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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

Address and Withholding Changes

  • There are many reasons for changing your health benefits enrollment. If you are changing your coverage because of one of the reasons listed below, we can make the change based on your telephone call. When calling you must have your claim number and social security number, as well as the enrollment number and name for your new plan. Changes we can make by phone include:

    • You are changing to self-only coverage from family coverage;
    • You are changing plans because you have moved out of the service area of your Health Maintenance Organization (HMO);
    • You turned 65 and are changing to a lower cost plan option because you are eligible for Medicare;
    • You are changing your enrollment during the annual Health Benefits Open Season, which usually runs from mid-November to early December; or
    • You are changing to family coverage because you marry, or have or adopt a child. (This option is not available to survivors.)

    You should contact us within the period beginning 31 days before up to 60 days after the date of the event.

    You may change the plan in which you are enrolled or from high to low option coverage during the annual Open Season for electing coverage.

    If you need assistance with your health benefits enrollment, call 1 (888) 767-6738 , to change your enrollment or if you need to speak with a Customer Service Specialist. Or, see our web pages at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/index.asp to obtain information about health insurance benefits online.

    If you are eligible for TRICARE or TRICARE-For-Life benefits, you may suspend your FEHB coverage and premium payments. You are able to reenroll in the FEHB Program during the Open Season, or immediately if you are involuntarily disenrolled from the TRICARE program. Select this link to find answers to frequently asked questions on this topic.

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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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  • If you are not receiving social security benefits, you can have Medicare premiums withheld from your annuity payments. We must receive a request for the withholding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We cannot withhold premiums based on your direct request or even one from the Social Security Administration. However, the social security district office may be able to give you additional information.
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  • You can reduce your premiums by reducing your coverage. However, if you reduce coverage, you cannot increase it again at a later date.

    See our answer to a frequently asked question about coverage after age 65 and our web pages at http://www.opm.gov/insure/life/index.asp to obtain more information about the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program.

    To change your coverage, write us.

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  • Services Online is our online tool for annuitants.  First, you must have a CSA or CSF claim number and a password.  If you don’t know your CSA or CSF number, or you don’t know your password or you haven’t accessed your SOL account within the past 15 months*, call us at 1-888-767-6738

     Use your CSA or CSF number and password to login to Services Online.  Once online, you can:

    • start, change, or stop Federal and State income tax withholdings
    • request a duplicate 1099R; print current year and 2 previous years 1099R
    • change your password
    • change your mailing address
    • view your annuity statement
    • start direct deposit or change the account number and/or financial institution
    • establish, change or stop an allotment to an organization

     * For your protection, we lock your account after 15 months of inactivity and after failed login attempts.  Please call us to unlock your account.

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  • OPM can refund Federal and/or state income tax withholding ONLY for the current year.  To request a refund, you can email us at retire@opm.gov or call us at 1-888-767-6738.  Remember to provide your CSA or CSF claim number or full SSN. 
    We can issue a refund of the monies withheld in the current year ONLY. 

    If you want a partial reimbursement, let us know the exact amount (no percentage) AND provide the exact period (for example 5/10/2011 to 12/31/2011).  Normally, the refund is issued as a separate payment.

    We cannot refund tax withholding for previous tax years.   

    To request a refund of your withholdings for previous tax years, please contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for Federal tax withholding refund and your State Revenue Office for state tax withholding refund.  If we are not currently withholding State tax, you must call your State Tax office for a refund.  Find  your State Revenue Office here

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  • Tax tables are set into law by the United States Congress and administered by the IRS.  Each year, the new tables are posted on the IRS website in IRS Publication 15 and Notice 1036.  We are required by law to update your Federal income tax withholding based on the new monthly periodic tax tables and formulas.   OPM withholds the required federal taxes according to your marital status and exemptions (dependents) elected.  You can change your tax withholding amount at any time.  It is a good idea to check the amount of your Federal and State tax withholding each year.

    Select this link to view the IRS Publication 15.  If you are looking at the specific tax tables you want to search for the Single or Married Monthly Payroll Period tables.

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  • You can use https://www.servicesonline.opm.gov .  You will need your claim number and Personal Identification Number (PIN) 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.

    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 7:30 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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