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Retirement FAQs

  • Voluntary contributions are payments made to the retirement fund in addition to the deductions that are withheld from pay. You can make these contributions only if you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and do not owe a deposit for a period of time when deductions were not withheld from your pay. To make voluntary contributions, you should submit a Standard Form 2804 to your employer. You can make voluntary contributions in multiples of $25. Total contributions cannot exceed 10 percent of your pay. You can purchase additional annuity of $7 per year for each $100 of voluntary contributions, plus 20 cents for each full year you are over age 55 when you retire. By electing to take a reduction in the additional annuity, you can also purchase additional annuity for a surviving spouse who may receive a benefit after your death. Interest is paid on voluntary contributions at the rate of three percent annually until December 31, 1984. After that date, a variable interest rate is compounded annually on December 31st until service ends or a refund is paid. View the table of variable interest rates.
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  •   If your 1099R Statement Box 2.a for the Taxable Amount is marked as 'Unknown'; this means that OPM did not calculate the tax-free portion of your annuity.  The most common reasons for not calculating the tax-free portion of your annuity:   Your case is a Disability Retirement You retired prior to November 19, 1996 You have Voluntary Contributions, an apportionment was paid to your former spouse(s) Your case has not been finalized and you are in Interim pay status You have Survivor benefits payable and/or Your case is an Office of Workers Compensation case.
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  • If you are still working, submit it to your employer. If you have been separated from federal service for more than 30 days, submit your application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
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  • Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you will be given the opportunity to pay for temporary service prior to January 1, 1989. Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), if you had service on/after October 1, 1982, for which no contributions were made, we will give you the opportunity to pay the contributions, and will tell you what difference it makes to your monthly benefit. If you had unpaid service prior to October 1, 1982, we do not notify you before we finish processing your application because it generally is not to your advantage to make the payment.
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  • Cost-of-Living Adjustments are effective each December first. The adjustment appears in your payment on the first business day of January, which is when your benefit for December is paid. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and FERS Special Cost-of-Living Adjustments are not provided until age 62, except for disability, survivor benefits, and other special provision retirements. FERS disability retirees get the adjustment, except when they are receiving a disability annuity based on 60 percent of their high-3 average salary. Also, under FERS, if you have a CSRS component, the component is subject to the CSRS COLA calculation.
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  • A court order following annulment of marriage, legal separation, or divorce can divide or apportion your annuity. The order must expressly direct OPM to pay a portion of your monthly benefit. The spouse's share must be stated as a fixed amount, a percentage or fraction of your annuity, or by a formula with a readily apparent value. The amount cannot exceed the money payable to you after deductions for taxes and insurance. A court order may provide for payment of all or part of a refund of your retirement contributions. It may also block the refund payment, but only if the order directs us not to pay the refund and grants a survivor annuity or a portion of your annuity to a legally separated current spouse or former spouse.
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  • Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset program, a survivor annuity for your spouse is computed in the same manner as a survivor annuity would be computed based on full CSRS coverage. However, under CSRS-Offset, your spouse's annuity may be reduced if he or she is eligible for social security benefits based on your federal service. If he or she is not eligible for social security benefits, the civil service annuity is not reduced. See additional information about death benefits.
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  • Refer to information about payments and about address and withholding changes.
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  • If you need to contact us before you receive your claim number, first contact your former payroll office to find the date your records were transferred to OPM. Your payroll office should provide you with the number and date of the Register of Separations and Transfers. You will also need your Payroll Identification Number.
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  • Many forms are available at www.opm.gov/forms.  Most forms that active employees and annuitants will need are Standard Forms (SF) or Retirement and Insurance forms. If you need a replacement CSA 1099R statement, you can download from the Services Online site. You will need your CSA or CSF number and password. Or, you can call us at (888) 767-6738.  Or, you can send us an email at retire@opm.gov.  If you have questions or need additional assistance, please send an email to formsmanager@opm.gov.
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  • Yes. If you are under age 60, your benefit will stop if:
    1. you are found to be medically recovered from your disabling condition;
    2. in any calendar year your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay from the position you retired from (This is also known as a restoration to earning capacity.); or
    3. you are reemployed in the Federal service in a position equivalent to what you held at retirement. (This is called administratively recovered.)
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  • You can use voluntary contributions you made while working under the Civil Service Retirement System to purchase additional annuity when you retire or you can withdraw the contributions in a one-time payment. You can purchase additional annuity of $7 per year for each $100 of voluntary contributions, plus 20 cents for each full year you are over age 55 when you retire. By electing to take a reduction in the additional annuity, you can also purchase additional annuity for a surviving spouse who may receive a benefit after your death. Most people want to withdraw their voluntary contributions in a one-time payment. If the amount of the voluntary contributions, plus interest, is more than $200, you can roll the funds into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other qualified retirement plan to defer income tax. If you want to withdraw your voluntary contributions, you should submit either a Form RI 38-124 or Standard Form 2802 with the statement in item number seven, "I want only my voluntary contributions to be refunded to me." You can get these forms from your employer. You should submit your request at least 60 days before your expected retirement.
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  • You can reduce your premiums by reducing your coverage. However, if you reduce coverage, you cannot increase it again at a later date. See our answer to a frequently asked question about coverage after age 65 and our web pages at http://www.opm.gov/insure/life/index.asp to obtain more information about the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program. To change your coverage, write us.
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  • Yes. If your disability benefit stopped because you were found recovered either medically or administratively, your benefit can resume only if the disability recurs and you do not exceed the 80 percent earnings limitation. If your disability benefit stopped merely because you exceeded the earnings limitation, your benefit can resume effective the first of the year after you no longer exceed the 80 percent earnings limit.
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  • You should call us at (202) 606-0222. If we do not have a court order for child support, alimony, or bankruptcy, you can send a facsimile to us at (202) 606-7958 when a garnishment is involved. We need a certified copy of the court order and other supporting documents when an apportionment or survivor annuity is involved.
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Total Count: 415, Number of Pages: 28, Page: 8
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