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Retirement FAQs

  • After logging in to SOL (https://www.servicesonline.opm.gov/) 1)       Select Request a Duplicate Form 1099-R.  2)       You can elect to have a duplicate mailed to you or you can view/print the form. 3)       At the Request for Duplicate Form 1099-R window, select View or Print (bottom of the window) 4)       Select the year for which you want a 1099R and 5)       Select view pdf.  The 1099-R will open in a new window, as a pdf.  If you want to print the 1099R, select File from the new window, scroll down and select Print. You can print current year and two previous years 1099R at Services Online. Note:  If you don’t have a claim number and password for Services OnLine, you can email retire@opm.gov or call Retirement Information office at 1-888-767-6738 for a duplicate copy of your 1099R.  You will need your CSA or CSF number (or Social Security Number) and date of birth.  Make sure your mailing address is correct!  Wednesday, December 21, 2011
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  • Use our calculator to figure the tax-free portion of your annuity payment. Use our calculator to figure the amount of your monthly federal income tax withholding. Then, use Services Online to change the federal tax withheld from your annuity payment.
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  • Use our online calculator to compute the tax free portion of your annuity. http://apps.opm.gov/tax_calc/index.cfm Read about how the tax free portion of your annuity is determined. Your retirement contributions are shown on the 1099R form we send you each January for tax filing purposes.  You can find information about computing the taxable portion of your annuity by going to IRS Publication 721 (Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits) on the Internal Revenue Service website.  Search for Publication 721 and refer to “Part II Rules for Retirees”.  You will find detailed information for disability and non-disability retirees, along with worksheets for computing the taxable portion. If your non-disability annuity started on/after July 2, 1986, a portion of each annuity payment is taxable and a portion is considered a tax-free recovery of your contributions to the retirement fund. If you retired under the disability provision, the disability annuity you receive from CSRS or FERS is taxable as wages until you reach minimum retirement age.  Your retirement contributions are shown on the 1099R form we send you each January for tax filing purposes. 
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  • In most cases, as soon as we get all of your retirement records, we provide interim payments. These payments represent a portion of your final benefit and are usually made on the first business day of each month. We try to provide you with income until we finish processing your application.
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  • It may take up to eight weeks to process a withdrawal after all properly completed withdrawal forms and separation data have been received by the TSP Service Office. Further, the TSP Service Office cannot process a withdrawal election until they receive an Employee Data Record from your payroll office indicating that you have separated. An unpaid TSP loan may delay disbursement of the TSP account balance. Your employer will provide you with information about your withdrawal options and the option to keep your money in the TSP.  If you choose not to withdraw your funds, in the event of your death the TSP Service Office would pay the funds based on your written designation form on file.  If you have not completed a designation form, payment would be made to your survivors as follows:
    • Widow or widower.
    • If none of the above, child or children and descendants of deceased children by representation.
    • If none of the above, retiree's parents or to the surviving parent.
    • If none of the above, the executor or administrator of the retiree's estate.
    • If none of the above, to any other of the retiree's next of kin who is entitled under the laws of the state in which the retiree resided at death.
    Read more about the Thrift Savings Program.
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  • Use Services Online to view your monthly annuity statement. This statement shows your current annuity payment, including the gross amount, up to 35 possible deductions or additions, and the net amount. The online statement reflects changes you made through the previous business day, unless the changes were made after the date for updating the monthly payment. Any changes you made after that date will be reflected in the statement for the next month's payment, when the change would be effective. Please refer to our payment schedule for information on the dates by which changes must be made in each month's payment. Your statement will also show required payment adjustments we make such as cost-of-living adjustments, health benefit premium changes, Federal income tax withholding table changes, and life insurance premium changes.
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  • If you have not already done so, you should choose your exact retirement date. Afterwards, your benefit can be estimated based on the exact date. The best place to obtain assistance is your agency's local personnel service center.   They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records.  They will provide you with information on when your benefit payments can begin based on your proposed retirement date.  You will also find out how this date affects factors used to determine the amount of your retirement benefit, such as your length of service, high-3 average salary, and the proration of cost-of-living adjustments.
