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An official website of the United States Government.

Retirement FAQs

FERCCA

  • You can get more information about TSP by visiting www.tsp.gov.
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  • An actuarial reduction allows you to receive benefit without having to pay an amount due in a lump sum. OPM reduces your annuity in a way that, on average, allows the Retirement Fund to recover the amount of the missing lump sum over your lifetime. The actuarial reduction becomes a permanent reduction in your benefit. The amount of the actuarial reduction depends on your age and the amount of the lump sum you would otherwise have to pay at the time you retire. To compute an actuarial reduction, OPM divides the lump sum amount by the present value factor for your age at retirement.
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  • It depends on when you withdrew your TSP contributions and the kind of withdrawal you made. You can make an election under FERCCA if you:
    • Separated from Government service after your agency corrected your records—but you did not retire—and the TSP automatically paid your account balance to you because it was $3,500 or less;
    • Retired and withdrew your TSP contributions; or
    • Received a financial hardship in-service withdrawal, or a TSP loan.
    You cannot make an election under FERCCA if you:
    • Separated from Government service after your agency corrected your records—but you did not retire—and you withdrew your TSP contributions. This does not include the TSP automatic payment described above; or
    • Received an age-based in-service withdrawal from your TSP account while employed.
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  • Under OPM regulations your agency makes retirement coverage decisions. OPM sends the letter to your agency so that your agency can review the information. Once your agency reviews the letter and confirms our findings, they send a final decision letter to you. The decision from your agency that your retirement coverage is correct, in other words that you are ineligible for relief under FERCCA, may be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), if you choose to do so.
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  • You can find more information about Social Security benefits at www.ssa.gov.
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  • I am a retiree registered in the FERCCA Database and recently received a letter from OPM informing me that I am ineligible for relief under FERCCA. The letter also included a form that I could fill out and send to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to appeal the decision. What is the MSPB and what does it have to do with FERCCA? The MSPB is an independent quasi-judicial agency in the Executive Branch that serves as the guardian of Federal Merit Systems. Since it began operations in January 1979, its mission has been to ensure that Federal employees are protected against abuses by agency management; that Executive Branch agencies make employment decisions in accordance with Merit System principles; and that Federal Merit Systems are kept free of prohibited personnel practices. The MSPB accomplishes its mission in a variety of ways, but mainly it functions as a court and adjudicates Federal employee appeals of agency personnel actions. Consequently, the MSPB is the authority that will hear appeals on eligibility verification arising out of cases of erroneous retirement coverage.
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  • Your agency shouldn't do anything if your error lasted for at least 3 years of Federal service. We have asked agencies to stop processing those retirement coverage corrections until we can work out the details necessary to implement FERCCA. Please be assured that any delay in correcting your records will not adversely affect you.
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  • Actually, you're probably better off in CSRS Offset because you're earning benefits under both Social Security and CSRS. Your combined benefits under Social Security and CSRS Offset will be at least the same as, if not more than, what you would have received under Social Security and CSRS if your record had not been corrected. While working, you are earning retirement credits under the relatively generous CSRS formula. You also are adding to any Social Security benefits you have already earned, increasing your career earnings under Social Security and, as a result, your Social Security benefit. When you retire, OPM will compute your CSRS Offset benefit under the same rules that apply to other CSRS retirees. When you become eligible for Social Security benefits, OPM will reduce your benefit. This reduction is based on the value of the Social Security benefit you earned during your CSRS Offset service. In other words, instead of getting one check from OPM for all of your Federal service, some of the payment will come from the Social Security Administration. In addition, with more of your retirement income paid from Social Security, you have an increased tax advantage because part, or all, of your Social Security benefit will be exempt from Federal income tax. Only a small portion of a CSRS, or CSRS Offset, benefit is exempt from Federal income tax.
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  • Your agency shouldn't do anything if your error lasted for at least 3 years of Federal service. We have asked agencies to stop processing those retirement coverage corrections until we can work out the details necessary to implement FERCCA. Please be assured that any delay in correcting your records will not adversely affect you.
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  • You can go ahead and process any error that lasted for less than 3 years of service after December 31, 1986 with one exception. If the error is one where the employee was erroneously put in FERS during the time that the employee could have voluntarily elected FERS (these are sometimes called "deemed FERS" errors), then you should not correct these types of errors. Do not correct the deemed FERS errors even if the error lasted for less than 3 years of service. In the coming months, OPM will issue detailed instructions for correcting each type of error that is affected by FERCCA. Please do not begin correcting coverage errors affected by FERCCA until you receive OPM's instructions.
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  • No. The Social Security Law also includes a provision -- the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) -- that reduces Social Security benefits for individuals who have less than 30 years of "substantial earnings" under Social Security and who have earned a retirement benefit from employment not covered by Social Security; for example, CSRS service. The WEP was designed to eliminate the "windfall" that could result if you were to receive a CSRS annuity based on many years of employment not covered by Social Security and also receive a full Social Security benefit because you had a few years of employment covered under Social Security. The WEP, however, never totally eliminates the Social Security benefit you have earned. For example, in 2001, the maximum amount the WEP can decrease a Social Security benefit is $280.50 per month. For more information, see SSA's The Windfall Elimination Provision at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html.
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  • If an employee, former employee, or retiree would have had a choice under FERCCA but died before making an election, then the survivor can make that election instead.
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  • No, you don't get a second choice. Certain employees who were put in FERS by mistake could choose to stay in FERS when the agency discovered the error. If they declined FERS, the agency placed them in the correct retirement plan (CSRS, CSRS Offset, or Social Security only). If you already had this opportunity to choose between FERS and CSRS, CSRS Offset, or Social Security only; then FERCCA does not give you an opportunity to change your decision. FERCCA may help you, however. If you worked for the Government before you came under a retirement plan, you may be able to get retirement credit for that service by taking an actuarial reduction in your retirement benefit instead of having to pay a deposit. The same may be true for any military service you have. See the questions under the heading Service Credit for more information.   Also, if you were in FERS for at least 3 years of service before your agency gave you an opportunity to stay in FERS or have your records corrected, OPM may compensate you for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred because of the error. See the questions under the heading Out of Pocket Expenses for more information.
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  • When you retire, OPM will compute your CSRS Offset benefit under the same rules that apply to other CSRS retirees. But, because you are now eligible for Social Security benefits, OPM will reduce your benefit. This reduction is based on the value of the Social Security benefit you earned during your CSRS Offset service. In other words, instead of getting one check from OPM for all of your Federal service, some of the payment will come from the Social Security Administration.
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  • You may not have a choice about Social Security coverage. If you should have had Social Security coverage during your Federal employment, then you must have Social Security coverage in addition to your Federal retirement coverage. FERCCA does not allow you to choose a retirement plan without Social Security coverage. If you were incorrectly put in CSRS when you should have been put in CSRS Offset, your retirement coverage must be corrected to CSRS Offset. Likewise, if you were incorrectly put in CSRS Offset when you should have been put in CSRS, your retirement coverage must be corrected to CSRS because you are not eligible for Social Security coverage during your Federal employment. You cannot choose to keep your Social Security coverage. However, Social Security will give you credit for all but the last 3 years before your record was corrected. See the question I should have been CSRS. Instead, I paid into Social Security. What happens to the Social Security taxes I paid when my agency corrects my retirement coverage to CSRS? for more information. If you were erroneously put in FERS and should have been put in CSRS, then you will have a chance to choose whether you want to keep FERS (and Social Security) coverage.
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Total Count: 150, Number of Pages: 10, Page: 8
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