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Retirement FAQs Post-Retirement

  • When a benefit recipient signs up to receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, VA  or other federal benefits via the Direct Express® card, their payment will be automatically deposited to their Direct Express® card account on payment date. The card can be used to make purchases at stores that accept Debit MasterCard®, pay bills, purchase money orders for the U.S. Post Office, and get cash from an ATM or financial institution that displays the MasterCard® acceptance mark.   For instance, if the recipient’s benefit payment is $500 monthly:
    • On payment date, $500 is deposited directly to the card. There is nothing for the recipient to do. There are no fees for depositing the full amount to the card.
    • On that same day, if the recipient spends $100 at the grocery store using the Direct Express® card, $100 is automatically deducted from their balance. They now have $400 left on the card. There is no fee charged for using the card to make purchases. Throughout the month, as purchases are made, each purchase amount is deducted from the card account’s current balance (in this instance, $400).
    • If the card balance gets down to $0, the card will be denied for all future purchases until it is reloaded with next month’s benefit payment.
    • If the recipient only spends $250 in this month, the remaining $250 will be added to the next month’s $500 benefit payment. The recipient now has $750 on the card the next month.
      (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • If you are a surviving child of the enrollee and the enrollee also has a surviving spouse or child eligible to receive a CSRS or FERS survivor annuity benefit, you can be covered under the survivor annuitant’s  Self and Family enrollment until age 26. You can continue coverage beyond age 26 if you are incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 26.  If you are a surviving child of the enrollee who is eligible for a CSRS or FERS survivor annuity benefit and the enrollee has no other survivors, the enrollment will be changed to a self only enrollment in your name. You will be responsible for paying the premiums either by having them withheld from your survivor annuity or through direct billing.  You can continue this FEHB coverage until your survivor annuity ends at age 18, or age 22 if you are a full-time student.  You can continue coverage beyond age 18 if you are incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 18. Your coverage will continue for 31 days after eligibility ends, unless the enrollment is cancelled. During that time, you may enroll in Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) or convert to an individual policy offered by your FEHB plan.
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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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  • You are taxed on your gross annuity according to your most current W4-P tax marital status election on file. You can change your election at anytime. Go to www.servicesonline.opm.gov or email us at retire@opm.gov. Your 1099R will reflect a reduction in your gross annuity after your retirement application is finalized based on the amount of apportionment that you pay your former spouse. There will be a footnote on the 1099R stating the amount of the apportionment paid to your former spouse for the year. Because your annuity is subject to a court ordered apportionment, OPM does not calculate the taxable portion of your annuity. The 1099R will show ‘Unknown’ in the 2.b ‘Taxable Amount’ box.  You may wish to speak with a representative at the Internal Revenue Service or a tax advisor to help you calculate the tax-free portion of the calculation. Current tax tables for this year are available in Internal Revenue Publication 15. You may view this publication on line by accessing the IRS web site at www.irs.gov. You may also call the IRS toll free for tax advice at: 1-800-829-1040 (agent).  Your former spouse must report the amount of apportionment he/she receives as taxable income and is required to pay taxes on these funds. Apportionment monies cannot be used as alimony deductions on a tax return. Please note it is your responsibility to make sure enough federal income tax is withheld from your annuity and to check the amount of tax withheld early in the year to be sure you are paying the correct amount.
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  • If you are the survivor of a deceased retiree who was receiving military retired pay at the time of death, credit for military service cannot be included in your survivor annuity unless the retired pay was:
    • Based on an disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty; or
    • Granted under the provisions of Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code, for reserve retirement. This is formerly under Chapter 67, title 10.
    If you are the survivor of a deceased employee who was receiving military retired pay at the time of death, credit for military will be included in your survivor annuity unless you elect otherwise. However, if the military service is included in your survivor annuity, it will be reduced by the amount of your military survivor's benefit, excluding children's benefits. Post-56 Military Service Credited Under Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Rules- Military service performed on/after January 1, 1957 must be applied toward social security benefits. However, under certain circumstances, it may also be used to determine the amount of your Civil Service Retirement System survivor annuity. If your survivor annuity is based on service that ended before September 9, 1982, and you are eligible for social security benefits upon proper application, you will receive the greater of:
    • an annuity reduced by eliminating the credit for military service performed after December 31, 1956, or
    • an annuity reduced by the amount of the social security benefit attributable to the military service after December 31, 1956.
