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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

Post-Retirement

  • If no survivor annuity is payable upon the retiree's death, any remaining portion, representing either the remaining annuity and/or retirement contributions not paid to the retiree, is payable to the person(s) eligible under the order of precedence. If the court assigned payment under a court order, we will pay the lump sum in accordance with that court order. Otherwise, we will pay benefits under the following order of precedence:

    • to the designated beneficiary;
    • if there is no such beneficiary, to the widow or widower;
    • if none of the above, to the child or children, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child (a court will usually have to appoint a guardian to receive payment for a minor child);
    • if none of the above, to the parents in equal shares or the entire amount to a surviving parent;
    • if none of the above, to the executor or administrator of the estate; or
    • if none of the above, to the next of kin as determined under the laws of the State where the retiree lived.
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  • Use Services Online to sign up for direct deposit, or to change the account or bank where your payment is sent. You will need your claim number and password to use the self-service website. You will be asked whether your account is a savings or checking account and to provide your account number and the routing number for your financial institution (found next to your account number on the bottom of your check). You should contact your financial institution for assistance in getting the routing number if you are not sure. When you make a change, we will mail you confirmation of the change.

    You can also call us or write us to sign up for direct deposit or change your account or bank. If you write, your letter should include your claim number. You can also use this form to sign up for direct deposit. Or, you can submit a Standard Form 1199A, "Direct Deposit Sign Up Form," which is available at your bank.

    When you change the account you use for direct deposit, keep the old account open until a payment is posted to the new account. This will prevent having the payment returned if there is a problem with the new account.
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  • OPM provides a federal tax calculator on our website, www.opm.gov/retire, that may assist you in determining the amount of Federal income tax to withhold. Please be advised that changing the amount of your Federal income tax withholding will not reduce your tax liability at the end of the tax year.
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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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  • Monthly payments to a surviving spouse generally continue for life unless your spouse remarries before age 55. If your spouse was married to you for at least 30 years, he or she can continue receiving benefits when there is a remarriage before age 55 occurring after January 1, 1995.
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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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  • After logging in to SOL (https://www.servicesonline.opm.gov/)

    1)       Select Request a Duplicate Form 1099-R

    2)       You can elect to have a duplicate mailed to you or you can view/print the form.

    3)       At the Request for Duplicate Form 1099-R window, select View or Print (bottom of the window)

    4)       Select the year for which you want a 1099R and

    5)       Select view pdf.  The 1099-R will open in a new window, as a pdf.  If you want to print the 1099R, select File from the new window, scroll down and select Print.

    You can print current year and two previous years 1099R at Services Online.

    Note:  If you don’t have a claim number and password for Services OnLine, you can email
    retire@opm.gov or call Retirement Information office at 1-888-767-6738 for a duplicate copy of your 1099R.  You will need your CSA or CSF number (or Social Security Number) and date of birth.  Make sure your mailing address is correct!

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  • If you are receiving regular payments and you have not received your temporary numeric password, you need to contact us for help. If you need to reset your complex password, select the "Forgot Password" link on the main Services Online page.

    This password reset tool requires that you have an email address on file and have already established your security questions.

    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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  •  If your 1099R Statement Box 2.a for the Taxable Amount is marked as 'Unknown'; this means that OPM did not calculate the tax-free portion of your annuity.   Some of the most common reasons for not calculating the tax-free portion of your annuity: 

    • Your case is a Disability Retirement
    • You retired prior to November 19, 1996
    • You have Voluntary Contributions
    • Apportionment was paid to your former spouse(s)
    • Your case has not been finalized and you are in Interim pay status
    • You have Survivor benefits payable and/or
    • Your case is an Office of Workers Compensation case

    OPM CAN NOT provide tax advice.  Please contact the Internal Revenue Service toll free at 1-800-829-1040 to speak with an agent who will provide free tax advice. 

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  • You can use Retirement Services Online at https://www.servicesonline.opm.gov.  You will need your claim number and Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use the self-service website.

    If you forgot your PIN, you can request a new one by mail here: https://www.servicesonline.opm.gov/Security/requestpassword.aspx.  Alternatively, you can call the Retirement Operations Center at 1-888-767-6738 and request a new PIN.  The phone lines are open from 7:40 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time).
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