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Retirement FAQs

  • Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset program, a survivor annuity for your spouse is computed in the same manner as a survivor annuity would be computed based on full CSRS coverage. However, under CSRS-Offset, your spouse's annuity may be reduced if he or she is eligible for social security benefits based on your federal service. If he or she is not eligible for social security benefits, the civil service annuity is not reduced. See additional information about death benefits.
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  • No unused sick leave can be used in the computation of the Phased Retirement annuity.  However, at full retirement the unused sick leave will be taken into account.  While the computational provisions are somewhat complex, the value of the sick leave in that computation will be the same as for an individual retiring from a full-time position.
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  • If you need to contact us before you receive your claim number, first contact your former payroll office to find the date your records were transferred to OPM. Your payroll office should provide you with the number and date of the Register of Separations and Transfers. You will also need your Payroll Identification Number.
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  • You can reduce your premiums by reducing your coverage. However, if you reduce coverage, you cannot increase it again at a later date. See our answer to a frequently asked question about coverage after age 65 and our web pages at http://www.opm.gov/insure/life/index.asp to obtain more information about the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program. To change your coverage, write us.
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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.  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, an 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.
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  • Send your request by e-mail to screceipts@opm.gov and a response will be returned by e-mail.  Be sure to include your name, date of birth and CSD Claim Number.
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  • Yes. If you are under age 60, your benefit will stop if:
    1. you are found to be medically recovered from your disabling condition;
    2. in any calendar year your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay from the position you retired from (This is also known as a restoration to earning capacity.); or
    3. you are reemployed in the Federal service in a position equivalent to what you held at retirement. (This is called administratively recovered.)
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  • A court order following annulment of marriage, legal separation, or divorce can divide or apportion your annuity. The order must expressly direct OPM to pay a portion of your monthly benefit. The spouse's share must be stated as a fixed amount, a percentage or fraction of your annuity, or by a formula with a readily apparent value. The amount cannot exceed the money payable to you after deductions for taxes and insurance. A court order may provide for payment of all or part of a refund of your retirement contributions. It may also block the refund payment, but only if the order directs us not to pay the refund and grants a survivor annuity or a portion of your annuity to a legally separated current spouse or former spouse.
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  • Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you will be given the opportunity to pay for temporary service prior to January 1, 1989. Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), if you had service on/after October 1, 1982, for which no contributions were made, we will give you the opportunity to pay the contributions, and will tell you what difference it makes to your monthly benefit. If you had unpaid service prior to October 1, 1982, we do not notify you before we finish processing your application because it generally is not to your advantage to make the payment.
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  • Participation is entirely voluntary, and requires the mutual consent of both the employee and employing agency.  In order to participate, an individual must have been employed on a full-time basis for the preceding three years.  Under CSRS, the individual must be eligible for immediate retirement with at least 30 years of service at age 55, or with 20 years of service at age 60.  Under FERS, the individual must be eligible for immediate retirement with at least 30 years of service at MRA (minimum retirement age 55-57 depending upon year of birth), or with 20 years of service at age 60.
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  • You may receive a survivor annuity and a separate benefit that is based on your own service. Generally, if you are the surviving spouse of more than one retiree, you must elect one of the benefits. We cannot pay you two survivor annuities. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible for a widow or widower to receive more than one survivor annuity simultaneously. If, after age 55, you marry a Federal employee and you are again widowed, you may be eligible to receive annuities based on the service of both of your spouses.
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  • The IRS is responsible for the changes to the Federal income tax withholding tables. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has no control over the Federal income tax withholding tables. OPM used the tables provided by the IRS, which are set in law by the United States Congress.
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  • Your family enrollment covers yourself, your current spouse, and your eligible children under age 26.
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  • You are taxed on your gross annuity according to your most current W4-P tax marital status election on file. You can change your election at anytime. Go to www.servicesonline.opm.gov or email us at retire@opm.gov. Your 1099R will reflect a reduction in your gross annuity after your retirement application is finalized based on the amount of apportionment that you pay your former spouse. There will be a footnote on the 1099R stating the amount of the apportionment paid to your former spouse for the year. Because your annuity is subject to a court ordered apportionment, OPM does not calculate the taxable portion of your annuity. The 1099R will show ‘Unknown’ in the 2.b ‘Taxable Amount’ box.  You may wish to speak with a representative at the Internal Revenue Service or a tax advisor to help you calculate the tax-free portion of the calculation. Current tax tables for this year are available in Internal Revenue Publication 15. You may view this publication on line by accessing the IRS web site at www.irs.gov. You may also call the IRS toll free for tax advice at: 1-800-829-1040 (agent).  Your former spouse must report the amount of apportionment he/she receives as taxable income and is required to pay taxes on these funds. Apportionment monies cannot be used as alimony deductions on a tax return. Please note it is your responsibility to make sure enough federal income tax is withheld from your annuity and to check the amount of tax withheld early in the year to be sure you are paying the correct amount.
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  • Refer to information about payments and about address and withholding changes.
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Total Count: 463, Number of Pages: 31, Page: 8
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