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Retirement FAQs

Post-Retirement

  • The children's survivor benefit is a specific dollar amount established by a formula in the governing United States Code and is increased by Cost-of-Living Adjustments. Each child's rate is determined individually based on the circumstances described below. When the child has a living parent who was married to the employee or retiree, the benefit payable to the child is the lesser of:
    • $469 per month per child; or
    • $1,409 per month divided by the number of eligible children.
    When the child does not have a living parent who was married to the employee or retiree, the benefit payable to the child is the lesser of:
    • $563 per month per child; or
    • $1,691 per month divided by the number of eligible children.
    The rates quoted above are payable from December 1, 2009 through November 30, 2010. They will be increased by future Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Cost-of-Living Adjustments. If the deceased retired under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or was an employee covered under FERS at the time of death, the combined benefit of all the children is reduced by the total amount of child’s benefits that are payable (or would, upon proper application, be payable) under Title II of the Social Security Act for the same month to all children of the deceased based on the total earnings of the deceased.  In many cases, the FERS children’s benefit is reduced to $0.
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  • The appropriate application for Death Benefits under the CSRS or FERS must be filed with an original signature to the Office of Personnel Management.  Your survivor should attach a certified copy of the death certificate, a copy of your marriage certificate, birth certificates of eligible children along with a certified copy of any divorce decree, and property settlement agreement that occurred on or after May 7, 1985.  Applications may be obtained online at opm.gov/retire or by contacting the Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738.
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  • Yes, the provisions of the law, along with the retirement and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program regulation are in A Handbook for Attorneys on Court-Ordered Retirement, Health Benefits, and Life Insurance Under the Civil Service Retirement System, Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), RI 38-116. [446 KB] You can also order it from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, P.O.Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. The order processing code is 7612 and the document number is S/N 006-000-01408-9. You can order by telephone at (202) 512-1800. The regulations covering both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) benefits are in part 838 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations. The regulations contain extensive model language that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) encourages attorneys to use in preparing court orders.
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  • You can find this information on our Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) web pages.
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  • The Go Direct campaign launched in 2005 as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's and the Federal Reserve Banks' effort to increase the use of electronic payments for federal benefits and to reduce the use of paper checks for federal benefit payments. With the help of organization partners, media and events, the campaign educates Americans by providing the tools and resources they need to enroll in, or transition to, electronic federal benefit payments.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • We can correct or amend your 1099R.  Call us at (888) 767-6738 or send us an email at retire@opm.gov   OPM does not forward corrections or amendments to the Internal Revenue Service.  The corrected or amended form will be mailed to you at the mailing address we have on file.  It is your responsibility to forward the corrected or amended 1099R to the Internal Revenue Service with your amended tax return.  
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  • A court order dividing your retirement benefits can be modified by either party at any time. However, survivor annuity benefits cannot be approved based on modifications to a court order made after your retirement or death.
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  • People who do not choose an electronic payment option at the time they apply for federal benefits or by March 1, 2013, will receive their payments via the Direct Express® card so they will not experience any interruption in payment.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • If your marriage ends after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor benefits for your former spouse. To make an election, you must notify us in writing within two years of the date the marriage ended. You should include a court-certified copy of the decree effecting the dissolution of the marriage, and any property or marital settlement agreement. See where to send the court order. If you were married to the former spouse when you retired and he or she consented to an election of less than the maximum survivor benefit, you cannot provide a benefit that is larger than your original election. The calculation of the reduction in your annuity to provide the benefit for an ex-spouse is the same as the reduction for a benefit for a spouse. When you contact us, we will send you a statement describing the cost of the election and ask you to confirm your election. If you are electing to provide a survivor annuity for an ex-spouse and you remarried, your current spouse must consent to the election.
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  • A former spouse survivor annuity and an apportionment are two distinct benefits payable to a former spouse.  The former spouse annuity is payable after the death of an employee or retiree.  An apportionment is based on a portion of the retiree’s gross or net annuity and is generally payable during the period of retirement.  In order to qualify for one or both benefits, the court order must be specific in the type of benefit awarded.   A former spouse survivor annuity terminates: ·         In accordance with the terms of the court order; or ·         Upon remarriage before age 55; or ·         Death of the retiree or the former spouse.   A portion of a retiree’s annuity stops at the earliest of: ·         The date specified in a court order which requires termination; ·         The last day of the first month before OPM receives a court order that invalidates, vacates or sets aside the court order submitted by the former spouse. ·         The last day of the first month after OPM receives an amended court order ·         The last day of the first month before the death of the retiree ·         The last day of the month before the former spouse’s death, unless the order provides for continuation of the apportionment.
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  • Yes. The Direct Express® card is a safe, no- or low-cost electronic alternative. No bank or credit union account or credit check is required to enroll. Cardholders can make purchases, pay bills and get cash. This also is an option for those who prefer a prepaid debit card recommended by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Many card services are free, including:  
    • Purchases at retail locations
    • Cash back at retailers at the point of sale
    • Optional notification by phone, email or text message of deposits
    • Optional low-balance alert when account balance falls below a certain level
    • Balance inquiries at ATMs, by phone or online
    • Access to the toll-free customer service number or website 24 hours a day, seven days a week
    • One (1) ATM cash withdrawal in the United States for each deposit posted to the account. ATM owner surcharges may apply at ATMs outside the Direct Express® card surcharge free network.
      (Visit www.GoDirect.org for information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • The types of benefits payable are current spouse survivor annuities, former spouse annuities voluntarily elected or awarded by court order in divorces granted on/after May 7, 1985; or a one-time lump sum benefit. Under FERS, a basic employee death benefit may be payable to the surviving widow or widower of an employee who dies while employed.
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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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  • If you are enrolled for family life insurance, and a covered member of your family dies, you can contact us in one of three ways: U.S. Office of Personnel Management Retirement Services Program Post Office Box 45 Boyers, PA 16017-0045. You can download the necessary claim form and instructions, or contact us and ask that they be sent to you.
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  • If you are married when you retire and you chose not to provide a spousal survivor benefit, you must obtain your spouse's consent to the election. The consent form, which is part of the application for (Civil Service (CSRS) [930 KB] or Federal Employees (FERS) [448 KB] Retirement Systems) benefits, must be completed before a notary public or other official authorized to take oaths. The spousal consent requirement may be waived if it is shown that the spouse's whereabouts cannot be determined. A request for a waiver must be accompanied by:
    • a judicial determination that the spouse's whereabouts cannot be determined, or
    • affidavits by the employee and two other persons, at least one of whom is not related to the employee, attesting to the efforts made to locate the spouse and the inability to do so. The employee should submit other documentary evidence, such as newspaper stories about the spouse's disappearance.
    The spousal consent requirement can be waived based on exceptional circumstances if the employee presents a judicial determination that exceptional circumstances warrant a waiver. The order must state that:
    • state that the case before the court involves a Federal employee who is retiring;
    • the employee's spouse was given notice and an opportunity to be heard in the matter;
    • the court considered 5 USC 8339(j)(1) and 5 CFR 831.618(b) as it relates to a waiver of the spousal consent requirements for a married Federal employee to elect an annuity without reduction to provide a survivor benefit to a spouse at retirement; and
    • the court finds that exceptional circumstances justify waiver of the spousal consent requirement.
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Total Count: 189, Number of Pages: 13, Page: 7
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