Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.

Retirement FAQs

  • People who will be applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, should be ready to sign up for direct deposit when they apply for federal benefits and understand what information they should have on-hand to sign up. This will ensure they get their benefit payments in the safest, most reliable way possible.  
    • To get benefit payments by direct deposit into an existing financial institution account, people should be prepared with the following information for a smooth enrollment:
      • Account type: checking or savings
      • Account number
      • Financial institution’s routing number
     
    • To sign up for the Direct Express® card, people should notify their federal benefit agency at the time they apply for benefits. Once approved for federal benefits, they will receive their Direct Express® card and an information packet in the mail.
    People who currently receive federal benefits by paper check, should make the switch today to get their money a safer, more reliable way immediately.   If the benefit recipient has a bank or credit union account, he/she should sign up for direct deposit at www.GoDirect.org, by calling (800) 333-1795, or by visiting their local bank/credit union branch or federal benefit agency office.   Those who prefer a prepaid debit card can sign up for the Direct Express® card by calling toll-free (800) 333-1795, signing up online at www.GoDirect.org, or by contacting their local federal benefit agency office. No bank account or credit check is required to sign up for the card.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Please refer to our answer about powers of attorney.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Please refer to our answers about payment information.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • You should review your designation of beneficiary for the lump sum payment of retirement contributions when no one is eligible for monthly payments. This designation is made on a Standard Form 2808 for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or a Standard Form 3102 for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Make sure the form shows the person or people you want designated. If a copy is not available to review, you may wish to file a new designation. If you transferred to FERS, any prior designation you made for CSRS coverage is canceled. You may wish to file a FERS designation. If you were automatically transferred to FERS coverage from CSRS, your designation will remain in force. 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • When you die, the Office of Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) will pay life insurance benefits in a particular order, set by law:
    • If you assigned ownership of your life insurance, OFEGLI will pay benefits in the following order of precedence:
        • First to the designated beneficiary(ies) designated by your assignee(s), if any;
        • Second, if there is no such beneficiary, to your assignee(s).
    • If you did not assign ownership and there is a valid court order on file, OFEGLI will pay benefits in accordance with that court order;
    • If you did not assign ownership and there is no valid court order on file, OFEGLI will pay benefits in the following order of precedence:
        • First, to the beneficiary you designated;
        • Second, if there is no such beneficiary, to your widow or widower;
        • Third, if none of the above, to your child or children, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child (a court will usually have to appoint a guardian to receive payment for a minor child);
        • Fourth, if none of the above, to your parents in equal shares or the entire amount to your surviving parent;
        • Fifth, if none of the above, to the executor or administrator of your estate; or
        • Sixth, if none of the above, to your other next of kin as determined under the laws of the State where you lived.
    You can download the Standard Form (SF) 2823 [119 KB], Designation of Beneficiary, and instructions, or contact us and ask that they be sent to you. You need to keep your designated beneficiaries' addresses current. Failure to do so may mean that your beneficiary cannot be located and therefore benefits will not be paid to that person. The preferred way is to file a new Designation of Beneficiary when a beneficiary's address changes. A new address cannot be added directly to the Designation of Beneficiary form itself, since any cross outs, erasures, or alterations in your form may make it invalid.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the maximum benefit payable after your death to survivors other than children is 55 percent of your annual benefit. Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the maximum is 50 percent. So, the benefit payable to your husband or wife would equal the difference between the court-ordered benefit for your ex-spouse and the maximum benefit payable. For example, if the court awarded your former spouse a benefit equal to 35 percent of your Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuity, your husband or wife could only receive a benefit equal to 20 percent. If your former spouse was awarded the maximum survivor benefit, you can elect a survivor benefit for your spouse on a contingency basis. In this case, your spouse would be paid the survivor benefit upon your death if your former spouse becomes ineligible for the survivor benefit. If you do not provide a survivor benefit for your husband or wife, he or she will not receive a monthly benefit payment after your death. Your spouse would not be able to continue coverage under the Federal Employees' Health Benefits (FEHB) program. If a court-ordered benefit for a former spouse will prevent a spouse from receiving a benefit that is sufficient to meet anticipated needs, you may want to provide an insurable interest benefit for your spouse. In order to elect the insurable interest benefit, both you and your spouse must jointly waive the benefit which could be elected as spouse. Your annuity will be reduced to provide the court-ordered benefit and the insurable interest's benefit. If the ex-spouse loses entitlement to the court-ordered benefit, you can request that the insurable interest benefit be changed to a fully reduced annuity to provide a benefit for the spouse within two years after the ex-spouse loses entitlement.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • You may make one of the following elections regarding a benefit to be paid to your spouse in the event of your death:
    • no survivor benefit;
    • partially reduced annuity; or
    • a fully reduced annuity.
    These elections may provide the following benefits:
    • no survivor benefit;
    • a full or partial annuity for a spouse;
    • a full or partial annuity for a former spouse; or
    • a combination of the two.
    Things to consider when making the election include:
    • your spouse's future retirement benefits based on his or her own employment;
    • other sources of income;
    • whether the other sources of income are protected against inflation with Cost-of-Living Adjustments; and
    • your spouse's need for continued coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
    There is an opportunity to increase survivor benefits within 18 months after the annuity begins. However, this election may be more expensive than one made at retirement.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Recurring monthly payments may be made to the former spouse of a deceased retiree if the retiree elected a reduced annuity to provide the benefit or the benefit is payable under a court order. A former spouse must also meet the nine month marriage requirement. For additional information about court-ordered benefits, refer to the pamphlet, "Court-Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses [7 MB],"and see family benefits for information about survivor benefit elections. See how the amount of the former spouse survivor benefit is determined.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Generally, your income from employment with the Government or any other employer will not affect your survivor annuity.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Survivor benefit elections for current and/or former spouses can be made only at retirement, or based on a qualifying event after retirement. The applications for retirement provide detailed information and instructions about these elections. If the marriage terminates after retirement, you must contact us and tell us that they want to elect to provide a survivor benefit for a former spouse. We will send the necessary explanation and forms to elect the benefit if you are eligible to make the election.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), your annuity is reduction by 2.5 percent of the first $3,600 of the amount you choose as a basis for the survivor annuity, plus 10 percent of any amount over $3,600. Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), your annuity is reduced by 10 percent for a full survivor annuity or 5 percent for a partial survivor annuity.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The 1099Rs are mailed during the last week of January. We are required by law to make the 1099R available to over 1.9 million annuitants, survivor annuitants, heirs and assignees of deceased annuitants by January 31st of each year. We also upload these 1099Rs to our Services Online website.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.


Total Count: 463, Number of Pages: 31, Page: 11
Control Panel