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Retirement FAQs

  • See information here about cost-of-living adjustments. Then, check with your local personnel service center for an explanation about how the cost-of-living increases apply to those retiring under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records.
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  • If you are the survivor of a deceased retiree who was receiving military retired pay at the time of death, credit for military service cannot be included in your survivor annuity unless the retired pay was:
    • Based on an disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty; or
    • Granted under the provisions of Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code, for reserve retirement. This is formerly under Chapter 67, title 10.
    If you are the survivor of a deceased employee who was receiving military retired pay at the time of death, credit for military will be included in your survivor annuity unless you elect otherwise. However, if the military service is included in your survivor annuity, it will be reduced by the amount of your military survivor's benefit, excluding children's benefits. Post-56 Military Service Credited Under Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Rules- Military service performed on/after January 1, 1957 must be applied toward social security benefits. However, under certain circumstances, it may also be used to determine the amount of your Civil Service Retirement System survivor annuity. If your survivor annuity is based on service that ended before September 9, 1982, and you are eligible for social security benefits upon proper application, you will receive the greater of:
    • an annuity reduced by eliminating the credit for military service performed after December 31, 1956, or
    • an annuity reduced by the amount of the social security benefit attributable to the military service after December 31, 1956.
    If you are not eligible for social security benefits, your survivor annuity will not be reduced. If your survivor annuity is based on service that ended after September 8, 1982, use of the deceased's post-1956 military service to determine the amount of your survivor annuity depends on when the deceased was first covered by the Civil Service Retirement System and whether or not a deposit was made to cover the service. If the deceased was first employed under the retirement system before October 1, 1982, and no deposit was made, we cannot use the post-1956 military service if you are eligible for social security benefits. If the deceased was first employed under the retirement system on/after October 1, 1982, and no deposit was made for the post-1956 military service, we cannot use the post-1956 military service to determine the amount of your survivor annuity regardless of whether or not you are eligible for social security benefits. Post-56 Military Service Credited Under Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Rules- If the post-1956 military service is creditable under FERS rules, a post-1956 deposit must be paid in order to credit the service for eligibility for annuity and computation purposes. If your spouse retired under FERS and performed military service on/after January 1, 1957, his/her post-1956 military service was credited in their annuity if they paid a deposit for the service prior to retirement.   In this case, it will also be used to compute the amount of your survivor benefit.  If the deposit was not paid before your spouse retired, it will not be included in your annuity computation. If you are the survivor of a FERS employee who died while still employed, you must pay the deposit for the post-1956 military service in order to receive credit for any military service performed after 1956. If you are a survivor of a former FERS employee who was eligible for a deferred annuity at the time of death, but not yet receiving an annuity, you cannot pay the post-1956 military deposit to receive credit for the service.  The former employee must have paid the deposit before he/she separated from Federal employment. When Deposit Can Be Made for Post-1956 Military Service- The deposit for post-1956 military service must be made by the employee to his or her employing agency before retirement. A survivor may make the deposit if the employee died while working for the Federal Government.
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  • OPM can refund Federal and/or state income tax withholding ONLY for the current year.  To request a refund, you can email us at retire@opm.gov or call us at 1-888-767-6738.  Remember to provide your CSA or CSF claim number or full SSN.  We can issue a refund of the monies withheld in the current year ONLY.  If you want a partial reimbursement, let us know the exact amount (no percentage) AND provide the exact period (for example 5/10/2011 to 12/31/2011).  Normally, the refund is issued as a separate payment. We cannot refund tax withholding for previous tax years.    To request a refund of your withholdings for previous tax years, please contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for Federal tax withholding refund and your State Revenue Office for state tax withholding refund.  If we are not currently withholding State tax, you must call your State Tax office for a refund.  Find  your State Revenue Office here
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  • When you apply for retirement, you should list your workers compensation on your application. Generally, you cannot receive workers' compensation and civil service annuity payments at the same time. You must decide which benefit is most advantageous and elect to receive that one. If you decide to receive workers' compensation benefits, payments from the Office of Personnel Management will be suspended. If your workers compensation benefit stops, you can ask us to pay your civil service annuity. You can continue to receive your civil service annuity payments when your workers' compensation is for a Scheduled Award. If you missed work before retirement for an on-the-job injury or illness and received workers' compensation, generally, you can receive credit for time in the computation of your civil service annuity.
