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Retirement FAQs

FERCCA

  • We at OPM have set up a plan to help everyone who is entitled to relief by FERCCA. The plan includes:
    • Identifying individuals and adding their names to the FERCCA File Database (See the question What is the FERCCA File Database?);
    • Gathering information on those individuals from personnel and payroll records and other sources;
    • Verifying options under FERCCA; and
    • Helping individuals who have a choice of retirement plans make informed decisions
    Our goal is to ensure that everyone receives the same high level of customer service. If you have a choice of retirement plans under FERCCA, you'll receive an in-depth comparison of your benefits under each option. The comparison will include how much you can expect to receive under each retirement plan, including Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan benefits. We will provide you with an opportunity for one-on-one personal assistance to help you weigh your options. This individual assistance will be available to anyone who has a choice of retirement plans under FERCCA. We are working with agencies to implement this high level of service as quickly as possible. Agencies are busy identifying eligible individuals. We have also started the second step, collecting personnel and payroll records.
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  • You must file the appeal with the MSPB within 30 calendar days after the date you receive the decision letter.
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  • It depends on when you withdrew your TSP contributions and the kind of withdrawal you made. You can make an election under FERCCA if you:
    • Separated from Government service after your agency corrected your records—but you did not retire—and the TSP automatically paid your account balance to you because it was $3,500 or less;
    • Retired and withdrew your TSP contributions; or
    • Received a financial hardship in-service withdrawal, or a TSP loan.
    You cannot make an election under FERCCA if you:
    • Separated from Government service after your agency corrected your records—but you did not retire—and you withdrew your TSP contributions. This does not include the TSP automatic payment described above; or
    • Received an age-based in-service withdrawal from your TSP account while employed.
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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.
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  • All individuals who are registered in the FERCCA Database before September 19, 2002, will not be adversely affected by the time limits for making an election.   In general, if your qualifying retirement coverage error was previously corrected, the time limit for making an election expires on September 19, 2002. However, your employing agency or OPM (for separated employees, retirees, and survivors) can waive the time limit if it's determined that you exercised due diligence, but could not make an election within the time limit because of circumstances beyond your control. OPM will issue instructions to agencies stating that anyone registered in the FERCCA Database before September 19, 2002, will be considered to have exercised due diligence and should be granted a waiver of the time limit.   If your qualifying retirement coverage error was not previously corrected, you will have 6 months to make an election from the date you receive notice of the error and a statement of your election options.
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  • I am a retiree registered in the FERCCA Database and recently received a letter from OPM informing me that I am ineligible for relief under FERCCA. The letter also included a form that I could fill out and send to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to appeal the decision. What is the MSPB and what does it have to do with FERCCA? The MSPB is an independent quasi-judicial agency in the Executive Branch that serves as the guardian of Federal Merit Systems. Since it began operations in January 1979, its mission has been to ensure that Federal employees are protected against abuses by agency management; that Executive Branch agencies make employment decisions in accordance with Merit System principles; and that Federal Merit Systems are kept free of prohibited personnel practices. The MSPB accomplishes its mission in a variety of ways, but mainly it functions as a court and adjudicates Federal employee appeals of agency personnel actions. Consequently, the MSPB is the authority that will hear appeals on eligibility verification arising out of cases of erroneous retirement coverage.
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  • Actually, you're probably better off in CSRS Offset because you're earning benefits under both Social Security and CSRS. Your combined benefits under Social Security and CSRS Offset will be at least the same as, if not more than, what you would have received under Social Security and CSRS if your record had not been corrected. While working, you are earning retirement credits under the relatively generous CSRS formula. You also are adding to any Social Security benefits you have already earned, increasing your career earnings under Social Security and, as a result, your Social Security benefit. When you retire, OPM will compute your CSRS Offset benefit under the same rules that apply to other CSRS retirees. When you become eligible for Social Security benefits, OPM will reduce your benefit. This reduction is based on the value of the Social Security benefit you earned during your CSRS Offset service. In other words, instead of getting one check from OPM for all of your Federal service, some of the payment will come from the Social Security Administration. In addition, with more of your retirement income paid from Social Security, you have an increased tax advantage because part, or all, of your Social Security benefit will be exempt from Federal income tax. Only a small portion of a CSRS, or CSRS Offset, benefit is excluded from Federal income tax.
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  • FERCCA allows OPM to compensate individuals for certain expenses and losses related to correction of a retirement coverage error. OPM will issue detailed guidance regarding the specific types of expenses and losses that will be compensated. You will receive our guidance as soon as it is available if you are registered on the FERCCA File Database.
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  • If you have received notification that you are eligible for FERCCA relief (a Letter of Eligibility), processing of your case will continue in order to develop an Election Summary package. This package will be mailed to you and followed soon thereafter by a telephone call from a counselor who will confirm that you received the package, had sufficient time to review it, and who will be prepared to answer any questions that you have about the information in the package and what the next steps are to complete the process.
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  • Yes, if you choose CSRS Offset coverage, you can get credit for that deposit service by taking an actuarial reduction. That's because the nature of the service changes from FERS to CSRS time when you elect CSRS Offset coverage. If you remain in FERS, you will have to pay a FERS deposit before you can get credit for the service time. You would not be eligible for the actuarial reduction Before you're asked to choose retirement plans, OPM will give you information about your benefits under both CSRS Offset and FERS. They will tell you how much you owe under both. They will also explain how payment of a deposit and the actuarial reduction will affect your benefit.
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  • Your current employing agency will correct the records in accordance with OPM instructions. If an employing agency no longer exists as an organization, and there is no successor agency, then OPM will correct the records.
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  • You may not have a choice about Social Security coverage. If you should have had Social Security coverage during your Federal employment, then you must have Social Security coverage in addition to your Federal retirement coverage. FERCCA does not allow you to choose a retirement plan without Social Security coverage. If you were incorrectly put in CSRS when you should have been put in CSRS Offset, your retirement coverage must be corrected to CSRS Offset. Likewise, if you were incorrectly put in CSRS Offset when you should have been put in CSRS, your retirement coverage must be corrected to CSRS because you are not eligible for Social Security coverage during your Federal employment. You cannot choose to keep your Social Security coverage. However, Social Security will give you credit for all but the last 3 years before your record was corrected. See the question I should have been CSRS. Instead, I paid into Social Security. What happens to the Social Security taxes I paid when my agency corrects my retirement coverage to CSRS? for more information. If you were erroneously put in FERS and should have been put in CSRS, then you will have a chance to choose whether you want to keep FERS (and Social Security) coverage.
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  • The Guidelines will be available on the FERCCA website and will be sent directly to all individuals who are eligible to apply for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses. They will include information on which out-of-pocket expenses may be reimbursed and the application process.
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  • OPM will reimburse out-of-pocket expenses such as payments of additional Social Security taxes, payment of additional retirement deductions, and other out-of-pocket expenses that you incurred because of a retirement coverage error. OPM cannot pay you for claimed losses related to lost investment opportunities. Claimed losses related to forgone contributions and earnings under the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) won't be paid as out-of-pocket expenses. Lost earnings on make-up contributions to the TSP will be paid directly to your TSP account by your employing agency.
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  • If you believe you are eligible under FERCCA, you should contact your agency's Human Resources Office. OPM works with representatives from your agency to provide guidance in determining an employee's eligibility for relief under FERCCA. You will be asked some preliminary information to assess your potential eligibility, however, a final determination can not be made until your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is reviewed. You will be notified of your eligibility in writing. If you are about to retire, let your agency know. We at OPM will work with your agency to get you the information you need before you retire.
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Total Count: 133, Number of Pages: 9, Page: 8
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