The basic Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuity cannot exceed 80
percent of your high-3 average
salary, excluding your unused sick leave. Generally, you reach the 80
percent limitation when you have 41 years and 11 months of service, not
including accumulated sick leave. Fewer years of service may result in a
computation that produces the maximum benefit under special computation formulas
such as for law enforcement personnel.
Your service beyond the years which provides the maximum benefit will not be
used to compute your annuity. Instead, we will automatically refund the
retirement contributions you made during those years. Interest is paid on this
refund payment at the rate of three percent per year, compounded annually. You
can use the refund to purchase additional annuity, as if the contributions and
interest are voluntary
However, if you have federal civilian employment periods when you did not
contribute to either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal
Employees Retirement System (FERS), we automatically apply excess contributions
toward any deposit due for these
If you have not already done so, you should choose your exact retirement
date. Afterwards, your benefit can be estimated based on the exact date.
The best place to obtain assistance is your agency's local personnel service
center. They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment
records. They will provide you with information on when your benefit payments
can begin based on your proposed retirement date. You will also find out how
this date affects factors used to determine the amount of your retirement
benefit, such as your length of service, high-3 average salary, and the
proration of cost-of-living adjustments.
It may take up to eight weeks to process a withdrawal after all properly
completed withdrawal forms and separation data have been received by the TSP
Service Office. Further, the TSP Service Office cannot process a withdrawal
election until they receive an Employee Data Record from your payroll office
indicating that you have separated.
An unpaid TSP loan may delay disbursement of the TSP account balance.
Your employer will provide you with information about your withdrawal options
and the option to keep your money in the TSP. If you choose not to withdraw
your funds, in the event of your death the TSP Service Office would pay the
funds based on your written designation form on file. If you have not completed
a designation form, payment would be made to your survivors as follows:
You may continue your health insurance coverage only if you meet the following conditions:
If your agency undergoes a major reorganization, reduction in force, or transfer of function, and a significant percentage of the employees will be separated, or will be reduced in pay, the head of your agency can ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to permit early optional retirement for eligible employees.
If your agency gets approval to permit early optional retirements, eligible employees will be notified of the opportunity to retire voluntarily.
Information about Early Optional Retirement under CSRS is available here.
Information about Early Optional Retirement under FERS is available here.
Some of an employee’s spousal Social Security benefit may be offset if the employee has a government pension from work not covered by Social Security. The offset does not apply to the employee’s own Social Security benefit, only the benefit that comes from a spouse’s employment. If the Government Pension Offset applies, the spousal Social Security benefit will be reduced by two-thirds of any Federal pension based on employment not covered by Social Security.
Some employees are exempt from the Government Pension Offset. They are employees who are automatically covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset, and those who elected to transfer to the FERS before January 1, 1988, or during the belated transfer period which ended June 30, 1988. Employees who were covered by the CSRS and who elected FERS coverage after June 30, 1988 must have five years of Federal employment covered by Social Security to be exempt from the offset.
We are very much aware of the increasing processing times retirees and potential retirees have been experiencing. Individuals applying for retirement are dedicated Federal employees who have devoted their careers to serving the citizens of this country, and as such, they deserve treatment commensurate with their service.
The present situation is the result of the confluence of a number of factors. This includes the attempt to utilize an "off-the-shelf" private sector processing system, which ultimately was not successful. We tried to redesign all aspects of retirement processing simultaneously and anticipated that increased automation was the long-term solution. Accordingly, we assumed lower staffing levels would be required. As staff levels were reduced, the volume and complexity of retirement casework increased.
Our paramount goal is to improve the overall claims adjudication process. There is no simple or easy solution that is capable of instantly remedying the problem, but we are doing everything in our power to improve service to our annuitants as rapidly as possible within the constraint of available resources. We have begun several initiatives to not only speed up claims review but to streamline other attendant retirement procedures.
We hired 40 legal administrative specialists to assist with the current backlog and future workload.
We have also authorized additional overtime across the claims processing groups and will continue to approve overtime thru fiscal year 2011. Overtime is also being offered to former claims examiners to help tackle the backlog.
To assist the retiree's immediate financial needs, OPM established an interim pay process to provide new retirees with income while their retirement benefits are adjudicated. Retirees receive their first interim payment in 5-7 business days from the date the agency's electronic file or paper records are received by OPM.
OPM uses the information provided by the agencies (at the time the retirement application is submitted) to determine the amount of interim pay. In calculating the amount of the interim payment from the data provided by the agency, OPM:
Our goal is to provide the annuitant with as much of their expected NET monthly payment, less Federal income tax withholding. The NET payment amount is the amount of the annuity payment after deducting premiums for health benefits and life insurance from the gross rate. Some retirees receive less than our goal due to a variety of factors. Some of the conditions that could cause the annuitant to receive less than the agency's NET estimate are: a FERS annuity supplement, unpaid service credit deposits, redeposits or military deposits, a court order on file at OPM, or the retiree is entitled to a special computation as a Law Enforcement Officer, Fire Fighter, Air Traffic Controller or other special retirement group.
In December, we increased all Department of Defense civilian retiree interim payments by 5%. This will affect 29% of the cases. These cases had been receiving a lower than average amount of interim pay based upon the data received at the time of retirement. Additional system changes are in process to provide a 5% increase for certain retirees of the United States Postal Service.
OPM is currently working with agencies to improve timeliness and quality of personnel/payroll information submissions. Indeed, OPM's Strategic Plan speaks to the shared responsibility for retirement processing among employees, agencies and OPM so resolving these issues is at the very center of the radar screen. Incomplete or inaccurate information from agencies can significantly delay processing and ultimately, a retiree's check. Unfortunately, 23 percent of all claims received are missing one or more records and 11 percent are not received during the first 30 days.
We are confident that through additional staff, over-time, improvements in interim payments, and collaboration with agencies we will reduce our back-log to more normal levels and fulfill our commitments to the Federal retiree, which has always been one of our highest priorities.
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