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My Annuity and Benefits Life Events

 

Overview

The Life Events section of the website provides information useful to retirees and their families. There are many events in a retiree’s life that might affect their benefits. You can learn about them through the menu links to the left and summaries below.

We also publish a pamphlet on Life Events the RI 38-126: Life Events and Your Retirement and Insurance Benefits (for Annuitants) pamphlet is available for download in our Retirement and Insurance Publications directory.

  • Marriage/Divorce - Understand your benefits options when your marriage begins or ends.
  • Death of an employee, annuitant or spouse - Notify OPM upon the death of your spouse.
  • Reemployment - Learn how reemployment may affect your benefits.
  • Third Party Payees - If you are unable to handle your finances OPM will require a guardian or Representative Payee be appointed. OPM does NOT recognize Power of Attorney.
  • Designation of Beneficiaries - You can choose any person to receive any life insurance and/or lump sum benefit payable upon your death by completing a Designation of Beneficiary form.
  • Moving to a new address - Notify OPM when your address changes so you continue to receive important information regarding your annuity.

Marriage/Divorce

Marriage After Retirement

Providing a Survivor Benefit if you Get Married After Retirement

If you get married after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse. You must make this election within two years of the date of your marriage.

Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS):

You can elect any portion of your annuity as the base for the survivor benefit payable in the event of your death. The survivor benefit will be 55% of the base elected.

Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS):

You can elect either:

  • a full survivor benefit (50% of your unreduced annual basic benefit), or
  • a partial survivor benefit (25% of your unreduced annual basic benefit).

If you remarry the same person to whom you were married at retirement, you cannot elect a survivor annuity greater than the one you elected at retirement.

There will be two reductions in your annuity if you elect to provide the survivor benefit:

  • The regular reduction to provide the survivor benefit which depends on the amount you elect for the survivor annuity. This reduction is computed as follows:
    • Under FERS –
      • 10% of your basic annuity for full survivor benefit
      • 5% of your basic annuity for partial survivor benefit
    • Under CSRS –
      • 2.5% of the first $3600 of your basic annuity, and 10% of the remainder of your basic annuity, up to the amount you have chosen as the base for the survivor benefit

    AND

  • A permanent actuarial reduction equal to the difference between the new annuity rate with the survivor benefit and the old one without the survivor benefit since your retirement, plus 6 percent interest. The actuarial reduction continues even if the marriage ends.

How to provide a survivor benefit for a spouse married after retirement

Write to OPM and send us a copy of your marriage certificate showing the date of the marriage and the name of your spouse. We will send you information about the cost of the benefit and ask you to confirm your election.

Changing your health benefits enrollment due to a marriage after retirement

To change to a family health benefits enrollment, call OPM anytime from 31 days before your marriage to 60 days afterward. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the next health benefits open season to make the change. If you already have a family plan, contact the health benefits carrier to include your spouse in the coverage.

You may also want to change your designations of beneficiary for life insurance or for retirement

These designations must be in writing on the forms we provide. You can print copies of these designation of beneficiary forms from our website, or call or send us an email to ask for the forms.

Life Insurance designation form:

SF 2823, Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program

Retirement System designation forms (for any money in the retirement fund remaining upon your death and any unpaid annuity):

  • SF 2808, Designation of Beneficiary/Civil Service Retirement System
  • SF 3102, Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Retirement System

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Divorce After Retirement

If You Get Divorced After Retirement-

Notify OPM of the divorce

If your annuity is currently reduced to provide a survivor benefit for your spouse, the reduction will be eliminated, unless your divorce decree (Court Order) says that you must continue to provide a survivor annuity for your former spouse. Mail a certified copy of the entire court order and all support documentation to OPM.

You May Need to Change Your Health Benefits Enrollment

Health Benefits coverage for your former spouse:

When you divorce, your spouse is no longer a family member and cannot be covered under your family health benefits enrollment. Your children can continue to be covered. If there are no children, you should change to a self-only plan. Your court order may instruct you to continue to provide health benefits for your former spouse. Contact OPM to find our how to arrange for this coverage. If your court order does not instruct you to continue to provide health benefits coverage, your former spouse may qualify for temporary continuation of coverage for up to 36 months. If this temporary coverage is needed, you or your former spouse must contact us within 60 days after the divorce.

Health Benefits coverage for your children:

Your children can continue to be covered by your health benefits plan after your divorce. A court order may instruct you to provide health benefits coverage for your children. If you are subject to such an order, you cannot change your coverage from family to a self-only plan. You must enroll in a family plan that provides full benefits for the children in the area where they live. This applies to you as long as the court order is in effect.

