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An official website of the United States Government.

Retirement FAQs

FERCCA

  • Send your request by e-mail to screceipts@opm.gov and a response will be returned by e-mail.  Be sure to include your name, date of birth and CSD Claim Number.
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  • When a benefit recipient signs up to receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, VA  or other federal benefits via the Direct Express® card, their payment will be automatically deposited to their Direct Express® card account on payment date. The card can be used to make purchases at stores that accept Debit MasterCard®, pay bills, purchase money orders for the U.S. Post Office, and get cash from an ATM or financial institution that displays the MasterCard® acceptance mark.   For instance, if the recipient’s benefit payment is $500 monthly:
    • On payment date, $500 is deposited directly to the card. There is nothing for the recipient to do. There are no fees for depositing the full amount to the card.
    • On that same day, if the recipient spends $100 at the grocery store using the Direct Express® card, $100 is automatically deducted from their balance. They now have $400 left on the card. There is no fee charged for using the card to make purchases. Throughout the month, as purchases are made, each purchase amount is deducted from the card account’s current balance (in this instance, $400).
    • If the card balance gets down to $0, the card will be denied for all future purchases until it is reloaded with next month’s benefit payment.
    • If the recipient only spends $250 in this month, the remaining $250 will be added to the next month’s $500 benefit payment. The recipient now has $750 on the card the next month.
      (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • People who will be applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, should be ready to sign up for direct deposit when they apply for federal benefits and understand what information they should have on-hand to sign up. This will ensure they get their benefit payments in the safest, most reliable way possible.  
    • To get benefit payments by direct deposit into an existing financial institution account, people should be prepared with the following information for a smooth enrollment:
      • Account type: checking or savings
      • Account number
      • Financial institution’s routing number
     
