Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

  • If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased retiree, recurring monthly payments may be made to you if your spouse elected a reduced annuity to provide the benefit. To qualify for the monthly benefit, you must have been married to the retiree for at least nine months. A survivor annuity may still be payable if the retiree's death occurred before nine months if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the retiree.

    A court order awarding a former spouse a survivor annuity may prevent us from paying you the portion of the annuity awarded under the court order. However, if otherwise eligible, you may receive the complete annuity if the former spouse loses eligibility for benefits.

    Read about survivor benefit elections.

    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.

    See how the amount of the monthly survivor benefit is determined.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • You can roll over lump sum payments representing your retirement contributions, including voluntary contributions, and applicable interest.

    An eligible payment can be paid either to you or directly to an individual retirement account or other employee sponsored plan. Your choice will affect the amount of taxes you owe.

    We are required to withhold Federal income tax from taxable payments over $200 at the rate of 20 percent. However, you may choose to take all or part of these payments in a direct roll over to an individual retirement account or an employer-sponsored retirement plan that accepts roll overs. The taxable portion can be rolled over into the Thrift Saving Plan. If you make this election, we will not withhold the Federal income tax from the taxable payments.

    You can open an individual retirement account to receive a direct roll over. You must contact the individual retirement account sponsor to find out how to have your payment made to your account. If you are unsure of how to invest your money, you may wish to temporarily establish an account to receive the payment. However, you may wish to consider whether or not you may move any or all of the monies to another account at a later date without penalties or limitations.

    If you choose to have the payment made to you and it is over $200, it is subject to the 20 percent Federal income tax withholding. The payment is taxed in the year in which it is received unless within 60 days after receiving it, you roll it over to an individual retirement account or retirement plan that accepts roll overs. You can roll over up to 100 percent of the eligible distribution, including the 20 percent withholding. To do so, you must replace the 20 percent withholding within the 60 day period. You will be taxed on any amount that you do not roll over. For example, if you roll over only the 80 percent of the distribution, you will be taxed on the remaining 20 percent.

    You can find more information about the taxation of payments from qualified retirement plans from the following Internal Revenue Service publications:

    We will not withhold any amount for Federal income tax if your total taxable lump sum is less than $200. We will request a rollover election when you are eligible for a payment of $200 or more.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • You should review your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) to make sure that there is verification of all of your military and civilian service. If any of the records are missing, your employer should help you document the service and obtain any missing records.

    If you have civilian service for which you must pay retirement contributions or repay a refund of contributions, your employer should tell you about what impact payment or non-payment has on your eligibility and the amount of your retirement benefit.

    If you owe a payment to receive credit for military service you performed after 1956, you must make that payment before you retire. If you are receiving military retired pay, you should discuss whether or not you must waive the retired pay with the personnel officer at your agency.

    Your personnel officer can also tell you about receiving credit in your annuity computation for various types of service and about the payments described above, as well as help you with service documentation.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • To understand the concept of Phased Retirement, consider two half-time employees who fill one full-time job.  Employee one retires while employee two continues working.  Employee one receives an annuity based on half-time employment, and employee two continues to work half-time for half-pay.  Eventually, employee two retires, and receives an annuity based upon half-time service, including credit for the time worked after employee one retired.  Now assume that employee one and employee two are the same person.  That is in essence how Phased Retirement operates.

     While there are additional computational details, these are the basics.  At entry into Phased Retirement, the employee’s annuity will be completed as if fully retired and then divided by two.  That annuity would be paid while the individual worked a half time schedule receiving half pay.

     When the Phased Retiree fully retires, there will be a computation of the annuity that would be payable if the employee had been employed full time and then divided by two prior to adjustment for survivor benefits.  That amount would then be added to the original Phased Retirement Annuity, and that combined amount would then provide the basis for survivor annuity adjustment and benefits.

    The individual’s income during partial and full retirement appropriately reflects the individual’s situation.  During the partial retirement period, the income will be between full retirement and full employment, and the Phased Retiree would be increasing their lifetime retirement income.  At the time of full retirement, the individual would be appropriately compensated for the value of both full-time and part-time service, with an annuity greater than if they had fully retired at the time of transition to Phased Retirement, but less than if the individual had continued employment on a full-time basis during the period of Phased Retirement.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes. After you retire, you will still have the opportunity to change your enrollment from one plan to another during an annual open season. You cannot change to another plan simply because you retired.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If you are a widow or widower of an individual who died as an employee or retiree, your survivor annuity begins on the day after the employee's or retiree's death. If you are a widow or widower of a former FERS employee who was separated from Federal service when he/she died, but had not yet retired, your annuity begins on the date the deceased former employee would have been eligible for an unreduced annuity.  You have the option to begin receiving the benefit at a lower rate on the day after the former employee’s death. 

    If you are eligible for benefits and we are unable to pay you because a former spouse is entitled, your annuity would begin the day after the former spouse loses entitlement to benefits.

    If you are eligible for a survivor annuity because of your insurable interest in the life of the annuitant, your survivor annuity begins on the day after the annuitant's death.

    If you are a former spouse who was awarded a survivor annuity based on a court order, your survivor annuity begins to accrue on whichever day is later: the day after the employee's or retiree's death or the first day of the second month after we receive a certified copy of the court order along with any additional necessary supporting documentation. If you are a former spouse who is eligible for benefits based on the retiree's election of a reduced annuity to provide the benefit, your annuity begins to accrue the day after the retiree's death. If you are eligible for benefits and we are unable to pay you because another former spouse is entitled, your annuity would begin the day after the former spouse loses entitlement to benefits.

    If you are a child of a deceased employee or annuitant, your survivor annuity begins to accrue on the day after the employee's or retiree's death.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • We will send you a personalized statement titled "Your Federal Retirement Benefits". It details, among other things, how much your monthly payment will be. It also confirms such things as health and life insurance coverage, and provides information you will need to prepare your tax returns.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Your retirement contributions are not taxable, but interest included in the payment is taxable. You should contact the Internal Revenue Service for additional tax information.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • 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.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
    • 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
Control Panel

Unexpected Error

There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.

Working...