You may want to change your designations of beneficiary for life insurance or for retirement

These designations must be in writing on the forms we provide. You can print copies of these designation forms from our website, or call or send us an email to ask for the forms.

Life Insurance designation form:

SF 2823, Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program

Retirement System designation forms (for any money in the retirement fund remaining upon your death and any unpaid annuity):

  • SF 2808, Designation of Beneficiary/Civil Service Retirement System
  • SF 3102, Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Retirement System

Providing a Survivor Benefit for your Former Spouse if you get divorced after retirement

If your marriage ends after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor benefit for your former spouse.

How to Make This Election-

You must notify OPM in writing within two years of the date the marriage ended. You should include a court-certified copy of the decree effecting the dissolution of the marriage, and any property or marital settlement agreement. Send this information to OPM.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017

Amount of Survivor Benefit-

  • Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS):
    • You can elect any portion of your annuity, up to 55% of your unreduced annual basic benefit, as a basis for the survivor benefit payable in the event of your death.
  • Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS):
    • You can elect either-
      • a full survivor benefit (50% of your unreduced annual basic benefit), or
      • a partial survivor benefit (25% of your unreduced annual basic benefit).

There will be two reductions in your annuity if you elect to provide the survivor benefit:

  • The usual reduction to provide the survivor benefit which depends on the amount you elect for the survivor annuity. This reduction is computed as follows-
    • Under FERS -- 10% of your basic annuity for full survivor benefit 5% of your basic annuity for partial survivor benefit
    • Under CSRS -- 2.5% of the first $3600 of your basic annuity and 10% of the remainder of your basic annuity, up to the amount you have chosen as the base for the survivor benefit.

AND

  • A permanent actuarial reduction equal to the difference between the new annuity rate with the survivor benefit and the old rate without the survivor benefit since your retirement, plus 6 percent interest. The actuarial reduction continues even if the marriage ends.

If you were married to the former spouse when you retired and he/she consented to an election of less than the maximum survivor benefit, you cannot provide a benefit that is larger than your original election.

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Death & Survivor Benefits

When a Federal employee or retiree dies, monthly or lump sum benefits may be payable to survivors.  You can learn about these Death and Survivor benefits through the menu links to the left and summaries below.

Deceased Employees

Explains monthly and lump sum benefits from the death of a Federal employee.

Deceased Annuitants

Explains monthly and lump sum benefits from the death of a retiree.

Deceased Survivors

Explains lump sum benefits from the death of a survivor of a Federal employee or annuitant.

Child Beneficiaries

Explains the monthly benefits that may be due children of deceased Federal employees and annuitants.

Students

A surviving child of a deceased Federal employee or annuitant who is between the ages of 18 and 22, and is a full-time student at a recognized educational institution may be eligible for a monthly survivor annuity benefit.

Reemployment in Federal Service

CSRS Annuity

Annuity Stops

Reemployment will cause your annuity to stop if–

  • You are a disability annuitant whom OPM has found recovered or restored to earning capacity prior to reemployment;
  • You are a disability annuitant who was medically disqualified for continued membership in the National Guard;
  • Your annuity is based on an involuntary separation and your new appointment is permanent in nature; or
  • You received a Presidential appointment subject to retirement deductions.

Federal Employees Health Benefits Coverage (FEHB)

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your health insurance coverage as an annuitant stops. If your appointment is one that gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, you can enroll in the program when you are reemployed.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Coverage (FEGLI)

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your life insurance as an annuitant stops without a right to convert to an individual policy. You acquire life insurance coverage as an employee under the same conditions as any other employee who is rehired in the Federal service.

Future Benefits

When your reemployment ends, a new determination about your rights to retirement benefits will be made. Your prior retirement benefit generally has no impact on your new retirement benefit.

Dual Compensation Waiver

If reemployed with a Department of Defense agency, you are subject to a dual compensation waiver that allows you to be reemployed with receipt of both annuity and salary.  You will not be entitled to further retirement benefits under this waiver. If you retire under a discontinued service provision, you may elect to not receive this waiver and become subject to the CSRS reemployment provisions, which will effectively make you an employee since your annuity would terminate.

In addition, there is a temporary provision of the law that allows you to be reemployed on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. See Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 .

Annuity Continues

If your annuity does not stop under the rules above, you will continue to receive your CSRS annuity while you are working. Your pay will be reduced by the amount of your annuity paid for the period you work. If you do not work full time, the reduction in pay will be adjusted proportionately.

