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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

  • You can voluntarily withhold Federal and State income taxes, checking and savings allotments, or allotments to other participating organizations.

    Federal Income Tax: Generally, unless you specify a monthly withholding rate or amount, we withhold Federal income tax as if you are married and claiming three allowances. Use Services Online to start, change, or stop the Federal tax withheld from your annuity payment or specify the dollar amount withheld.

    You can also call us or write us to change your withholding amount. If you write, your letter should include your claim number and the monthly amount in dollars you want withheld. If you write, we will send you a Form W-4P-A, "Election of Federal Income Tax Withholding," and instructions for making the change. The change in your withholdings will be made after we receive your Form W-4P-A.

    You may change the amount withheld whenever you think it is necessary.

    Please note that you may be penalized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you do not have at least 90 percent of your yearly tax liability either withheld from your salary or annuity or made via quarterly payments to the IRS.

    If you need more information or assistance in determining whether or not you are having the right amount of Federal income tax withheld, see the Internal Revenue Service website at http://www.irs.gov.

    State Income Tax: You must specify the dollar amount of State tax you want withheld from your monthly payments. The withholding must be in whole dollars. The minimum amount we can withhold for State income tax is $5. Use Services Online to start, change, or stop the State tax withheld from your annuity payment.

    You can also call us or write us to change your withholding amount. If you write, your letter should include your claim number and the monthly amount in dollars you want withheld.

    If you do not know the monthly amount you want withheld, contact your State tax office for information or assistance.

    Check our list of State tax offices for information about participating States.

    If your State does not participate, please contact the State tax office for information or assistance.

    Savings Bonds:

    As of April 1, 2009, The Office of Personnel Management is no longer withholding for the purchase of savings bonds. Please contact your bank or other financial institution or the Department of the Treasury to purchase these bonds. For further information on Savings Bonds visit the Treasury Direct website or call 1 (800) 4US-BOND.

    Allotments to Organizations: You can start, change, or stop an allotment to participating organizations. Participating organizations include:

    • American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE);
    • Fraternal Order of Retired Border Patrol Officers (Museum);
    • National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. Political Action Committee;
    • National Rural Letter Carriers Association Political Action Committee;
    • National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU);
    • Northwest Plan Administrators; and
    • Treasury Employees Political Action Committee.

    If the organization for which you wish to make an allotment is not listed above, you should contact them and ask them to provide us with the banking information needed to forward payments. The organization can contact us by email at finance@opm.gov.

    Use Services Online or call our toll-free number to make one-time or recurring membership payments to organizations.

    Checking and Savings Allotments:  Checking and savings allotments are voluntary deductions for allotments sent by direct deposit to a checking or savings account in your name. You may have up to two allotments. The accounts must be maintained at a domestic financial institution. This does not include charities, savings bonds, garnishments or other court orders, union or other organizational dues. You must maintain at least $100 net annuity payment. The allotment must be for a minimum of $50.

    Use Services Online to start, change, or stop an allotment or call our toll-free number to establish a checking or savings allotment.

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  • If you meet the eligibility requirements for a retirement benefit, you are eligible to receive an annuity based on your length of service and your high-3 average salary. The information in your application is used to determine if you are applying for a disability option, a regular or early-out option, or a discontinued service annuity. It is also used to check the service listed on your payroll records.
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  • Generally, if you are receiving a regular retirement, it will continue and your salary will be equivalently reduced. But, if you retired for disability or because your job was eliminated, your eligibility for the retirement benefit might end. You can discuss this with your prospective employer or provide us with detailed information about the position so that we can let you know if your benefit would stop. We need to know the title, grade, salary, tour of duty, and retirement coverage provided by the position you are considering.

    If your retirement benefit ends, your health benefits coverage as a retiree stops as well. You can enroll for health benefits where you are employed. Your life insurance as a retiree stops without a right to convert to an individual policy. Your eligibility for life insurance coverage will be the same as any other new employee.

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  • At your request, your employer should provide you with any of the following estimates that apply to your circumstances. However, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management determines the actual amount of the benefit that is payable based on the laws and regulations and on the certified record of your employment.

    • If you receive military retired pay, an estimate of your benefit with and without credit for military service.
    • If you are considering deposit for military service after 1956, an estimate of your benefit with and without credit for the military service you performed after December 31, 1956.
    • If you are considering a deposit, under the Civil Service Retirement System, for federal employment before October 1, 1982, estimates of the amount of the deposit and the amount of your benefit with and without the reduction for the deposit.

