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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

General

  • 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.

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  • 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.
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  • 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.

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  •  

    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.

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  • Yes, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board issued proposed rules on April 19, 2001.
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  • Everyone born in 1929 or later needs 40 credits to be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. Since you can earn 4 credits per year, you need at least 10 years of work that subject to Social Security to become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.

    When you work in a job that is subject to Social Security, your wages are posted to your Social Security record and you receive earnings credits based on those wages. The Social Security Administration uses these credits to determine your eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits and for disability or survivors benefits if you should become disabled or die.

    Each year, the amount of earnings needed for a credit rises as the average earnings levels rise. In 2001, you receive 1 credit for each $830 of earnings, up to the maximum of 4 credits per year.

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  • 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.
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  • 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).

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  • The Government Pension Offset is part of the Social Security Law that reduces spouse or survivor Social Security benefits for certain individuals who are also entitled to a Federal Government pension. If you retire from the Federal service under CSRS and are also eligible for Social Security benefits as a spouse, former spouse or survivor, your Social Security benefit will be reduced. It is reduced because you are receiving a pension from the Federal Government based on earnings that are not covered by Social Security. For every $3 you receive from your CSRS annuity, your Social Security spousal benefit is reduced by $2. For more information, see SSA's publication, Government Pension Offset at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html.
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  • You will get Social Security credit for all that work, and it won't cost you anything. Your agency will send 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 will be transferred to Social Security. This transfer will pay all the Social Security taxes you owe.
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