other financial institution or the Department of the Treasury to purchase these bonds. For further information on Savings Bonds visit the Treasury Direct website or call 1 (800) 4US-BOND. Allotments to Organizations: You can start, change, or stop an allotment to participating organizations. Participating organizations include:
    • American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE);
    • Fraternal Order of Retired Border Patrol Officers (Museum);
    • National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. Political Action Committee;
    • National Rural Letter Carriers Association Political Action Committee;
    • National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU);
    • Northwest Plan Administrators; and
    • Treasury Employees Political Action Committee.
    If the organization for which you wish to make an allotment is not listed above, you should contact them and ask them to provide us with the banking information needed to forward payments. The organization can contact us by email at finance@opm.gov. Use Services Online or call our toll-free number to make one-time or recurring membership payments to organizations. Checking and Savings Allotments:  Checking and savings allotments are voluntary deductions for allotments sent by direct deposit to a checking or savings account in your name. You may have up to two allotments. The accounts must be maintained at a domestic financial institution. This does not include charities, savings bonds, garnishments or other court orders, union or other organizational dues. You must maintain at least $100 net annuity payment. The allotment must be for a minimum of $50. Use Services Online to start, change, or stop an allotment or call our toll-free number to establish a checking or savings allotment.
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  • Survivors of Annuitants Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)- The maximum annuity for a spouse who survives an annuitant is 55 percent of the annuitant's benefit before it is reduced by the cost of the election to provide the survivor benefit. Generally, this equals 60 percent of the annuitant's current gross annuity. The survivor annuity will be less if the annuitant elected at retirement to provide less than the maximum benefit. For example, if an annuitant whose unreduced annual benefit is $31,003.24 elected to provide the maximum benefit, the survivor annuity would equal $31,003.24 x 55 percent = $17,051.78. Survivors of Employees Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)- The annuity payable to the surviving spouse of an employee whose death occurs while employed with the Federal Government is 55 percent of the annuity computed as if the employee had retired on disability as of the date of his or her death. An employee's surviving spouse receives 55 percent of the higher of:
    • An annuity computed under the formula based on the employee's service, salary, and sick leave. Refer to Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Computation for information about the computation of an employee's annuity.
    • A guaranteed minimum annuity which is the lesser of:
      • Forty percent of the employee's high-3 average salary; or
      • The regular annuity obtained after increasing the employee's length of service by the period of time between the date of the employee's death and the date he or she would have reached age 60.
    If, at the date of the employee's death, he or she was a law enforcement officer or firefighter who had at least 20 years of service as a law enforcement officer, firefighter or nuclear materials courier, the surviving spouse would receive 55 percent of the annuity computed under the special provisions for law enforcement officers, firefighters and nuclear materials couriers. If the employee performed service as a law enforcement officer or firefighter but was not employed in such a capacity at the time of his or her death; or, if he or she was a law enforcement officer or firefighter but was not age 50 with at least 20 years of law enforcement service or firefighter service, survivors can receive an annuity computation that is enhanced for the law enforcement or firefighter service on a pro-rated basis. If, at the date of the employee's death, he or she was age 50 and had performed at least 20 years of air traffic controller service; or, regardless of age, had at least 25 years of air traffic controller service, the surviving spouse receives 55 percent of an annuity computed under the special formula for air traffic controllers. Survivors of Annuitants Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)- Monthly Annuity- The maximum monthly annuity for a spouse who survives a FERS annuitant is 50 percent of the annuitant's benefit before it is reduced by the cost of the election to provide the survivor benefit.   The survivor annuity will be 25% of the annuitant’s benefit, if the annuitant elected at retirement to provide a partial survivor benefit. For example, if an annuitant whose unreduced annual benefit is $31,003.24 elected to provide the maximum benefit, the survivor annuity would equal $31,003.24 x 50 percent = $15,501.62. Survivors of Employees Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)- Monthly Annuity- The monthly annuity payable to the surviving spouse of an employee whose death occurs while employed with the Federal Government is 50 percent of the annuity computed as if the employee had retired as of the date of his/her death. The monthly annuity payable to the surviving spouse of the employee is 50 percent of the annuity computed under the special formula for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers if, at the date of death, the employee was:
    • Age 50 or older and had at least 20 years of law enforcement, firefighter and/or nuclear materials courier service, or 20 years of air traffic controller service; or
    • Was any age with at least 25 years of law enforcement, firefighter or nuclear materials courier service, or 25 years of air traffic controller service.
    Basic Employee Death Benefit- Amount of the Basic Employee Death Benefit:
    • 50% of the employee’s final salary (average salary, if higher), plus
    • $15,000 increased by Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) cost-of-living adjustments beginning 12/1/87.  For deaths on or after 12/1/07, this amount is $28,093.53.  It will be updated by future CSRS cost-of-living adjustments.
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  • For more information regarding Federal income taxes, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov or call the IRS on 1-800-829-1040.
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  • 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. If the court assigned payment under a court order, we will pay the lump sum in accordance with that court order. Otherwise, we will pay benefits under the following order of precedence:
    • to the designated beneficiary;
    • if there is no such beneficiary, to the widow or widower;
    • if none of the above, to the child or children, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child (a court will usually have to appoint a guardian to receive payment for a minor child);
    • if none of the above, to the parents in equal shares or the entire amount to a surviving parent;
    • if none of the above, to the executor or administrator of the estate; or
    • if none of the above, to the next of kin as determined under the laws of the State where the retiree lived.
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  • Monthly payments to a surviving spouse generally continue for life unless your spouse remarries before age 55. If your spouse was married to you for at least 30 years, he or she can continue receiving benefits when there is a remarriage before age 55 occurring after January 1, 1995.
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  • Please select the retirement system and date of adjustment from this list.
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  • There are many reasons for changing your health benefits enrollment. If you are changing your coverage because of one of the reasons listed below, we can make the change based on your telephone call. When calling you must have your claim number and social security number, as well as the enrollment number and name for your new plan. Changes we can make by phone include:
    • You are changing to self-only coverage from family coverage;
    • You are changing plans because you have moved out of the service area of your Health Maintenance Organization (HMO);
    • You turned 65 and are changing to a lower cost plan option because you are eligible for Medicare;
    • You are changing your enrollment during the annual Health Benefits Open Season, which usually runs from mid-November to early December; or
    • You are changing to family coverage because you marry, or have or adopt a child. (This option is not available to survivors.)
    You should contact us within the period beginning 31 days before up to 60 days after the date of the event. You may change the plan in which you are enrolled or from high to low option coverage during the annual Open Season for electing coverage. If you need assistance with your health benefits enrollment, call 1 (888) 767-6738 , to change your enrollment or if you need to speak with a Customer Service Specialist. Or, see our web pages at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/index.asp to obtain information about health insurance benefits online. If you are eligible for TRICARE or TRICARE-For-Life benefits, you may suspend your FEHB coverage and premium payments. You are able to reenroll in the FEHB Program during the Open Season, or immediately if you are involuntarily disenrolled from the TRICARE program. Select this link to find answers to frequently asked questions on this topic.
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