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Retirement FAQs

  • If you contributed to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you will get interest on the refund of those contributions if you worked more than one year. Interest is paid at the same rate that is paid for government securities. See the variable interest rates. If you contributed to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) while you worked, interest will be included in the refund of those contributions if you have more than one but less than five years of service. Interest is paid at three percent.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • If you get married after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse. You must make this election within two years of the date of your marriage. Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), you can elect any portion of your annuity as a basis for the survivor benefit payable in the event of your death. Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), a full benefit is 50 percent of your unreduced annual basic annuity and a partial benefit is 25 percent of your unreduced annual basic annuity. If you remarry the same person to whom you were married at retirement, you cannot elect a survivor annuity greater than the one you elected at retirement. There will be two reductions in your annuity if you elect to provide the survivor benefit. One will be the reduction to provide the survivor benefit. The first reduction depends the amount you elect for the survivor annuity. Your annuity is also reduced by a permanent actuarial reduction equal to the difference between the new annuity rate with the survivor benefit and the old one without the survivor benefit since your retirement, plus 6 percent interest. In most cases, the actuarial reduction amount is less than 5 percent of your annuity. The actuarial reduction continues even if the marriage ends. When you contact us, we will send you a statement describing the cost of the election and ask you to confirm your election.
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  • At your request, using the form SSA-7004, the Social Security Administration will send you a Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement (PEBES) that will list your earnings from employment covered by Social Security and provide a Social Security benefit estimate assuming retirement at alternative ages, 62, 65, and 70. You should contact your local Social Security office to determine the effect of the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision on your Social Security benefits.
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  • 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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  • To understand the concept of Phased Retirement, consider two half-time employees who fill one full-time job.  Employee one retires while employee two continues working.  Employee one receives an annuity based on half-time employment, and employee two continues to work half-time for half-pay.  Eventually, employee two retires, and receives an annuity based upon half-time service, including credit for the time worked after employee one retired.  Now assume that employee one and employee two are the same person.  That is in essence how Phased Retirement operates.  While there are additional computational details, these are the basics.  At entry into Phased Retirement, the employee’s annuity will be completed as if fully retired and then divided by two.  That annuity would be paid while the individual worked a half time schedule receiving half pay.  When the Phased Retiree fully retires, there will be a computation of the annuity that would be payable if the employee had been employed full time and then divided by two prior to adjustment for survivor benefits.  That amount would then be added to the original Phased Retirement Annuity, and that combined amount would then provide the basis for survivor annuity adjustment and benefits. The individual’s income during partial and full retirement appropriately reflects the individual’s situation.  During the partial retirement period, the income will be between full retirement and full employment, and the Phased Retiree would be increasing their lifetime retirement income.  At the time of full retirement, the individual would be appropriately compensated for the value of both full-time and part-time service, with an annuity greater than if they had fully retired at the time of transition to Phased Retirement, but less than if the individual had continued employment on a full-time basis during the period of Phased Retirement.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • When you become eligible for Social Security, your military service after 1956 will be used in the computation of your Social Security. Unless you paid a deposit, prior to retirement, for your military service after 1956, it will no longer count toward your retirement benefit. However, if you did pay the deposit, no adjustment to your retirement benefit is made at age 62.
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  • That depends on when you worked and whether you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Make a selection from the list of circumstances below which best describes your situation and ask your local personnel service center for assistance because they have your employment records.
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Total Count: 409, Number of Pages: 28, Page: 8
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