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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

  • Your personnel office must take the following actions to process your retirement application:

    • Complete the "Agency Check List of Immediate Retirement Procedures," Standard Form 2801, Schedule D (CSRS) or 3701, Schedule D (FERS);

    • Prepare and obtain your signature on the "Certified Summary of Federal Service," Standard Form 2801-1 (CSRS) or 3701-1 (FERS);

    • Verify any service not fully documented in your OPF; [Note:If documentation is missing, verification may be obtained by contacting federal record centers. If the personnel office is unable to obtain verification, we will complete verification upon receipt of your retirement application and records. This process will cause a delay in processing of your claim.]

    • Certify and transfer your coverage under the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program to OPM;

    • Transfer your enrollment under the Federal Employees' Health Benefits (FEHB) program to OPM;

    • Prepare Standard Form (SF) 50, "Notification of Personnel Action."; and

    • Send all of your retirement materials to your payroll office.

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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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  • We have the authority to waive the five-year participation requirement when it is against equity and good conscience not to allow an individual to participate in the health insurance program as a retiree. However, the law says that a person’s failure to meet the five-year requirement must be due to exceptional circumstances. When someone is retiring voluntarily, a waiver may not be appropriate because he or she can continue working until the requirement is met. When circumstances under these conditions otherwise warrant a waiver, we will notify the individual's employer.
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  • Yes, but you will receive only a portion of the first increase payable. We will prorate the first increase based on how long you were retired before it is given. At that time, we will send you a notice explaining the increase. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) cost of living increases are not provided until age 62, except for disability and survivor benefits. Read about this year's cost-of-living adjustment for those who receive benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System.
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  • A divorce, legal separation, or annulment court order may require that an employee or a retiree provide a survivor annuity for a former spouse. We will pay based on the court order after a death-in-service or after the death of an annuitant. If the benefit will be based on a court order, employees and retirees [or their former spouses] need to send us a court-certified copy of the court order. Send this to:

    U. S. Office of Personnel Management
    Retirement Services Program
    Court-Order Benefits Branch
    Post Office Box 17
    Washington, DC 20044-0017

     

    If you are still working for the Federal Government, you should also provide a copy of the court order to your personnel or human resources office. All court orders involving garnishments or allotments of your payments from us must be sent to the address given above.

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  • Contact your agency’s Benefits Officer.  A complete list of Benefits Officers by agency can be found at http://apps.opm.gov/abo/.

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  • If you are in good health and you retire for reasons other than disability, you may elect to provide a survivor annuity to someone with an insurable interest. You can elect to provide an insurable interest benefit and the maximum benefit for a spouse or an ex-spouse. Spousal consent is not required. However, if you are married and elect an insurable interest benefit for your spouse, spousal consent is required.

    If you elect an insurable interest benefit, you are responsible for arranging for and paying the cost of any medical examination required to show you are in good health. A report of the medical examination should be included with your retirement application.

    You can elect to provide an insurable interest annuity only for someone who has an insurable interest in you. "Insurable interest" is an insurance term which applies to someone who would reasonably expect to derive financial benefit from your continued life. For survivor benefit election purposes, an insurable interest is presumed to exist if you name as beneficiary of the insurable interest, any of the following individuals:

    • a spouse;
    • a blood or adopted relative closer than first cousins;
    • an ex-spouse;
    • a person to whom you are engaged to be married; or
    • a person with whom you are living in a relationship that would constitute a common-law marriage in a jurisdiction that recognizes common-law marriages.

    If the person named is not one of the above, you should submit affidavits with your retirement application from one or more people with knowledge of the individual's insurable interest. The affidavits should state:

    • the relationship between you;
    • the extent to which the person named is dependent on you;
    • the reasons why the person named might reasonably expect to derive financial benefit from your continued life.

    The reduction to provide an insurable interest benefit is computed as follows:

    • If the person named is older, the same age, or less than 5 years younger than the retiree, the reduction is 10 percent;
    • If the person named is 5 but less than 10 years younger than the retiree, the reduction is 15 percent;
    • If the person named is 10 but less than 15 years younger than the retiree, the reduction is 20 percent;
    • If the person named is 15 but less than 20 years younger than the retiree, the reduction is 25 percent;
    • If the person named is 20 but less than 25 years younger than the retiree, the reduction is 30 percent;
    • If the person named is 25 but less than 30 years younger than the retiree, the reduction is 35 percent; or
    • If the person named is 30 or more years younger than the retiree, the reduction is 40 percent.

    The insurable interest automatically ends if the insurable interest dies, if you marry the insurable interest and elect to provide a spousal benefit, or if the named person is your spouse and you change your election to provide a spousal survivor benefit.

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  • Generally, since your coverage under these programs effectively ended when you left Federal service, you cannot continue the coverage into retirement when you receive a deferred annuity.

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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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  • Cost-of-Living Adjustments are effective each December first. The adjustment appears in your payment on the first business day of January, 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. FERS disability retirees get the adjustment, except when they are receiving a disability annuity based on 60 percent of their high-3 average salary. Also, under FERS, if you have a CSRS component, the component is subject to the CSRS COLA calculation.
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