There is a temporary provision of the law that allows you to be reemployed on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. See Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84.

Federal Employees Health Benefits Coverage (FEHB)

If your annuity continues after you are reemployed, your FEHB coverage will generally be withheld by your agency in order to take advantage of the premium conversion for health benefits.  Your agency should alert OPM to your reemployment and inform OPM that they will take over your FEHB coverage.  OPM will suspend your coverage as an annuitant until you have separated from your reemployed position.  If your appointment does not make you eligible for FEHB with the agency or if you elect not to participate in HB premium conversion with the agency, OPM will continue to withhold premiums from your annuity payment.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Coverage (FEGLI)

If your annuity continues after you are reemployed, you retain the life insurance you have as a retiree. However, if the type of appointment you have makes you eligible for FEGLI coverage as an employee, any Basic Life insurance, Standard Option (Option A), and Family Optional (Option C) insurance you have as an annuitant are suspended and you will have coverage as an employee. If you have Additional Optional (Option B) insurance, you may continue your Option B annuitant, or elect to have it as an employee.

Future Benefits

Reemployment may increase your retirement and death benefits. As a reemployed annuitant, you can earn either a-

  • Supplemental annuity, or
  • Redetermined annuity.

A supplemental annuity is an annuity that is added on to your present annuity. If you work as a reemployed annuitant on a full time, continuous basis for at least 1 year, you may be entitled to a supplemental annuity. If you work part time, you must work a proportionately longer period to earn a supplemental annuity.

A redetermined annuity is a recomputed annuity that takes the place of your present annuity. If your reemployment continues for at least 5 years, or the part-time equivalent, and you qualify for a retirement upon separation from your reemployment service you may elect a redetermined annuity.

Intermittent service cannot be counted in establishing eligibility for a supplemental or redetermined annuity, and cannot be used in the computation of a supplemental annuity.

CSRS reemployed annuitant service cannot be credited in a supplemental or redetermined annuity unless a deposit is paid after separation, or retirement deductions are withheld. If you are reemployed in a full-time or part-time position, you may elect to have retirement deductions withheld from your pay. The amount of retirement deductions or deposit is a percentage of your basic pay before it is reduced by the amount of your annuity.

If you die while reemployed, after establishing eligibility for either a supplemental or redetermined annuity, your surviving spouse may have his or her survivor benefit either increased or recomputed. 

Dual Compensation Waivers

There are two laws that permit reemployment without salary offset or benefit termination.

Special Reemployment Provision of PL 108-136

Under Public Law 108-136, effective November 24, 2003, reemployment with a Department of Defense (DoD) agency is automatically under a dual compensation waiver. This means that DoD can reemploy an annuitant without taking an offset of salary or without OPM terminating the annuity if the annuitant retired under a CSRS discontinued service retirement. A CSRS discontinued service annuitant may elect to waive the dual compensation and become an employee (that is, their annuity will be terminated).  A disability annuitant would still be subject to medical recovery (before age 60) and restored to earning capacity criteria.  However, under the special DoD dual compensation waiver, a disability annuitant would not be subject to administrative recovery.  If someone is reemployed under a dual compensation waiver, no further retirement benefits, such as a supplemental or redetermined annuity, are payable.  The agency still needs to contact OPM regarding the reemployment since health benefits and life insurance need to be handled in the same manner as any reemployed annuitant.

Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 (The National Defense Authorization Act)

Public Law 111-84, approved on October 28, 2009, allows reemployment of CSRS and FERS annuitants on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. This provision applies to Executive agencies (excluding the Department of Defense and GAO), the Postal Service, and the Judicial and Legislative Branch agencies.

This authority may be used by agencies when they determine that it is necessary to-

  • Fulfill functions critical to the mission of the agency, or any component of that agency;
  • Assist in the Implementation of oversight of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or the Troubled Asset Relief Program under title I of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
  • Assist in the development, management, or oversight of agency procurement actions;
  • Assist the Inspector General for the agency in the performance of the mission of the Inspector General;
  • Promote appropriate training or mentoring programs of employees;
  • Assist in the recruitment or retention of employees; or
  • Respond to an emergency involving a direct threat to life or property or other unusual circumstances.

Individuals reemployed under this provision, serve under appointments limited to a year or less. An annuitant may not serve under this provision for more than 520 hours of service during the period ending 6 months following the individual's annuity commencing date; for more than 1040 hours of service during any 12-month period; or for more than a total of 3120 hours. Individuals employed under these provisions are not entitled to any additional annuity benefits based upon that employment.

