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No, you don't get a second choice.
Certain employees who were put in FERS by mistake could choose to stay in FERS when the agency discovered the error. If they declined FERS, the agency placed them in the correct retirement plan (CSRS, CSRS Offset, or Social Security only). If you already had this opportunity to choose between FERS and CSRS, CSRS Offset, or Social Security only; then FERCCA does not give you an opportunity to change your decision.
FERCCA may help you, however. If you worked for the Government before you came under a retirement plan, you may be able to get retirement credit for that service by taking an actuarial reduction in your retirement benefit instead of having to pay a deposit. The same may be true for any military service you have. See the questions under the heading
Also, if you were in FERS for at least 3 years of service before your agency gave you an opportunity to stay in FERS or have your records corrected, OPM may compensate you for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred because of the error. See the questions under the heading Out of Pocket Expenses for more information.
Yes, if you choose CSRS Offset coverage, you can get credit for that deposit service by taking an actuarial reduction. That's because the nature of the service changes from FERS to CSRS time when you elect CSRS Offset coverage. If you remain in FERS, you will have to pay a FERS deposit before you can get credit for the service time. You would not be eligible for the actuarial reduction
Before you're asked to choose retirement plans, OPM will give you information about your benefits under both CSRS Offset and FERS. They will tell you how much you owe under both. They will also explain how payment of a deposit and the actuarial reduction will affect your benefit.
FERCCA does not give you a choice about Social Security coverage. If you should have had Social Security coverage during your Federal employment, then you must have Social Security coverage in addition to your Federal retirement coverage. You have no choice. If your agency incorrectly put you in CSRS when it should have put you in CSRS Offset, it must correct your retirement coverage to CSRS Offset. You will not be able to get the full amount of the refund you were expecting.
Your previous agency should have sent the Social Security Administration a record of your earnings during all the years you should have had Social Security coverage. All of the CSRS contributions you made during those years that are not needed to cover your retirement costs were transferred to Social Security. Your refund was based on the retirement contributions that should have been withheld from your pay. It did not include amounts that were properly withheld, but erroneously considered retirement deductions rather than Social Security taxes.
If you believe you are eligible under FERCCA, you should contact your agency's Human Resources Office. OPM works with representatives from your agency to provide guidance in determining an employee's eligibility for relief under FERCCA. You will be asked some preliminary information to assess your potential eligibility, however, a final determination can not be made until your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is reviewed. You will be notified of your eligibility in writing.
If you are about to retire, let your agency know. We at OPM will work with your agency to get you the information you need before you retire.
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