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  • No. We have no authority to waive the requirements for continuing life insurance coverage. If you are not eligible to continue it, you will be given the chance to change it to an individual policy.
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  • Yes, but not under your family enrollment. There are two possible options for your former spouse to remain enrolled. First, all former spouses are eligible for a Temporary Continuation of Coverage enrollment that lasts for 36 months. Second, former spouses eligible for a monthly court-ordered benefit (either a portion of your monthly benefit, or a survivor benefit upon your death) are eligible for former spouse Federal health insurance. You may wish to review the health benefits information in the Attorney's Handbook or view additional information about Health Insurance.
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  • Generally, you must decide which benefit is most advantageous for you and elect to receive that one. If you decide you want to receive Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) benefits, payments from the Office of Personnel Management will be suspended. But, if your OWCP benefits stop, you can ask us to pay your disability benefit. You can receive an OWCP Scheduled Award and the Office of Personnel Management benefits at the same time. Contact us to tell us if you are awarded workers' compensation benefits and see if you need to make an election between benefits. Refer to the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) for additional information about workers' compensation 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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  • Information on the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Correction Act can be found on OPM’s web site at www.opm.gov/retire/pre/fercca/index.asp.
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  • Electronic payments, which allow for the exchange of funds through paperless methods, are safer, easier and more reliable than paper checks. Direct deposit is the electronic transfer of a payment from a company or organization into an individual's checking or savings account. When a recipient gets their federal benefit payment electronically, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sends an electronic message to their bank or credit union account or to their Direct Express® card account crediting their account with the exact amount of their benefit. The difference is, a check isn’t printed or mailed. The government and businesses use direct deposit to transfer millions of dollars every day.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • A child can continue to receive benefits after reaching age 18 if he or she is incapable of self-support because of a disability which began before age 18. If the disabled child is under age 18 when you apply for benefits, we do not need additional information. However, when the child is within three months of reaching age 18 or over age 18, you should send us the information described in disabling conditions for children. A child can also continue to receive benefits until age 22 if he or she is a full-time student. If the child is listed on the application for benefits as a full-time student who is age 18 or more, we will send a request for certification of school attendance to be completed by the person who expects to receive payments and the school. See more information about the eligibility of full-time students. Annuity payments continue between school years unless the break is more than five months or the student does not plan to return to school on a full-time basis. If the student plans to be out of school for more than five months, we cannot pay benefits. If he or she plans to return to school within five months, but does not do so, benefits stop at the end of the month before the change of plans.
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  • To report a technical problem with OPM’s Insure website, please send an email to insure-webmaster@opm.gov.   To report a technical problem with Retirement Services Online, please send an email to rethelp@opm.gov
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  • The law requires us to make payments by direct deposit to a checking or savings account at a financial institution. However, if receiving your payment in this manner would cause you financial hardship or a hardship due to disability or because of a barrier caused by location or a difficulty reading, you can continue to receive your payment by check. You can use this form [312 KB] to request payment by check instead of direct deposit.
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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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  • Your personnel officer will review the election opportunities to provide benefits after your death to your husband or wife, ex-spouse, or another person you designate as having an insurable interest in your continuing life.  If you do not provide for a monthly benefit after your death, your survivor will not be able to continue coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program.  The advisor will also cover the requirements that each survivor must meet to qualify. When making an election to provide a benefit after your death, you must obtain your husband's or wife's written consent to provide less than the maximum benefit allowed. To designate an insurable interest, you must have a physical examination at your own expense. You local personnel service center is the best place to begin. They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records.
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Total Count: 463, Number of Pages: 31, Page: 10
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