Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.

Retirement FAQs Pre-Retirement

General

  • In the coming months, OPM will be providing agencies and employees with detailed information about FERCCA, the different retirement plans, and how you make an election. OPM wants to make sure that you receive complete counseling about your options before you make your election. Once you make your election, you cannot change it. OPM will contact you and provide you with detailed information regarding your options under FERCCA. For example, you will know how much you can expect to receive under each retirement plan, including Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan benefits. You do not have to make an election until you have had the opportunity to ask all questions you have about your retirement benefits. We at OPM realize that some of you may be postponing retirement or other major events until your retirement coverage error is resolved. While we will provide election information and benefits counseling as soon as possible, we will make special provisions for those individuals who need to make an election immediately.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If your retirement coverage error was corrected in the past, you have until September 19, 2002, to make your election. Your agency and OPM have the authority to waive this deadline. If you are currently in the wrong retirement plan, you must receive written notice of the error and of your options under FERCCA. If you qualify to choose another retirement plan, you have 6 months from the date you are notified of the error to make your election.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • TSP stands for the Thrift Savings Plan. The TSP is an important benefit designed to help you save for your future. The TSP is comparable to a private-sector tax-deferred 401(k) plan. You can participate in the TSP if you are covered by FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset. The TSP offers all participants:
    • Tax deferral on contributions
    • A choice of 5 investment funds
    • A loan program
    • In-service withdrawals for financial hardship or after age 59
    • A choice of post-separation withdrawal options
    • The ability to transfer money from other eligible retirement savings plans into your TSP account
    The TSP is especially important for FERS employees because it is one of three parts of your retirement coverage. Beginning July 1, 2001, FERS employees can contribute as much as 11% of basic pay each pay period, up to the IRS annual limit. (The IRS limit for 2001 is $10,500.) As a FERS employee, you can receive 2 types of agency contributions to your TSP account, which together can equal as much as 5 percent of your basic pay.
    1. Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions. When you become eligible, your agency automatically deposits into your TSP account an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay each pay period, even if you do not contribute your own money. After 3 years of Federal civilian service (or 2 years in some cases), you are vested in these contributions and their earnings.
    2. Agency Matching Contributions. When you become eligible, your agency will match the first 3% of basic pay you contribute each pay period dollar for dollar. Each dollar of the next 2% of basic pay will be matched 50 cents on the dollar. You are immediately vested in the matching contributions.
    CSRS employees do not receive any Government contributions in their TSP accounts. However, CSRS employees can still take advantage of the TSP to provide a source of retirement income in addition to your CSRS retirement benefit. Beginning July 1, 2001, CSRS employees can contribute up to 6% of basic pay each pay period.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If your agency put you in: If your agency put you in: And you belong in: If your agency put you in: Then you may choose between: CSRS or CSRS Offset FERS CSRS Offset and FERS coverage Social Security only CSRS Offset and Social Security-only coverage FERS CSRS FERS and CSRS coverage* CSRS Offset FERS and CSRS Offset coverage* Social Security only FERS and Social Security-only coverage* *If you already had this choice, you do not have an opportunity to change your election under FERCCA. See the question, My agency put me in FERS by mistake. When it discovered the error, my agency let me choose whether I wanted to remain in FERS. Do I get another choice under FERCCA? for an explanation.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Lost earnings are earnings that you would have received if your TSP make-up contributions were deposited when they would have been deposited had you been in the correct retirement plan.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Make-up contributions are employee contributions that could have been deducted from your pay earlier, but were actually deducted later because of an error. When you are erroneously put in CSRS, CSRS Offset, or Social Security-Only rather than FERS, you are allowed to make up the TSP contributions that you could have made had you been in the correct retirement plan. By law, your TSP make-up contributions must be made as payroll deductions. You can't pay your TSP make-up contributions by check or rollover. Subject to the provisions of the TSP error correction regulations, you can decide how much you pay in TSP make-up contributions and how long you want to take to make the payments. TSP make-up contributions are treated as tax-deferred compensation for the year in which they are made up, but are subject to the elective deferral limit(s) for the year(s) in which they could have been made. So, your make-up contributions will reduce your taxable income for the year that you actually make the contribution. If you are in FERS and decide to pay TSP make-up contributions, your agency must also pay any attributable Agency Matching Contributions.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Social Security benefits are based on earnings averaged over most of a worker's lifetime. Your actual earnings are first adjusted or "indexed" to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then the Social Security Administration calculates your average monthly indexed earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. The Social Security Administration applies a formula to these earnings and arrives at your basic benefit, or "primary insurance amount" (PIA). This is the amount you would receive at your full retirement age. As you can see from the above, the benefit computation is complex and there are no simple tables that we can give you that will tell you how much you will receive. However, there are several ways you can find out how your Social Security retirement benefit is figured:
