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Retirement FAQs Pre-Retirement

Less than One Year to Retire

  • It may take up to eight weeks to process a withdrawal after all properly completed withdrawal forms and separation data have been received by the TSP Service Office. Further, the TSP Service Office cannot process a withdrawal election until they receive an Employee Data Record from your payroll office indicating that you have separated. An unpaid TSP loan may delay disbursement of the TSP account balance. Your employer will provide you with information about your withdrawal options and the option to keep your money in the TSP.  If you choose not to withdraw your funds, in the event of your death the TSP Service Office would pay the funds based on your written designation form on file.  If you have not completed a designation form, payment would be made to your survivors as follows:
    • Widow or widower.
    • If none of the above, child or children and descendants of deceased children by representation.
    • If none of the above, retiree's parents or to the surviving parent.
    • If none of the above, the executor or administrator of the retiree's estate.
    • If none of the above, to any other of the retiree's next of kin who is entitled under the laws of the state in which the retiree resided at death.
    Read more about the Thrift Savings Program.
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  • If you have not already done so, you should choose your exact retirement date. Afterwards, your benefit can be estimated based on the exact date. The best place to obtain assistance is your agency's local personnel service center.   They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records.  They will provide you with information on when your benefit payments can begin based on your proposed retirement date.  You will also find out how this date affects factors used to determine the amount of your retirement benefit, such as your length of service, high-3 average salary, and the proration of cost-of-living adjustments.
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  • The basic Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuity cannot exceed 80 percent of your high-3 average salary, excluding your unused sick leave. Generally, you reach the 80 percent limitation when you have 41 years and 11 months of service, not including accumulated sick leave.   Fewer years of service may result in a computation that produces the maximum benefit under special computation formulas such as for law enforcement personnel. Your service beyond the years which provides the maximum benefit will not be used to compute your annuity.  Instead, we will automatically refund the retirement contributions you made during those years.  Interest is paid on this refund payment at the rate of three percent per year, compounded annually.  You can use the refund to purchase additional annuity, as if  the contributions and interest are voluntary contributions. However, if you have federal civilian employment periods when you did not contribute to either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), we automatically apply excess contributions toward any deposit due for these employment periods.
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  • The program will become effective at the time set in the regulations to be issued.  Implementation of the program is an important goal of OPM, and this will be accomplished as soon as possible.  
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  • You should carefully read the information that is part of your retirement application, and complete and submit the forms.  You do not need to submit a separate letter of resignation.  A completed and signed retirement application is equivalent to a letter of resignation. If you are eligible for a retirement benefit, you should not resign, intending to submit a retirement application later. This is because if you die after separating but before filing the application no life insurance, no survivor benefit, and no survivor health insurance coverage would be available to your survivor(s). You should, however, complete all the other required "exit procedures." Read more about applying for retirement.
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  • You should contact the Social Security Administration at least three months before your 65th birthday to apply for benefits. The Social Security Administration will have records pertaining to your eligibility for Medicare coverage.  If they do not, and you or your employer need to get a statement of your earnings for this purpose, you can write to: General Services Administration National Personnel Records Center Civilian Personnel Records 111 Winnebago Street St. Louis, Missouri 63118 You should provide the following information in your request:
    • your name, as shown on your payroll records;
    • date of birth;
    • Social Security Number;
    • mailing address;
    • years for which earnings are needed;
    • name and location of employer for each year;
    • reason for request;
    • written signature; and,
    • a statement that all other sources of information have been exhausted.
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  • You should resolve any financial indebtedness to your agency. Examples of causes for indebtedness include:
    • outstanding travel advances,
    • overpayments of salary,
    • indebtedness for failure to return government property or for damage to government property, or
    • advanced leave.
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  • If your employer sends us your retirement records electronically, via the Data Exchange Gateway (DEG), your account information for direct deposit will be sent to us automatically.  No further action from you is required. Otherwise, include your request to receive your payments by direct deposit with your retirement package.  You can do this by submitting a letter or a Standard Form (SF) 1199A with your application.  You must get the SF 1199A, Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form, from your financial institution. Direct deposit is available to retirees residing in Canada but, generally, it is not available to those whose permanent address for receiving payments is outside the United States. However, retirees living outside the U.S. can arrange to have their payments electronically deposited in a U.S. bank.
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  • Your personnel office will verify with your payroll office that the deposit to give you credit in your annuity for military service you performed after 1956 has been paid, or that arrangements have been made for complete payment before you leave the agency's rolls.
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  • If you want to waive your military retired pay to receive credit for military service in the computation of your benefit, you should write the Retired Pay Operations Center at least 60 days before your planned retirement.  Send your waiver to: Defense Finance and Accounting Service U.S. Military Retirement Pay P.O. Box 7130 London, KY 40742-7130 You can "fax" your request to 1 (888) 469-6559. Suggested wording for your request is as follows: "I (full name and military serial number) hereby waive my military retired pay for Civil Service Retirement/Federal Employees Retirement System purposes effective (the day before your annuity begins). I hereby authorize the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to withhold from my CSRS or FERS annuity any amount of military retired pay granted beyond the effective date of this waiver due to any delay in receiving or processing this request."
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