    Deposit service ending before October 1, 1982 and covered by the CSRS.

    • If you are considering a deposit, under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), for federal employment on/after October 1, 1982, estimates of the amount of the deposit and the amount of your benefit with and without credit for the employment period.

      Deposit service ending after October 1, 1982 and covered by the CSRS.

    • If you are considering repaying, under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), a refund of retirement contributions for employment ending before October 1990, an estimate of the amount of the redeposit and your benefit with and without the actuarial reduction taken if the redeposit is not paid.

      Redeposit service ending before October 1, 1990 and covered by CSRS.

    • If you are considering repaying, under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), a refund of retirement contributions for employment ending after October 1990, an estimate of the amount of the redeposit and your benefit with and without credit for the employment period covered by the refund.

      Redeposit service ending on/after October 1, 1990 and covered by CSRS.

    • If you are considering a deposit, under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), for federal employment before 1989, estimates of the amount of the deposit and the amount of your benefit with and without credit for the employment period.

      Deposit service ending before January 1, 1989 and covered by FERS.

    • If you are considering providing less than the maximum annuity payable after your death to a husband, wife, or ex-spouse, estimates of the amount of the survivor's annuity and the amount of your annuity with and without the reduction for full survivor's benefit.

      View information on family benefits.

    • If you are considering providing a survivor annuity to someone who has a financial interest in your continued life, an estimate of your benefit with and without the reduction for this election.

      View information on family benefits.

    • If you have made voluntary contributions and can elect to purchase additional annuity with those contributions, benefit estimates with and without credit for the voluntary contributions.

      View information about voluntary contributions.

    • If you can elect to receive the alternative form of annuity, an estimate of your benefit with and without the lump sum payment of retirement contributions.

      View information about the alternative form of annuity.

    • For employees, under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), who can elect to receive an annuity supplement, an estimate of the monthly amount payable to age 62.

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  • You can keep your basic life insurance in retirement if all of the following conditions are met:

    • You have coverage when you retire;
    • You have not converted coverage to an individual policy;
    • Your annuity begins within 30 days or, (However if you are retiring under the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) plus 10 provision of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and you have postponed the commencing date of your annuity, health and life insurance coverage is suspended until your annuity begins) and,
    • You were insured for life insurance for the five years immediately preceding retirement or the full periods of service when coverage was available.

    You can keep your optional life insurance in retirement if all of the following conditions are met:

    • You are eligible to continue your basic coverage; and,
    • You were covered by the optional life insurance for the five years immediately preceding retirement or the full periods of service when coverage was available, if less than five years.
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  • When we receive your retirement application, we will notify you and will provide a civil service claim identification number (a seven-digit number preceded by "CSA"). You must use that identification number whenever you contact OPM about your annuity. To check the status of your form or application, you may contact the Retirement Office at (888) 767-6738 or retire@opm.gov.  The phone lines are open from 7:30 am to 7:45 pm (Eastern Standard Time). It is a busy phone number so we encourage you to call early in the morning or after 5:00 pm when the phone lines are less busy.

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  • We only withhold Federal income tax. You may find that the Federal income taxes withheld from your first interim payment will be higher than the Federal tax withholdings from your subsequent interim payments and regular annuity. We will make any necessary tax withholding adjustment when we finish processing your application. Your health and life insurance coverage will continue while you are receiving interim pay. We will begin withholding health and life insurance premiums retroactive to the commencing date of your annuity, when we finish processing your application.
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  • You can help reduce delays in processing by submitting your application in advance and by making sure your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is complete. If you submit your paperwork early, your personnel and payroll offices will be able to complete their action before your retirement date.

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  • When we receive your retirement application, we will notify you and will provide a civil service claim identification number (a seven-digit number preceded by "CSA"). You must use that identification number whenever you contact OPM about your annuity.
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  • If you are leaving your Federal job and want a refund of your retirement contributions, you can get an application from your personnel office, complete it, and return it to them. If you are no longer in the Federal service, you can acquire the appropriate application from our website. The applications are shown below:

    If you are still working, submit your application to your servicing personnel office.

    If you have left Federal service, submit your application to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
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