This provision expires on October 27, 2014.

Special Information for CSRS Disability Annuitants Considering Federal Reemployment

  • If you are reemployed on a permanent basis in a position equivalent in grade and pay to the position from which you retired, OPM may find that you have recovered from your disability.
  • If you are reemployed subject to medical and physical qualification standards equivalent to those of the position from which you retired, OPM may find that you have recovered from your disability.
  • The pay of the position in which you are reemployed, prior to the offset of annuity, will be included as earnings in determining whether the disability annuity will stop due to restoration to earning capacity.
  • Receipt of, or continued entitlement to receive, full or partial injury compensation benefits from the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation during reemployment, when those benefits are based on the same injury or medical condition that is the basis for OPM’s award of disability retirement, is conclusive evidence (unless there is contravening medical evident) that you have not recovered from your disability.
  • If you are age 60 or over, your annuity cannot be stopped because of your earnings, and OPM can find that you are recovered only if you request to be found recovered.

 

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP)

Not receiving an annuity

If you are no longer an annuitant, then your FEDVIP coverage as an annuitant ends. If your appointment is one that gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, then you may enroll in the FEDVIP program when you are reemployed.

Still receiving an annuity

If you go back to work and you are in a position that conveys FEDVIP eligibility, you must contact BENEFEDS (1-877-888-3337), if you want your premiums to be deducted from your paychecks. Most reemployed annuitants want to make that change because retirees pay FEDVIP premiums with post-tax dollars and employees pay FEDVIP premiums with pre-tax dollars. If your new position does not convey FEDVIP eligibility you may retain the coverage as an annuitant.

 

Employment in the Private Sector

 Effect on Your Basic Annuity:

  • If you retired under CSRS -


CSRS Basic Benefit

Your employment outside the Federal service will not affect your basic annuity payments unless you’re receiving a disability annuity and are under age 60.  If you’re a disability retiree under age 60, you will be subject to the 80% earnings limit.  You reach the 80% earnings limit if, in any calendar year, your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay for the position from which you retired.

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FERS Annuity (Basic Benefit)

Annuity Stops

Reemployment will cause your FERS annuity to stop if–

  • You are a disability annuitant whom OPM has found recovered or restored to earning capacity prior to reemployment;
  • You are a disability annuitant who was medically disqualified for continued membership in the National Guard;

Federal Employees Health Benefits Coverage (FEHB)

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your health insurance coverage as an annuitant stops. If your appointment is one that gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, you can enroll in the program when you are reemployed.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Coverage (FEGLI)

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your life insurance as an annuitant stops without a right to convert to an individual policy. You acquire life insurance coverage as an employee under the same conditions as any other employee who is rehired in the Federal service.

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP)

Not receiving an annuity

If you are no longer an annuitant, then your FEDVIP coverage as an annuitant ends. If your appointment is one that gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, then you may enroll in the FEDVIP program when you are reemployed.

Still receiving an annuity

If you go back to work and you are in a position that conveys FEDVIP eligibility, you must contact BENEFEDS (1-877-888-3337), if you want your premiums to be deducted from your paychecks. Most reemployed annuitants want to make that change because retirees pay FEDVIP premiums with post-tax dollars and employees pay FEDVIP premiums with pre-tax dollars. If your new position does not convey FEDVIP eligibility you may retain the coverage as an annuitant.

Future Benefits

When your annuity stops, you have the same status as any other Federal employee employed in an equivalent position with a similar service history. When you again leave Federal service, you will be entitled to either an immediate or deferred annuity based on this new separation. Generally, the annuity will be computed on the basis of your service and salary history at the time of the future separation from Federal service.

If reemployed with a Department of Defense agency, you are subject to a dual compensation waiver that allows you to be reemployed with receipt of both annuity and salary.  You will not be entitled to further retirement benefits under this waiver.  If you retired under a discontinued service provision, you may elect to not receive this waiver and become subject to the FERS reemployment provisions, which will apply an offset to your salary based on the monthly amount of your annuity.  The reemployment service can be applied to your retirement depending on the amount of service you perform.

In addition, there is a temporary provision of the law that allows you to be reemployed on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. See Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 [62 KB].

Annuity Continues

If your annuity does not stop under the rules above, you will continue to receive your FERS annuity while you are working. Your pay will be reduced by the amount of your annuity paid for the period you work. If you do not work full time, the reduction in pay will be adjusted proportionately.

There is a temporary provision of the law that allows you to be reemployed on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. See Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84.

