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Retirement FAQs

  • The law requires us to make payments by direct deposit to a checking or savings account at a financial institution. However, if receiving your payment in this manner would cause you financial hardship or a hardship due to disability or because of a barrier caused by location or a difficulty reading, you can continue to receive your payment by check. You can use this form [312 KB] to request payment by check instead of direct deposit.
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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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  • Your Official Personnel Folder should contain a record of all of your health benefits registration forms, Standard Form 2809, and, if appropriate, Standard Form 2810, Notice of Change in Health Benefits. Be sure that when you retire, your records will show a complete history of your health insurance enrollment for the last five years.
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  • Cost of living allowances are determined by Congress.  The amount and whether a COLA is given depends on legislation passed by Congress.
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  • When we approve your application for disability retirement, we may determine that based on your medical condition you will periodically have to provide us with current medical information in order to continue receiving benefits.
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  • You may receive a survivor annuity and a separate benefit that is based on your own service. Generally, if you are the surviving spouse of more than one retiree, you must elect one of the benefits. We cannot pay you two survivor annuities. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible for a widow or widower to receive more than one survivor annuity simultaneously. If, after age 55, you marry a Federal employee and you are again widowed, you may be eligible to receive annuities based on the service of both of your spouses.
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  • No. We have no authority to waive the requirements for continuing life insurance coverage. If you are not eligible to continue it, you will be given the chance to change it to an individual policy.
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  • Yes, but not under your family enrollment. There are two possible options for your former spouse to remain enrolled. First, all former spouses are eligible for a Temporary Continuation of Coverage enrollment that lasts for 36 months. Second, former spouses eligible for a monthly court-ordered benefit (either a portion of your monthly benefit, or a survivor benefit upon your death) are eligible for former spouse Federal health insurance. You may wish to review the health benefits information in the Attorney's Handbook or view additional information about Health Insurance.
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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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  • Both the personnel and payroll office in your agency and OPM are responsible for processing your annuity claim.
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  • Please refer to our answer about powers of attorney.
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  • Information on the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Correction Act can be found on OPM’s web site at www.opm.gov/retire/pre/fercca/index.asp.
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  • Participation is entirely voluntary, and requires the mutual consent of both the employee and employing agency.  In order to participate, an individual must have been employed on a full-time basis for the preceding three years.  Under CSRS, the individual must be eligible for immediate retirement with at least 30 years of service at age 55, or with 20 years of service at age 60.  Under FERS, the individual must be eligible for immediate retirement with at least 30 years of service at MRA (minimum retirement age 55-57 depending upon year of birth), or with 20 years of service at age 60.
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  • Generally, you must decide which benefit is most advantageous for you and elect to receive that one. If you decide you want to receive Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) benefits, payments from the Office of Personnel Management will be suspended. But, if your OWCP benefits stop, you can ask us to pay your disability benefit. You can receive an OWCP Scheduled Award and the Office of Personnel Management benefits at the same time. Contact us to tell us if you are awarded workers' compensation benefits and see if you need to make an election between benefits. Refer to the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) for additional information about workers' compensation benefits.
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  • Please refer to our answers about payment information.
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Total Count: 409, Number of Pages: 28, Page: 10
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