    1. Request a Social Security Statement. You can make your request over the Internet and the Social Security Administration will mail you a detailed report of your lifetime earnings and an estimate of Social Security retirement, disability and dependent benefits: www.ssa.gov/statement.
    2. Compute your own Social Security benefit estimate using a program that you can download from your PC: www.ssa.gov/OACT/ANYPIA/anypia.html.
    3. How Your Retirement Benefit Is Figured is a publication that walks you through the formula for computing your retirement benefit: www.ssa.gov/pubs/10070.html.
    4. See examples of how Social Security benefits are computed at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/ProgData/retirebenefit1.html.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The earliest a person can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. Your Social Security retirement benefit is reduced if you begin receiving them before your full retirement age. Full retirement age has been age 65 for many years. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age will gradually increase until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959. Year of Birth Full Retirement Age 1937 or earlier 65 1938 65 and 2 months 1939 65 and 4 months 1940 65 and 6 months 1941 65 and 8 months 1942 65 and 10 months 1943 - 1954 66 1955 66 and 2 months 1956 66 and 4 months 1957 66 and 6 months 1958 66 and 8 months 1959 66 and 10 months 1960 or later 67
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  •   Yes, FERCCA changes the rules on make-up contributions to the TSP for some individuals. Before FERCCA, you did not receive lost earnings on any make-up contributions you had withheld from your pay because of a retirement coverage error. You did receive lost earnings on agency contributions made to your TSP account. Under FERCCA, you can receive lost earnings on your make-up contributions if you choose to stay in FERS. You also continue to receive lost earnings on any contributions your agency makes to your TSP account. Before you're asked to choose retirement plans, OPM will give you information about your TSP benefits under both CSRS Offset and FERS.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If an employee, former employee, or retiree would have had a choice under FERCCA but died before making an election, then the survivor can make that election instead.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Your make-up contributions will be invested based on your most recent contribution allocation. For example, if you currently allocated 75% of the TSP contributions withheld from your pay to go to the C Fund and 25% to go to the G Fund, your make-up contributions will be allocated in the same manner. If you don't have a contribution allocation on file with the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the make-up contributions will be invested in the G Fund. You may also get lost earnings on your make-up contributions. The amount of the lost earnings you receive are based on the contribution allocation in effect at the time the make-up contributions would have been made had you been correctly covered by FERS. For example, suppose you are going to make-up contributions for the period January 11, 1995 to July 6, 1995. During that period you may had allocated 45% of the contributions withheld from your pay to go to the G Fund and 55% to go to the C Fund. The lost earnings on your make-up would be computed as though 45% of your make-up went to the G Fund in 1995 and 55% had gone to the C Fund. If you didn't have a contribution allocation, the lost earnings will be based on the return of the G Fund.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If you are erroneously covered by FERS and you choose to move out of FERS, FERCCA allows you to keep the employee contributions you made in your TSP account (plus the earnings attributable to your contributions) even if the contributions exceed 5 percent of the basic pay you earned for the pay period that contributions had been made. However, all Government contributions that were made to your account and the attributable earnings must be removed from your account if you do not choose FERS. If you choose FERS coverage under FERCCA, you may make up those employee contributions that you could have made had you been correctly covered by FERS, as provided by the current TSP error correction legislation. In addition, you will receive the agency automatic (1%) contributions and agency matching contributions that you should have received had you been correctly covered by FERS. Finally, you will receive lost earnings on both your employee and agency make-up contributions. (Prior to FERCCA, lost earnings were payable only on agency make-up contributions.) The lost earnings on both employee and agency contributions will be determined the same way lost earnings are now determined on agency make-up contributions (that is, as provided by the current TSP regulations).
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board issued proposed rules on April 19, 2001.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • It depends on when you withdrew your TSP contributions and the kind of withdrawal you made. You can make an election under FERCCA if you:
    • Separated from Government service after your agency corrected your records—but you did not retire—and the TSP automatically paid your account balance to you because it was $3,500 or less;
    • Retired and withdrew your TSP contributions; or
    • Received a financial hardship in-service withdrawal, or a TSP loan.
    You cannot make an election under FERCCA if you:
    • Separated from Government service after your agency corrected your records—but you did not retire—and you withdrew your TSP contributions. This does not include the TSP automatic payment described above; or
    • Received an age-based in-service withdrawal from your TSP account while employed.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Once the review process begins, it takes about 6 weeks (on average) for a decision on the individual's eligibility and for the required quality control reviews.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.


Total Count: 62, Number of Pages: 5, Page: 2
Control Panel