Federal Employees Health Benefits Coverage (FEHB)

If your annuity continues after you are reemployed, your FEHB coverage will generally be withheld by your agency in order to take advantage of the premium conversion for health benefits.  Your agency should alert OPM of your reemployment and that they will take over your FEHB coverage.  OPM will suspend your coverage as an annuitant until you have separated from your reemployed position.  If your appointment does not make you eligible for FEHB with the agency or if you elect not to participate in HB premium conversion with the agency, OPM will continue to withhold premiums from your annuity payment.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Coverage (FEGLI)

If your annuity continues after you are reemployed, you retain the life insurance you have as a retiree. However, if the type of appointment you have makes you eligible for FEGLI coverage as an employee, any Basic Life insurance, Standard Option (Option A), and Family Optional (Option C) insurance you have as an annuitant are suspended and you will have coverage as an employee. You have the option of keeping Additional Optional (Option B) as an annuitant or having it as an employee.

Future Benefits

Reemployment may increase your retirement and death benefits. As a reemployed annuitant, you can earn either a-

  • supplemental annuity,or
  • redetermined annuity.

A supplemental annuity is an annuity that is added on to your present annuity. If you work as a reemployed annuitant on a full time, continuous basis for at least 1 year, you may be entitled to a supplemental annuity. If you work part-time, you must work a proportionately longer period to earn a supplemental annuity.

A redetermined annuity is a recomputed annuity that takes the place of your present annuity. If your reemployment continues for at least 5 years, or the part-time equivalent, and if you qualify for a retirement at separation from your reemployment service you may elect a redetermined annuity. Intermittent service cannot be counted in establishing eligibility for a supplemental or redetermined annuity, and cannot be used in the computation of a supplemental annuity.

If you die while reemployed, after establishing eligibility for either a supplemental or redetermined annuity, your surviving spouse may have his or her survivor benefit either increased or recomputed.

Dual Compensation Waivers

There are two laws that permit reemployment without salary offset or benefit termination.

Special Reemployment Provision of PL 108-136

Under Public Law 108-136, effective November 24, 2003, reemployment with a Department of Defense (DoD) agency is automatically under a dual compensation waiver. This means that DOD can reemploy an annuitant without taking an offset of salary.  A FERS discontinued service annuitant may elect to waive the dual compensation and come under the rules for a reemployed annuitant.  A disability annuitant would still be subject to medical recovery (before age 60) and restored to earning capacity criteria.  However, under the special DoD dual compensation waiver, a disability annuitant would not be subject to administrative recovery.  If someone is reemployed under a dual compensation waiver, no further retirement benefits, such as a supplemental or redetermined annuity, are payable.  The agency still needs to contact OPM regarding the reemployment since health benefits and life insurance need to be handled in the same manner as any reemployed annuitant.

Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 (The National Defense Authorization Act)

Public Law 111-84, approved on October 28, 2009, allows reemployment of CSRS and FERS annuitants on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. This provision applies to Executive agencies (excluding the Department of Defense and GAO), the Postal Service, and the Judicial and Legislative Branch agencies.

This authority may be used by agencies when they determine that it is necessary to-

  • Fulfill functions critical to the mission of the agency, or any component of that agency;
  • Assist in the Implementation of oversight of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or the Troubled Asset Relief Program under title I of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
  • Assist in the development, management, or oversight of agency procurement actions;
  • Assist the Inspector General for the agency in the performance of the mission of the Inspector General;
  • Promote appropriate training or mentoring programs of employees;
  • Assist in the recruitment or retention of employees; or
  • Respond to an emergency involving a direct threat to life or property or other unusual circumstances.

Individuals reemployed under this provision, serve under appointments limited to a year or less. An annuitant may not serve under this provision for more than 520 hours of service during the period ending 6 months following the individual’s annuity commencing date; for more than 1040 hours of service during any 12-month period; or for more than a total of 3120 hours. Individuals employed under these provisions are not entitled to any additional annuity benefits based upon that employment.

This provision expires on October 27, 2014.

