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Retirement FAQs

Go to our new customer support center to get answers to top questions, learn about popular topics, and find resources for more support.

Pre-Retirement

  • You can pay your premiums directly to the Office of Personnel Management. In this case, we will tell you how to make these arrangements. You should not send any payments until we do.
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  • Please refer to our answer about powers of attorney.
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  • When we approve your application for disability retirement, we may determine that based on your medical condition you will periodically have to provide us with current medical information in order to continue receiving benefits.
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  • You may be able to receive retirement credit for active-duty military service after 1956 if you make a payment for that service. You must make the payment before you stop working for the government. You should ask your local servicing personnel center for help in determining whether to make this payment. They can provide personalized assistance because they have your employment records.
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  • FERS stands for the Federal Employees Retirement System. FERS became effective in 1987 and most new Federal civilian employees hired after 1983 are automatically covered by FERS. FERS is a three-tiered retirement plan. The three components are the:
    • FERS Basic Benefit
    • Social Security Benefit
    • Thrift Savings Plan Benefit
    Most FERS employees pay 0.8% of basic pay for FERS basic benefits. The agency contributes 10.7% or more to FERS. The FERS basic benefit provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits and may be reduced for early retirement or to provide survivor protection. The FERS basic benefit 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). Generally, the FERS basic benefit is 1% of your high-3 average pay times your years of creditable service.   FERS employees can currently contribute up to 11% of basic pay to the Thrift Savings Plan. An automatic Government contribution adds 1% of basic pay to every FERS employee's TSP account. The Government adds up to another 4% of basic pay, depending on how much the employee chooses to contribute.
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  • Please refer to our answers about payment information.
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  • That depends on when you worked and whether you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Make a selection from the list of circumstances below which best describes your situation and ask your local personnel service center for assistance because they have your employment records.
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  • Phased Retirement will encourage the most experienced Federal employees to extend their contributions to the Nation, and will operate as a tool to ensure continuity of operations and to facilitate knowledge management. The main purpose of Phased Retirements is to enhance mentoring and training of the employees who will be filling the positions of more experienced employees who are preparing for full retirement.  It is intended to encourage experienced employees to remain, in at least a part-time capacity, until less experienced employees are fully equipped to fulfill the same duties and responsibilities as those employees who wish to retire.  An effective Phased Retirement plan has been a long-sought goal.  However, under prior law, the problem was that an individual who was retirement eligible but wished to continue employment on a part-time basis generally had little economic incentive to do so because an employee’s potential retirement benefits would often be equal to or greater than their salary would be for part-time employment. Phased Retirement will in essence permit an individual to retire from part of their employment, while continuing the remainder and continuing to earn additional retirement benefits proportionately based upon the additional less-than-full-time employment.
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  • Your Official Personnel Folder should contain a record of your current Federal life insurance coverage on a Standard Form 2817, "Life Insurance Election", and, if appropriate, your current life insurance designation of beneficiary, Standard Form 2823. If there is no designation of beneficiary, benefits will be paid in the following order:
    1. Your widow or widower.
    2. Your children in equal shares.
    3. Your parents in equal shares.
    4. Your appointed executor or administrator of your estate.
    5. Your next of kin under the laws of the state you reside in when you die.
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  • Yes, if the employing agency agrees to the change.  The Phased Retirement annuity will then terminate.  Upon retirement, the individual’s retirement will be calculated under the laws then in effect, with the period of Phased Retirement treated as part-time service.  Once an individual has gone back to full-time employment, they cannot elect to go back into Phased Retirement.
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  • Phased Retirement is a new human resource management tool made possible by section 100121 of Public Law 112-141, the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act," or "MAP-21," approved on July 6, 2012.
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  • The law provides that employees subject to mandatory retirement (including Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, Nuclear Materials Couriers, Air Traffic Controllers, Customs and Border Protection Officers, or members of the Capitol Police or Supreme Court Police) may not participate.  However, “grandfathered” Customs and Border Protection Officers who are not subject to mandatory retirement may participate.
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  • The period of Phased Retirement will be treated as a period of part-time service in the computation of the survivor annuity.  However, the Basic Employee Death Benefit will be based upon the full-time salary of the position.
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  • An actuarial reduction allows you to receive benefit without having to pay an amount due in a lump sum. OPM reduces your annuity in a way that, on average, allows the Retirement Fund to recover the amount of the missing lump sum over your lifetime. The actuarial reduction becomes a permanent reduction in your benefit. The amount of the actuarial reduction depends on your age and the amount of the lump sum you would otherwise have to pay at the time you retire. To compute an actuarial reduction, OPM divides the lump sum amount by the present value factor for your age at retirement.
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  • Initially, individuals will only be able to transition to a half-time schedule. After there is experience with the program, OPM may issue regulations that provide for other work and retirement proportions.
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Total Count: 216, Number of Pages: 15, Page: 5
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