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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

  • Yes. Cost-of-Living Adjustments are effective each December first. The adjustment appears in your January payment on the first business day of the month, which is when your benefit for December is paid. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and FERS Special Cost-of-Living Adjustments are not provided until age 62, except for disability, survivor benefits, and other special provision retirements. Also, under FERS, if you have a CSRS component, the component is subject to the CSRS COLA.

    Read about Cost-of-Living Adjustments for those who receive benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System, Organization and Disability Retirement System (ORDS), the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), or FERS Special.

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  • Yes. If you are under age 60, your benefit will stop if:

    1. you are found to be medically recovered from your disabling condition;
    2. in any calendar year your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay from the position you retired from (This is also known as a restoration to earning capacity.); or
    3. you are reemployed in the Federal service in a position equivalent to what you held at retirement. (This is called administratively recovered.)
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  • Both the personnel and payroll office in your agency and OPM are responsible for processing your annuity claim.

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  • Unmarried children who are dependent upon the retiree may receive recurring monthly benefits. We consider a child dependent if he or she:

    • was born within marriage to the retiree:
    • is an adopted child who meets all of the following conditions:
      • the child lived with the deceased retiree, and
      • the deceased filed a petition to adopt the child, and
      • the child was adopted before the retiree’s death or by the surviving spouse after the retiree died;
    • is a stepchild or recognized child born out out-of-wedlock who was living with the retiree in a parent and child relationship when the retiree died; or
    • is a recognized child born out-of-wedlock for whom a judicial determination of support has been obtained.

    We consider the child dependent if there is proof that the deceased made regular and substantial contributions to the child's support.

    Refer to information about a child's continuing eligibility after age 18.

    See how the amount of children's benefits is determined.

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  • Send your request by e-mail to screceipts@opm.gov and a response will be returned by e-mail.  Be sure to include your name, date of birth and CSD Claim Number.

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  • Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you will be given the opportunity to pay for temporary service prior to January 1, 1989. Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), if you had service on/after October 1, 1982, for which no contributions were made, we will give you the opportunity to pay the contributions, and will tell you what difference it makes to your monthly benefit. If you had unpaid service prior to October 1, 1982, we do not notify you before we finish processing your application because it generally is not to your advantage to make the payment.
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  • Your Official Personnel Folder should contain a record of all of your health benefits registration forms, Standard Form 2809, and, if appropriate, Standard Form 2810, Notice of Change in Health Benefits. Be sure that when you retire, your records will show a complete history of your health insurance enrollment for the last five years.

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  • A court order following annulment of marriage, legal separation, or divorce can divide or apportion your annuity. The order must expressly direct OPM to pay a portion of your monthly benefit. The spouse's share must be stated as a fixed amount, a percentage or fraction of your annuity, or by a formula with a readily apparent value. The amount cannot exceed the money payable to you after deductions for taxes and insurance.

    A court order may provide for payment of all or part of a refund of your retirement contributions. It may also block the refund payment, but only if the order directs us not to pay the refund and grants a survivor annuity or a portion of your annuity to a legally separated current spouse or former spouse.

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  • Cost of living allowances are determined by Congress.  The amount and whether a COLA is given depends on legislation passed by Congress.

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  • A monthly survivor annuity may be payable to a former spouse after the death of the employee or annuitant if it is provided by a court order or the annuitant's election.

    If the survivor annuity is based on an annuitant's election, the amount is determined in the same manner as the amount due a current surviving spouse. However, if the employee has remarried, this election may only be made if the current spouse consents to it.

    The amount of a court-ordered survivor annuity is based on the court order. A court order may provide the maximum survivor annuity, a lesser amount, or a fraction of the maximum survivor annuity.

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