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  • The basic Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuity cannot exceed 80 percent of your high-3 average salary, excluding your unused sick leave. Generally, you reach the 80 percent limitation when you have 41 years and 11 months of service, not including accumulated sick leave.   Fewer years of service may result in a computation that produces the maximum benefit under special computation formulas such as for law enforcement personnel. Your service beyond the years which provides the maximum benefit will not be used to compute your annuity.  Instead, we will automatically refund the retirement contributions you made during those years.  Interest is paid on this refund payment at the rate of three percent per year, compounded annually.  You can use the refund to purchase additional annuity, as if  the contributions and interest are voluntary contributions. However, if you have federal civilian employment periods when you did not contribute to either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), we automatically apply excess contributions toward any deposit due for these employment periods.
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  • If your agency undergoes a major reorganization, reduction in force, or transfer of function, and a significant percentage of the employees will be separated, or will be reduced in pay, the head of your agency can ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to permit early optional retirement for eligible employees. If your agency gets approval to permit early optional retirements, eligible employees will be notified of the opportunity to retire voluntarily. Information about Early Optional Retirement under CSRS is available here.  Information about Early Optional Retirement under FERS is available here.
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  • If you retired before December 9, 1980, your Basic life insurance will begin to reduce by 2 percent of the face value each month beginning with the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later. This reduction continues until your Basic life insurance reaches 25 percent of the face value. This coverage is free. If you retired on or after December 9, 1980, and before January 1, 1990, you elected one of the following reduction schedules for your Basic life insurance:
    • 75 percent reduction - If you elected this reduction schedule, your Basic life insurance will begin to reduce by 2 percent of the face value each month beginning with the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later. This reduction continues until your Basic life insurance reaches 25 percent of the face value. This coverage is free.
    • 50 percent reduction - If you elected this reduction schedule, your Basic life insurance will begin to reduce by 1 percent of the face value each month beginning with the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later. This reduction continues until your Basic life insurance reaches 50 percent of the face value. We withhold premiums for this coverage from your annuity beginning at retirement and continuing for life.
    • No Reduction - If you elected this reduction schedule, the full amount of your Basic life insurance remains in force after you reach age 65. We withhold premiums for this additional coverage from your annuity beginning at retirement and continuing for life.
    If you retire after December 31, 1989, you must elect one of the three reduction schedules described above when you retire. Regardless of which reduction schedule you elect, if you separate before age 65, until you are 65 you must also pay the same premium as employees for the Basic life insurance you continue into retirement. The amount of Option A - Standard insurance (formerly known as "Optional insurance") is $10,000 at retirement. If you retired before October 30, 1998, your Option A insurance may have been higher than $10,000. If you have this coverage, it will begin to reduce by 2 percent per month or $200, beginning the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later, until it reaches 25 percent of the face value or $2,500. We will withhold premiums for Option A insurance from your annuity through the end of the month in which you are 65, unless you elect to cancel this coverage. All annuitants with Option B - Additional insurance as of April 24, 1999, or later, are eligible to make an Option B reduction election. Those who are 65 or older at retirement will hear from us shortly after retirement. We will contact annuitants who retired before age 65 shortly before their 65th birthday. At that time, the annuitant may elect either Full Reduction or No Reduction for each separate multiple of Option B. For example, a person with five multiples may elect No Reduction on two multiples, while the three remaining multiples reduce fully. If you elect Full Reduction, effective the first day of the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later, your Option B full-reduction multiples will reduce by 2 percent of the face value per month for 50 months, at which time this coverage will end. We will withhold premiums for this coverage from your annuity through the month in which you reach age 65. If you elect to continue some or all of your Option B multiples with No Reduction, when you are 65 or at retirement, whichever is later, we will adjust the withholding for your Option B coverage to reflect the number of multiples you decided to retain at No Reduction. Any other multiples will start to reduce as described above. All annuitants who have Option C - Family insurance, and whose annuity commencing dates are April 24, 1999, or later, are eligible to make an Option C reduction election. Those who are 65 or older at retirement will hear from us shortly after retirement. We will contact annuitants who retired before age 65 shortly before their 65th birthday. At that time, the annuitant may elect either Full Reduction or No Reduction for each separate multiple of Option C. For example, a person with five multiples may elect No Reduction on two multiples, while the three remaining multiples reduce fully. If you elect Full Reduction, or if you separated for retirement before April 24, 1999, effective the first day of the second month after you reach age 65 or your retirement date, whichever is later, your Option C full-reduction multiples will reduce by 2 percent of the face value per month for 50 months, at which time this coverage will end. We will withhold premiums for this coverage from your annuity through the month in which you reach age 65. If you elect to continue some or all of your Option C multiples with No Reduction we will adjust the withholding for your Option C coverage to reflect the number of multiples you decided to retain at No Reduction. Any other multiples will start to reduce as described above. For more complete information about life insurance coverage as an annuitant, please check the life insurance pamphlet, Information for Retirees and Their Families: Federal Employees Group Life Insurance, RI 76-12.
