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Retirement Services 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.

  • You may receive a CSRS survivor annuity and social security payments. You may receive a FERS survivor annuity and social security payments.  However, if you are the survivor of a FERS retiree, you cannot receive the FERS survivor supplement if you are eligible for social security mother, father or disability benefits based on the deceased annuitant’s account.  Please contact the local office of the Social Security Administration for information about social security benefits. If you receive social security benefits based on your own employment, there may be a reduction in the social security benefit you receive based on your deceased spouse's service. Contact the Social Security Administration for more information about the Government Pension Offset at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html. See the information below about benefits which may be payable to the surviving spouse of a deceased annuitant who was covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset program. Under these circumstances, a survivor may be eligible for both a CSRS annuity and social security benefits.
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  • There are many reasons for changing your health benefits enrollment. If you are changing your coverage because of one of the reasons listed below, we can make the change based on your telephone call. When calling you must have your claim number and social security number, as well as the enrollment number and name for your new plan. Changes we can make by phone include:
    • You are changing to self-only coverage from family coverage;
    • You are changing plans because you have moved out of the service area of your Health Maintenance Organization (HMO);
    • You turned 65 and are changing to a lower cost plan option because you are eligible for Medicare;
    • You are changing your enrollment during the annual Health Benefits Open Season, which usually runs from mid-November to early December; or
    • You are changing to family coverage because you marry, or have or adopt a child. (This option is not available to survivors.)
    You should contact us within the period beginning 31 days before up to 60 days after the date of the event. You may change the plan in which you are enrolled or from high to low option coverage during the annual Open Season for electing coverage. If you need assistance with your health benefits enrollment, call 1 (888) 767-6738 , to change your enrollment or if you need to speak with a Customer Service Specialist. Or, see our web pages at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/index.asp to obtain information about health insurance benefits online. If you are eligible for TRICARE or TRICARE-For-Life benefits, you may suspend your FEHB coverage and premium payments. You are able to reenroll in the FEHB Program during the Open Season, or immediately if you are involuntarily disenrolled from the TRICARE program. Select this link to find answers to frequently asked questions on this topic.
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  • If no survivor annuity is payable upon the retiree's death, any remaining portion, representing either the remaining annuity and/or retirement contributions not paid to the retiree, is payable to the person(s) eligible under the order of precedence. If the court assigned payment under a court order, we will pay the lump sum in accordance with that court order. Otherwise, we will pay benefits under the following order of precedence:
    • to the designated beneficiary;
    • if there is no such beneficiary, to the widow or widower;
    • if none of the above, to the 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);
    • if none of the above, to the parents in equal shares or the entire amount to a surviving parent;
    • if none of the above, to the executor or administrator of the estate; or
    • if none of the above, to the next of kin as determined under the laws of the State where the retiree lived.
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  • Check with your local personnel service center to verify that you have enough service and meet the age requirements for retirement eligibility. They can provide personalized assistance because they have your employment records. Your local personnel service center will also talk with you about the date your annuity payments can start based on the date you pick.
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  • If you are leaving your Federal job and want a refund of your retirement contributions, you can get an application from your personnel office, complete it, and return it to them. If you are no longer in the Federal service, you can acquire the appropriate application from our website. The applications are shown below: If you are still working, submit your application to your servicing personnel office. If you have left Federal service, submit your application to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
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  • When we receive your retirement application, we will notify you and will provide a civil service claim identification number (a seven-digit number preceded by "CSA"). You must use that identification number whenever you contact OPM about your annuity. To check the status of your form or application, you may contact the Retirement Office at (888) 767-6738 or retire@opm.gov.  The phone lines are open from 7:30 am to 7:45 pm (Eastern Standard Time). It is a busy phone number so we encourage you to call early in the morning or after 5:00 pm when the phone lines are less busy.
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  • Generally, if you are receiving a regular retirement, it will continue and your salary will be equivalently reduced. But, if you retired for disability or because your job was eliminated, your eligibility for the retirement benefit might end. You can discuss this with your prospective employer or provide us with detailed information about the position so that we can let you know if your benefit would stop. We need to know the title, grade, salary, tour of duty, and retirement coverage provided by the position you are considering. If your retirement benefit ends, your health benefits coverage as a retiree stops as well. You can enroll for health benefits where you are employed. Your life insurance as a retiree stops without a right to convert to an individual policy. Your eligibility for life insurance coverage will be the same as any other new employee.
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  • The program will become effective at the time set in the regulations to be issued.  Implementation of the program is an important goal of OPM, and this will be accomplished as soon as possible.  
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  • If you are receiving regular payments and you have not received your temporary numeric password, you need to contact us for help. If you need to reset your complex password, select the "Forgot Password" link on the main Services Online page. This password reset tool requires that you have an email address on file and have already established your security questions. Do not request a new Password if:
    • You have already requested a password by mail within the last 7 days or, for requests by email, if you have requested a password by mail within the last 4 days;
    • You have called the Retirement Operations Center and requested a new password;
    • You have already requested a password by email within the last 24 hours.
    By requesting a new password in any of the above instances, you will further delay your access to SOL.
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  •  If your 1099R Statement Box 2.a for the Taxable Amount is marked as 'Unknown'; this means that OPM did not calculate the tax-free portion of your annuity.   Some of the most common reasons for not calculating the tax-free portion of your annuity: 
    • Your case is a Disability Retirement
    • You retired prior to November 19, 1996
    • You have Voluntary Contributions
    • Apportionment was paid to your former spouse(s)
    • Your case has not been finalized and you are in Interim pay status
    • You have Survivor benefits payable and/or
    • Your case is an Office of Workers Compensation case
    OPM CAN NOT provide tax advice.  Please contact the Internal Revenue Service toll free at 1-800-829-1040 to speak with an agent who will provide free tax advice. 
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Total Count: 240, Number of Pages: 24, Page: 2
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