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Retirement FAQs

FERCCA

  • Your current employing agency will correct the records in accordance with OPM instructions. If an employing agency no longer exists as an organization, and there is no successor agency, then OPM will correct the records.
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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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  • We at OPM have set up a plan to help everyone who is entitled to relief by FERCCA. The plan includes:
    • Identifying individuals and adding their names to the FERCCA File Database (See the question What is the FERCCA File Database?);
    • Gathering information on those individuals from personnel and payroll records and other sources;
    • Verifying options under FERCCA; and
    • Helping individuals who have a choice of retirement plans make informed decisions
    Our goal is to ensure that everyone receives the same high level of customer service. If you have a choice of retirement plans under FERCCA, you'll receive an in-depth comparison of your benefits under each option. The comparison will include how much you can expect to receive under each retirement plan, including Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan benefits. We will provide you with an opportunity for one-on-one personal assistance to help you weigh your options. This individual assistance will be available to anyone who has a choice of retirement plans under FERCCA. We are working with agencies to implement this high level of service as quickly as possible. Agencies are busy identifying eligible individuals. We have also started the second step, collecting personnel and payroll records.
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  • No matter which retirement plan you elect, your annuity will be computed as if you were properly placed under CSRS, CSRS Offset or FERS on the effective date of your retirement coverage error. All the eligibility and benefit computation rules for the particular retirement system will apply to the calculation of your retirement benefit.
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  • All individuals who are registered in the FERCCA Database before September 19, 2002, will not be adversely affected by the time limits for making an election.   In general, if your qualifying retirement coverage error was previously corrected, the time limit for making an election expires on September 19, 2002. However, your employing agency or OPM (for separated employees, retirees, and survivors) can waive the time limit if it's determined that you exercised due diligence, but could not make an election within the time limit because of circumstances beyond your control. OPM will issue instructions to agencies stating that anyone registered in the FERCCA Database before September 19, 2002, will be considered to have exercised due diligence and should be granted a waiver of the time limit.   If your qualifying retirement coverage error was not previously corrected, you will have 6 months to make an election from the date you receive notice of the error and a statement of your election options.
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  • No, there is no additional cost to you. However, if you choose FERS, you may elect to make additional TSP contributions (known as make-up contributions). These are contributions that you could have made if you had been correctly covered by FERS. Of course, you're the one who chooses how much additional contributions you want to make.
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  • The Government Pension Offset is part of the Social Security Law that reduces spouse or survivor Social Security benefits for certain individuals who are also entitled to a Federal Government pension. If you retire from the Federal service under CSRS and are also eligible for Social Security benefits as a spouse, former spouse or survivor, your Social Security benefit will be reduced. It is reduced because you are receiving a pension from the Federal Government based on earnings that are not covered by Social Security. For every $3 you receive from your CSRS annuity, your Social Security spousal benefit is reduced by $2. For more information, see SSA's publication, Government Pension Offset at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html.
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  • You must file the appeal with the MSPB within 30 calendar days after the date you receive the decision letter.
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  • No, there is no time limit. Everyone involved will work on collecting the missing information until it is resolved.
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  • FERCCA allows OPM to compensate individuals for certain expenses and losses related to correction of a retirement coverage error. OPM will issue detailed guidance regarding the specific types of expenses and losses that will be compensated. You will receive our guidance as soon as it is available if you are registered on the FERCCA File Database.
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  • FERCCA does not give you 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. You have no choice. If your agency incorrectly put you in CSRS when it should have put you in CSRS Offset, it must correct your retirement coverage to CSRS Offset. You will not be able to get the full amount of the refund you were expecting. Your previous agency should have sent the Social Security Administration a record of your earnings during all the years you should have had Social Security coverage. All of the CSRS contributions you made during those years that are not needed to cover your retirement costs were transferred to Social Security. Your refund was based on the retirement contributions that should have been withheld from your pay. It did not include amounts that were properly withheld, but erroneously considered retirement deductions rather than Social Security taxes.
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  • If you have received notification that you are eligible for FERCCA relief (a Letter of Eligibility), processing of your case will continue in order to develop an Election Summary package. This package will be mailed to you and followed soon thereafter by a telephone call from a counselor who will confirm that you received the package, had sufficient time to review it, and who will be prepared to answer any questions that you have about the information in the package and what the next steps are to complete the process.
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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 excluded from Federal income tax.
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  • Everyone born in 1929 or later needs 40 credits to be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. Since you can earn 4 credits per year, you need at least 10 years of work that subject to Social Security to become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. When you work in a job that is subject to Social Security, your wages are posted to your Social Security record and you receive earnings credits based on those wages. The Social Security Administration uses these credits to determine your eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits and for disability or survivors benefits if you should become disabled or die. Each year, the amount of earnings needed for a credit rises as the average earnings levels rise. In 2001, you receive 1 credit for each $830 of earnings, up to the maximum of 4 credits per year.
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  • Allow a reasonable time for your agency to provide you with an official notice of the decision. If they fail to contact you in a reasonable amount of time feel free to contact them.
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Total Count: 150, Number of Pages: 10, Page: 9
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