    • To sign up for the Direct Express® card, people should notify their federal benefit agency at the time they apply for benefits. Once approved for federal benefits, they will receive their Direct Express® card and an information packet in the mail.
    People who currently receive federal benefits by paper check, should make the switch today to get their money a safer, more reliable way immediately.   If the benefit recipient has a bank or credit union account, he/she should sign up for direct deposit at www.GoDirect.org, by calling (800) 333-1795, or by visiting their local bank/credit union branch or federal benefit agency office.   Those who prefer a prepaid debit card can sign up for the Direct Express® card by calling toll-free (800) 333-1795, signing up online at www.GoDirect.org, or by contacting their local federal benefit agency office. No bank account or credit check is required to sign up for the card.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • Electronic payments, which allow for the exchange of funds through paperless methods, are safer, easier and more reliable than paper checks. Direct deposit is the electronic transfer of a payment from a company or organization into an individual's checking or savings account. When a recipient gets their federal benefit payment electronically, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sends an electronic message to their bank or credit union account or to their Direct Express® card account crediting their account with the exact amount of their benefit. The difference is, a check isn’t printed or mailed. The government and businesses use direct deposit to transfer millions of dollars every day.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • The Treasury Department is fully committed to helping Americans be prepared for and make the transition to the electronic payment of federal benefits. The Treasury Department has launched the Go Direct public education campaign to communicate with Americans about the new electronic payments requirement. The campaign will do so with the help of nearly 1,800 national, local and regional partner organizations, as well as through events, media coverage, print materials and the Internet. Campaign materials and websites in English and Spanish also are available at www.GoDirect.org and www.DirectoASuCuenta.org.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • Most services are free. There is no cost to sign up for the card and there are no monthly fees or overdraft fees. While there are fees for a limited number of optional transactions, it is possible to use the card for free.   Free services include:
    • Purchases at retail locations. 
    • Cash back with purchases.
    • Optional notification by phone, email or text message of deposits.
    • Optional low balance alert when account balance falls below a certain level.
    • Access to the website 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    • Unlimited balance inquiries at ATMs, by phone or online.
    • Access to the toll-free customer service number 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    • Cash withdrawals through bank or credit union tellers.
    • One free replacement card per year.
    • One free ATM cash withdrawal for each deposit posted to the card account each month, provided that one of the approximately 50,000 surcharge-free network ATMs is used.
      Optional services available for a fee include
    • More than one ATM withdrawal per deposit ($0.90 per withdrawal).
    • ATM owner fees called "surcharge fees" may apply if one of the approximately 50,000 surcharge-free network ATMs is not used.
    • Mailing a monthly paper statement ($0.75 per month).
    • Transfer of money from the card account to a personal United States bank account ($1.50).
    • Card replacement after one free replacement card per year ($4.00 per card). If you request expedited delivery, there is an additional charge of $13.50. There is no additional charge for standard delivery.
    • Purchases at merchant locations or ATM cash withdrawals outside of the United States.
    Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information on fees and the surcharge-free network.
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  • The Go Direct campaign launched in 2005 as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's and the Federal Reserve Banks' effort to increase the use of electronic payments for federal benefits and to reduce the use of paper checks for federal benefit payments. With the help of organization partners, media and events, the campaign educates Americans by providing the tools and resources they need to enroll in, or transition to, electronic federal benefit payments.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • People who do not choose an electronic payment option at the time they apply for federal benefits or by March 1, 2013, will receive their payments via the Direct Express® card so they will not experience any interruption in payment.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • Yes. The Direct Express® card is a safe, no- or low-cost electronic alternative. No bank or credit union account or credit check is required to enroll. Cardholders can make purchases, pay bills and get cash. This also is an option for those who prefer a prepaid debit card recommended by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Many card services are free, including:  
    • Purchases at retail locations
    • Cash back at retailers at the point of sale
    • Optional notification by phone, email or text message of deposits
    • Optional low-balance alert when account balance falls below a certain level
    • Balance inquiries at ATMs, by phone or online
    • Access to the toll-free customer service number or website 24 hours a day, seven days a week
    • One (1) ATM cash withdrawal in the United States for each deposit posted to the account. ATM owner surcharges may apply at ATMs outside the Direct Express® card surcharge free network.
      (Visit www.GoDirect.org for information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • If the recipient is already receiving his/her federal benefit payments electronically, this change will not affect them.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • The Direct Express® card provides the advantages of direct deposit without requiring a bank account or credit check and is an option for those who prefer a prepaid debit card recommended by the Treasury Department:  
    • Fast and Easy –Federal benefit payments go straight into the Direct Express® card account on payment day each month. There’s no need to wait for the mail to arrive or to make a special trip to cash a check.
    • Safe – There’s no risk of lost or stolen checks, no need to carry large amounts of cash, and card account balances are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to the maximum allowed by law.
    • Convenient – Use the card to make everyday purchases everywhere Debit MasterCard® is accepted. Make purchases, pay bills, buy money orders and get cash at thousands of locations nationwide. Use the card 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
      (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • The Go Direct campaign has been involved with many of the most significant financial literacy efforts currently in force across the country, including:
    • The Bank On Program
    • FDIC Alliance for Economic Inclusion
    • FDIC Money Smart Curriculum
    • Money Smart Week
      In addition, during the campaign’s long tenure it has developed relationships with local financial literacy coalition leaders, positioning the Go Direct campaign as a dependable community financial education resource in communities around the country.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • No, the Joint Committee sequestration will not stop delivery of FERS and CSRS annuity checks.  These monthly retirement benefits checks will continue to be issued. 
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  • CSRS Offset is the Civil Service Retirement System with Social Security Offset. It is the same as CSRS, except that is coordinated with Social Security. CSRS Offset was created in 1987 and generally applies to employees who had a break in Federal service after 1983 that lasted longer than 1 year and had at least 5 years of civilian service as of January 1, 1987. It also applies to employees who were hired into a civilian job before 1984, but did not acquire retirement coverage until after 1984 and had at least 5 years of service as of January 1, 1987. CSRS Offset employees are covered by both CSRS and Social Security. You earn retirement credit under CSRS, while also earning credits under Social Security. When you retire from the Government, your retirement benefit is computed in the same way that CSRS benefits are computed. However, when you become eligible for Social Security benefits (usually at age 62), your CSRS retirement benefit is reduced, or offset, by the value of the Social Security benefit you earned while working for the Government. The amount CSRS Offset employees pay for retirement the same amount that CSRS employees pay, however it is reduced, or offset, by Social Security taxes (6.2 % of pay). Agencies contribute a set amount (7% for most employees) to CSRS Offset. Just like CSRS employees, CSRS Offset employees are also are allowed to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan and currently may contribute up to 6% of basic pay, without a Government contribution.
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  • FERS stands for the Federal Employees Retirement System. FERS became effective in 1987 and most new Federal civilian employees hired after 1983 are automatically covered by FERS. FERS is a three-tiered retirement plan. The three components are the:
    • FERS Basic Benefit
    • Social Security Benefit
    • Thrift Savings Plan Benefit
    Most FERS employees pay 0.8% of basic pay for FERS basic benefits. The agency contributes 10.7% or more to FERS. The FERS basic benefit provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits and may be reduced for early retirement or to provide survivor protection. The FERS basic benefit is computed based on your length of service and the highest average basic pay you earned during any 3 consecutive years of service (know as the "high-3" average pay). Generally, the FERS basic benefit is 1% of your high-3 average pay times your years of creditable service.   FERS employees can currently contribute up to 11% of basic pay to the Thrift Savings Plan. An automatic Government contribution adds 1% of basic pay to every FERS employee's TSP account. The Government adds up to another 4% of basic pay, depending on how much the employee chooses to contribute.
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Total Count: 150, Number of Pages: 10, Page: 1
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