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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

  • When we receive your retirement application, we will notify you and will provide a civil service claim identification number (a seven-digit number preceded by "CSA"). You must use that identification number whenever you contact OPM about your annuity.
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  •  If your 1099R Statement Box 2.a for the Taxable Amount is marked as 'Unknown'; this means that OPM did not calculate the tax-free portion of your annuity.   Some of the most common reasons for not calculating the tax-free portion of your annuity: 
    • Your case is a Disability Retirement
    • You retired prior to November 19, 1996
    • You have Voluntary Contributions
    • Apportionment was paid to your former spouse(s)
    • Your case has not been finalized and you are in Interim pay status
    • You have Survivor benefits payable and/or
    • Your case is an Office of Workers Compensation case
    OPM CAN NOT provide tax advice.  Please contact the Internal Revenue Service toll free at 1-800-829-1040 to speak with an agent who will provide free tax advice. 
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  • Use Services Online to report the change in your mailing address when you move. If you changed banks because you moved, you should also use Services Online to give us your new account number and the routing number (found next to your account number on the bottom of your check) for your financial institution. When you change the account you use for direct deposit, keep the old account open until a payment is posted to the new account. This will prevent having the payment returned if there is a problem with the new account. You can also call us or write us to change your mailing address. If you write, your letter should include your claim number. If you are enrolled in the health benefits program in a plan that serves a limited geographic area, you will need to change plans if you move out of the service area. See our web page at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/index.asp to view the list of plans from which you can choose and find out how to get brochures for those plans. Once you have picked your new plan, call us to change your enrollment or if you need more help.
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  • When we receive your retirement application, we will notify you and will provide a civil service claim identification number (a seven-digit number preceded by "CSA"). You must use that identification number whenever you contact OPM about your annuity. To check the status of your form or application, you may contact the Retirement Office at (888) 767-6738 or retire@opm.gov.  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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  • We only withhold Federal income tax.  You may find that the Federal income taxes withheld from your first interim payment will be higher than the Federal tax withholdings from your subsequent interim payments and regular annuity.  We will make any necessary tax withholding adjustment when we finish processing your application.  Your health and life insurance coverage will continue while you are receiving interim pay.  We will begin withholding health and life insurance premiums retroactive to the commencing date of your annuity, when we finish processing your application.
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  • Generally, if you are receiving a regular retirement, it will continue and your salary will be equivalently reduced. But, if you retired for disability or because your job was eliminated, your eligibility for the retirement benefit might end. You can discuss this with your prospective employer or provide us with detailed information about the position so that we can let you know if your benefit would stop. We need to know the title, grade, salary, tour of duty, and retirement coverage provided by the position you are considering. If your retirement benefit ends, your health benefits coverage as a retiree stops as well. You can enroll for health benefits where you are employed. Your life insurance as a retiree stops without a right to convert to an individual policy. Your eligibility for life insurance coverage will be the same as any other new employee.
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    • The beginning and ending dates for each period of employment which will be used for your benefit computation;
    • The effective dates for each promotion or within-grade increase during the period that will be used to compute your high-3 average salary;
    • The dates of pay changes or earnings and the pay rate, during employment periods when retirement deductions were not withheld from your salary;
    • The tour-of-duty during any part-time employment (if you worked more hours than the official tour-of-duty, document the hours actually worked.);
    • A record of time actually worked during intermittent or "when-actually-employed" service; and,
    • Documentation of the dates of military service.
    If any service is not verified or any of the required documentation is missing, you should obtain assistance from your personnel officer.
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  • After your personnel agency takes action, your agency payroll office:
    • Authorizes your final pay check and lump sum payment for unused annual leave;
    • Prepares your "Individual Retirement Record," Standard Form 2806 (CSRS) or 3100 (FERS) which reflects service, salary history, and annual retirement contributions; and
    • Forwards all retirement documents to OPM.
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  • If at age 62 you are eligible for Social Security, we will recompute your retirement benefit to "offset" any part of your Social Security benefit that is based on your years of Federal service under the offset plan.
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  • The U.S. Department of Labor calculates the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for urban wage earners and clerical workers from the third quarter average of the previous year to the third quarter average for the current year. For Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Organization and Disability Retirement System (ORDS) benefits, the increase percentage is applied to your monthly benefit amount before any deductions, and is rounded down to the next whole dollar. For Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or FERS Special benefits, if the increase in the CPI is 2 percent or less, the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) is equal to the CPI increase. If the CPI increase is more than 2 percent but no more than 3 percent, the Cost-of-Living Adjustment is 2 percent. If the CPI increase is more than 3 percent, the adjustment is 1 percent less than the CPI increase. The new amount is rounded down to the next whole dollar. To get the full COLA, a retiree or survivor annuitant must have been in receipt of payment for a full year. If not, the increase is prorated under both plans. Prorated accounts receive one-twelfth of the increase for each month they received benefits. Cost-of-Living Adjustments were first prorated in April 1982. Adjustments to benefits for children are never prorated. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and FERS Special Cost-of-Living Adjustments are not provided until age 62, except for disability, survivor benefits, and other special provision retirements. FERS disability retirees get the adjustment, except when they are receiving a disability annuity based on 60 percent of their high-3 average salary. Also, under FERS, if you have a CSRS component, the component is subject to the CSRS COLA calculation. Note: A benefit will not be increased if it would cause the annuitant to receive payments in excess of any cap amount specified by law.
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