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We began collecting the records we need to process retiree and survivor cases in June. In most instances we will be working on your case long before you actually hear from us.
The first step in the process is to collect your service history and payroll records. After we have your records we'll carefully review all your retirement coverage determinations and verify your eligibility for relief under FERCCA. Then we'll send you a copy of the information we have and ask you to review it. We'll also ask you to give us some information in order to prepare decision information for you to use. We'll ask for things like, "When do you plan to retire?", "Do you plan to elect a survivor annuity?" Next we'll prepare a personalized decision package for you and you'll be contacted by a counselor to review the information.
Except for the last 3 years, the money you erroneously paid into Social Security will remain to your credit in the Social Security fund. The Social Security Administration will include all but those last 3 years in determining your eligibility for, and the amount of, future benefits.
The amount you paid into Social Security for the last 3 years will be transferred to your account in the Civil Service Retirement fund. Your employing agency will pay all additional retirement contributions owed for your CSRS time. It may not go back and bill you for additional retirement deductions when it corrects the error.
In the coming months, OPM will be providing agencies and employees with detailed information about FERCCA, the different retirement plans, and how you make an election.
OPM wants to make sure that you receive complete counseling about your options before you make your election. Once you make your election, you cannot change it. OPM will contact you and provide you with detailed information regarding your options under FERCCA. For example, you will know how much you can expect to receive under each retirement plan, including Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan benefits. You do not have to make an election until you have had the opportunity to ask all questions you have about your retirement benefits.
We at OPM realize that some of you may be postponing retirement or other major events until your retirement coverage error is resolved. While we will provide election information and benefits counseling as soon as possible, we will make special provisions for those individuals who need to make an election immediately.
CSRS stands for the Civil Service Retirement System. CSRS was created in 1920 and was the only retirement plan for most Federal civilian employees until 1984. CSRS is a defined benefit retirement plan that provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. Agencies deduct a set percentage of your basic pay (7% for most employees) and contribute a matching amount to CSRS.
The basic annuity is computed based on your length of service and the highest average basic pay you earned during any 3 consecutive years of service (know as the "high-3" average pay). For most employees, the CSRS basic benefit is computed by adding:
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