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Special Information for FERS Disability Annuitants Considering Federal Reemployment

  • If you are reemployed on a permanent basis in a position equivalent in grade and pay to the position from which you retired, OPM may find that you have recovered from your disability.
  • If you are reemployed subject to medical and physical qualification standards equivalent to those of the position from which you retired, OPM may find that you have recovered from your disability.
  • The pay of the position in which you are reemployed, prior to the offset of annuity, will be included as earnings in determining whether the disability annuity will stop due to restoration to earning capacity.
  • Receipt of, or continued entitlement to receive, full or partial injury compensation benefits from the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation during reemployment, when those benefits are based on the same injury or medical condition that is the basis for OPM’s award of disability retirement, is conclusive evidence (unless there is contravening medical evident) that you have not recovered from your disability.
  • If you are age 60 or over, your annuity cannot be stopped because of your earnings, and OPM can find that you are recovered only if you request to be found recovered.

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Employment in the Private Sector

Effect on Your Basic Annuity:

If you retired under FERS

FERS Basic Benefit

Your employment outside the Federal service will not affect your basic CSRS or FERS annuity payments unless you’re receiving a disability annuity and are under age 60.  If you’re a disability retiree under age 60, you will be subject to the 80% earnings limit.  You reach the 80% earnings limit if, in any calendar year, your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay for the position from which you retired.

FERS Annuity Supplement

If you are receiving an annuity supplement, it will be reduced based on how much you earn over the Social Security annual earnings limit.

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Moving to a New Address

You need to give us your new address. If your payments go to your financial institution or a Direct Express debit card, we still need to have your current mailing address so we can send you important information about your benefits. If you are changing financial institutions, we also can take care of that when you contact us.

If You Are Enrolled in a Health Benefits Plan

If you are enrolled in a health benefits plan that serves a limited geographic area, you will need to ask us to help you change plans if you moved out of the service area. Contact the plan if you have questions about the service area.

If You Are Withholding State Tax

If you have state income tax withheld and you move to a different state, you need to tell us to stop the tax withholding. If you want to authorize state tax withholding for your new state, let us know.

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.

Designation of Beneficiaries

There are two types of designations of beneficiary that apply to retirees:

  • Designations for Life Insurance benefits under the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program, and
  • Designations for any lump sum benefit payable upon your death.

Designations for Lump Sum Benefit Payable Upon Your Death

You can choose any person to receive any lump sum benefit payable upon your death by completing a Designation of Beneficiary form. Lump sum death payments include:

  • Any amount by which your contributions to the retirement fund, plus any interest due, exceed the total amount of the annuity we paid you and all other eligible survivors (unexpended balance), or
  • Any annuity we owe you at the time of your death.

We pay an unexpended balance only after there is no longer a survivor entitled to a monthly payment.

If You Do Not Have Designation of Beneficiary on File

If you do not have a Designation of Beneficiary on file, we will pay the first person(s) listed below who is alive on the date the payment becomes due:

  • Your widow or widower,
  • Your child or children (descendants of a deceased child may qualify),
  • Your parents in equal shares or all to the surviving parent,
  • The administrator or executor of your estate, or
  • If none of the above, your next of kin as determined under the laws of the State in which you live.

If you are satisfied with the payment order shown above, there is no need for you to have a Designation of Beneficiary.

Keep Your Designation of Beneficiary up to Date

Remember that unless you change or cancel your designation, the person named-such as a former spouse-will receive the lump sum benefit.

You also need to keep your designated beneficiaries’ addresses current. Failure to do so may mean that your beneficiary cannot be located and therefore benefits will not be paid to that person. The preferred way is to file a new Designation of Beneficiary when a beneficiary’s address changes. A new address cannot be added directly to the Designation of Beneficiary form itself, since any cross outs, erasures, or alterations in your form may make it invalid.

Designation of Beneficiary Forms

For Life Insurance Benefits

  • Use SF 2823, Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Group Life Insurance

For Lump Sum at Death

  • If you retired under FERS:
  • If you retired under CSRS:

After you complete and return the designation form in duplicate to OPM, we will certify it and return the duplicate copy to you.

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Third Party Payees

If a retiree is unable to handle their money, a court may appoint a guardian or the person responsible for their financial help may apply to become their “representative payee”.

If I Am Unable to Handle My Own Money

If you become mentally or physically unable to handle your own money, a family member or someone who is able to help you should contact OPM as soon as possible. When your family member or friends contact us, we will give them full instructions on what to do to take care of your retirement benefit for you. They will be asked for identifying information such as your claim number, name and Social Security Number, as well as the name and address of the person responsible for your care.

Power of Attorney

OPM does not recognize Power of Attorney filings. If you are responsible for the care or custody of a person who is either mentally or physically unable to handle his or her own money, you should contact OPM as soon as possible. We will give you full instructions on what to do to take care of the benefits. You should provide the claim number, name, and Social Security Number of the disabled person as well as the name and address of the responsible person.

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