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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

    • The benefit is not reduced if it begins after your 60th birthday and you have at least 20 years of service or you reach the Minimum Retirement Age and have 30 years of service. Delay of the benefit can be used to avoid all or part of the reduction for retirement before age 62 that would otherwise have been applied.
    • Your life insurance enrollment will stop until the annuity begins. Once the annuity begins, the life insurance coverage you had when you stopped working will resume if you are eligible.
    • Your health benefits can be temporarily continued under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage for 18 months. You must pay the full cost of coverage, including both the employee and government shares, plus a two percent administrative charge. Your employer will collect the premiums and maintain this coverage.
    • When your payments begin, if you are otherwise eligible to continue coverage, you can again enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program and we will pay the government share of the premiums.
    • If you do not file an application before your death, the rights of your surviving family members would be protected because you would be considered a retiree.
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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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  • Your benefit will be computed in the same manner as if it were not subject to offset. However, it will be reduced when you become eligible for Social Security benefits. The offset applies when the basic requirements for Social Security are met, generally at age 62, even if you do not apply for those benefits. If you are not eligible for Social Security benefits at age 62, there is no offset unless you become eligible later.

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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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  • If you are a federal retiree, contact OPM’s Retirement Office at 1-888-767-6738 or retire@opm.gov to check the status of your request.  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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  • If you are receiving regular payments and you have not received your temporary numeric password or you have lost your current password. Select the Forgot Claim Number/Password from the SOL Home page within the Login box. You can request a password by either Email or by Mail. To receive a password by email, you must have an email address on file within SOL and you must have already established and be able to answer your personal security questions.

    For security reasons, you cannot use the online password request system to request a temporary password if your account has not been accessed within a 15 month period or if your account has been deactivated. You must contact our Retirement Operations Center at 1-888-767-6738 and speak to a customer service agent to request a new password.

    Do not request a new Password if:

    • You have already requested a password by mail within the last 7 days or, for requests by email, if you have requested a password by mail within the last 4 days.
    • You have called the Retirement Operations Center and requested a new password
    • You have already requested a password by email within the last 24 hours.

    By requesting a new password in any of the above instances, you will further delay your access to SOL.

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  • In many cases, after receiving the report of a retiree's death, we can start monthly payments to those who are eligible based on the records we have on file. In every case, we will tell you what benefits are payable and provide the necessary forms and help to apply for benefits.

    If you are the survivor of an employee who has passed away while working for the Federal Government, please contact the personnel office of the Federal agency where the employee worked. You should complete the following form-

    If the employee was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) at the time of death:

    Application for Death Benefits/CSRS, Standard Form (SF) 2800 [806 KB]

    If the employee was covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) at the time of death:

    Application for Death Benefits/FERS, Standard Form (SF) 3104 [741 KB]

    If you are the survivor of an employee who has passed away after separating from a position with the Federal Government under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), but before receiving any retirement benefits, you should file the following form-

    Application for Death Benefits/FERS, Standard Form (SF) 3104 [741 KB]

    Attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and a copy of the certificate of the marriage to the widow or widower. Give the application to the personnel office. A widow or widower who is claiming benefits for himself or herself and on behalf of children should file one application.

    If a lump sum payment is due following the death of someone who passed away after leaving Government service but before retirement, please complete the Application for Death Benefits, Standard Form (SF) 2800 [806 KB] and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Send it to this address.

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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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  • 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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  • The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act was passed by the United States Congress on December 16, 2010 and signed into law on December 17, 2010. As a result, the IRS published the tax withholding tables later than usual for 2011. OPM applied the tax tables as quickly as possible but there was not enough time to apply these tables to the January 3, 2011 annuity payments.
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