    If you are not eligible for social security benefits, your survivor annuity will not be reduced. If your survivor annuity is based on service that ended after September 8, 1982, use of the deceased's post-1956 military service to determine the amount of your survivor annuity depends on when the deceased was first covered by the Civil Service Retirement System and whether or not a deposit was made to cover the service. If the deceased was first employed under the retirement system before October 1, 1982, and no deposit was made, we cannot use the post-1956 military service if you are eligible for social security benefits. If the deceased was first employed under the retirement system on/after October 1, 1982, and no deposit was made for the post-1956 military service, we cannot use the post-1956 military service to determine the amount of your survivor annuity regardless of whether or not you are eligible for social security benefits. Post-56 Military Service Credited Under Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Rules- If the post-1956 military service is creditable under FERS rules, a post-1956 deposit must be paid in order to credit the service for eligibility for annuity and computation purposes. If your spouse retired under FERS and performed military service on/after January 1, 1957, his/her post-1956 military service was credited in their annuity if they paid a deposit for the service prior to retirement.   In this case, it will also be used to compute the amount of your survivor benefit.  If the deposit was not paid before your spouse retired, it will not be included in your annuity computation. If you are the survivor of a FERS employee who died while still employed, you must pay the deposit for the post-1956 military service in order to receive credit for any military service performed after 1956. If you are a survivor of a former FERS employee who was eligible for a deferred annuity at the time of death, but not yet receiving an annuity, you cannot pay the post-1956 military deposit to receive credit for the service.  The former employee must have paid the deposit before he/she separated from Federal employment. When Deposit Can Be Made for Post-1956 Military Service- The deposit for post-1956 military service must be made by the employee to his or her employing agency before retirement. A survivor may make the deposit if the employee died while working for the Federal Government.
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  • Unmarried children who are dependent upon the retiree may receive recurring monthly benefits. We consider a child dependent if he or she:
    • was born within marriage to the retiree:
    • is an adopted child who meets all of the following conditions:
      • the child lived with the deceased retiree, and
      • the deceased filed a petition to adopt the child, and
      • the child was adopted before the retiree’s death or by the surviving spouse after the retiree died;
    • is a stepchild or recognized child born out out-of-wedlock who was living with the retiree in a parent and child relationship when the retiree died; or
    • is a recognized child born out-of-wedlock for whom a judicial determination of support has been obtained.
    We consider the child dependent if there is proof that the deceased made regular and substantial contributions to the child's support. Refer to information about a child's continuing eligibility after age 18. See how the amount of children's benefits is determined.
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  • A monthly survivor annuity may be payable to a former spouse after the death of the employee or annuitant if it is provided by a court order or the annuitant's election. If the survivor annuity is based on an annuitant's election, the amount is determined in the same manner as the amount due a current surviving spouse. However, if the employee has remarried, this election may only be made if the current spouse consents to it. The amount of a court-ordered survivor annuity is based on the court order. A court order may provide the maximum survivor annuity, a lesser amount, or a fraction of the maximum survivor annuity.
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  • Your family enrollment covers yourself, your current husband or wife, and your eligible unmarried children under age 22.
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  • Yes. Cost-of-Living Adjustments are effective each December first. The adjustment appears in your January payment on the first business day of the month, 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. Also, under FERS, if you have a CSRS component, the component is subject to the CSRS COLA. Read about Cost-of-Living Adjustments for those who receive benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System, Organization and Disability Retirement System (ORDS), the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), or FERS Special.
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  • If deceased died while covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS): If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased employee, recurring monthly payments may be made to you if your spouse completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service and was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). To qualify for the monthly benefit, you must have been married to the employee for at least nine months. A survivor annuity may still be payable if the employee's death occurred before nine months if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the employee. If deceased died while covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS): If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased employee who was covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you may be eligible for one or both of the following benefits- Basic Employee Death Benefit
    • If the employee who died completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service, and
    • The employee who died was covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) when he/she died, and
    • You were married to the employee for at least nine months (if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the employee, the nine month requirement does not apply).
    Monthly Benefit
    • The employee who died completed at least 10 years of creditable service (18 months of which must be creditable civilian service), and
    • The employee who died was covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) when he/she died, and
    • You were married to the employee for at least nine months (if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the employee, the nine month requirement does not apply.)
    If a former spouse was awarded part of the total survivor CSRS or FERS annuity, you will receive the remainder. If the former spouse loses entitlement because of death or remarriage before age 55, you may begin to receive the full annuity. If the employee's death was job-related, workers' compensation benefits may be payable. See how the amount of the monthly survivor benefit is determined.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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Total Count: 160, Number of Pages: 11, Page: 5
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