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  • The survivor benefit you elected at retirement is no longer payable. A monthly survivor benefit would be payable to your former spouse after death if one is provided by court order or your new election. The following conditions must exist for your former spouse to receive a benefit:
    • You were married to your former spouse for at least nine months;
    • You performed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service;
    • Your former spouse to whom you were married less than 30 years has not remarried before age 55.
    Your annuity may be reduced if your former spouse was awarded a survivor annuity by a qualifying court order. If you retired on or after May 7, 1985, we will honor the terms of a court order that requires you to provide a survivor annuity for an eligible former spouse for a marriage dissolved on or after May 7, 1985. If you are divorced after retirement from a spouse to whom you were married at retirement, we will honor the court order to the extent that your annuity was reduced at retirement. If you did not elect a survivor annuity for that person at retirement, your annuity will not be reduced. If you retired before May 7, 1985, we will honor the terms of a qualifying court order that requires you to provide a survivor annuity for an eligible former spouse in connection with a marriage that was dissolved on or after May 7, 1985, but only if you were married to that person at retirement and elected to provide a survivor annuity at that time or your were married to that person at retirement and elected to provide a survivor annuity before May 7, 1985.
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  • You may continue your health insurance coverage only if you meet the following conditions:
    • Your annuity must begin within 30 days or, if you are retiring under the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) plus 10 provision of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), health and life insurance coverages are suspended until your annuity begins, even if it is postponed.
    • You must be covered for health insurance when you retire.
    • You must have been continuously covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, TRICARE, or the Civilian Health and Medical Program for Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS):
          • for five years immediately before retiring;or,
          • during all of your federal employment since your first opportunity to enroll;or,
          • continuously for full periods of service beginning with the enrollment that started before January 1, 1965, and ending with the date on which you become an annuitant, whichever is shortest.
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  • Use Services Online to sign up for direct deposit, or to change the account or bank where your payment is sent. You will need your claim number and Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use the self-service website. You will be asked whether your account is a savings or checking account and to provide your account number and the routing number for your financial institution (found next to your account number on the bottom of your check). You should contact your financial institution for assistance in getting the routing number if you are not sure. When you make a change, we will mail you confirmation of the change. You can also call us or write us to sign up for direct deposit or change your account or bank. If you write, your letter should include your claim number. You can also use this form to sign up for direct deposit. Or, you can submit a Standard Form 1199A, "Direct Deposit Sign Up Form," which is available at your bank. 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.
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  • This is a provision that allows you to retire with benefits beginning immediately if you have ten years of service and have reached the Minimum Retirement Age (at least 55). However, the annuity is reduced for each month you are under age 62. The reduction equals five percent per year (or 5/12 of one percent per month). To avoid the reduction, you can postpone payment. You can later apply for the benefit by writing to us or filing an "Application for Deferred or Postponed Retirement," Form RI 92-19. You should submit the form two months before you want the benefit to begin.
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  • State tax withholding cannot be withheld from interim annuity payments.  If you are in interim pay (your case has not been finalized), contact your State tax office for guidance. Once your annuity is finalized, 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 full name, 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. Not all States participate in the voluntary State tax withholding program.  Check our list of State tax offices for information about participating States. If your State does not participate, contact the State tax office for information or assistance.
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Total Count: 415, Number of Pages: 28, Page: 1
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