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Retirement FAQs

  • Refer to information about payments and about address and withholding changes.
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  • A monthly survivor annuity may be payable to a former spouse after the death of the employee or annuitant if it is provided by a court order or the annuitant's election. If the survivor annuity is based on an annuitant's election, the amount is determined in the same manner as the amount due a current surviving spouse. However, if the employee has remarried, this election may only be made if the current spouse consents to it. The amount of a court-ordered survivor annuity is based on the court order. A court order may provide the maximum survivor annuity, a lesser amount, or a fraction of the maximum survivor annuity.
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  • Yes. Cost-of-Living Adjustments are effective each December first. The adjustment appears in your January payment on the first business day of the month, which is when your benefit for December is paid. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and FERS Special Cost-of-Living Adjustments are not provided until age 62, except for disability, survivor benefits, and other special provision retirements. Also, under FERS, if you have a CSRS component, the component is subject to the CSRS COLA. Read about Cost-of-Living Adjustments for those who receive benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System, Organization and Disability Retirement System (ORDS), the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), or FERS Special.
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  • That depends on when you worked and whether you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Make a selection from the list of circumstances below which best describes your situation and ask your local personnel service center for assistance because they have your employment records.
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  • Yes. If your disability benefit stopped because you were found recovered either medically or administratively, your benefit can resume only if the disability recurs and you do not exceed the 80 percent earnings limitation. If your disability benefit stopped merely because you exceeded the earnings limitation, your benefit can resume effective the first of the year after you no longer exceed the 80 percent earnings limit.
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  • You can use voluntary contributions you made while working under the Civil Service Retirement System to purchase additional annuity when you retire or you can withdraw the contributions in a one-time payment. You can purchase additional annuity of $7 per year for each $100 of voluntary contributions, plus 20 cents for each full year you are over age 55 when you retire. By electing to take a reduction in the additional annuity, you can also purchase additional annuity for a surviving spouse who may receive a benefit after your death. Most people want to withdraw their voluntary contributions in a one-time payment. If the amount of the voluntary contributions, plus interest, is more than $200, you can roll the funds into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other qualified retirement plan to defer income tax. If you want to withdraw your voluntary contributions, you should submit either a Form RI 38-124 or Standard Form 2802 with the statement in item number seven, "I want only my voluntary contributions to be refunded to me." You can get these forms from your employer. You should submit your request at least 60 days before your expected retirement.
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  • When a benefit recipient signs up to receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, VA  or other federal benefits via the Direct Express® card, their payment will be automatically deposited to their Direct Express® card account on payment date. The card can be used to make purchases at stores that accept Debit MasterCard®, pay bills, purchase money orders for the U.S. Post Office, and get cash from an ATM or financial institution that displays the MasterCard® acceptance mark.   For instance, if the recipient’s benefit payment is $500 monthly:
    • On payment date, $500 is deposited directly to the card. There is nothing for the recipient to do. There are no fees for depositing the full amount to the card.
    • On that same day, if the recipient spends $100 at the grocery store using the Direct Express® card, $100 is automatically deducted from their balance. They now have $400 left on the card. There is no fee charged for using the card to make purchases. Throughout the month, as purchases are made, each purchase amount is deducted from the card account’s current balance (in this instance, $400).
    • If the card balance gets down to $0, the card will be denied for all future purchases until it is reloaded with next month’s benefit payment.
    • If the recipient only spends $250 in this month, the remaining $250 will be added to the next month’s $500 benefit payment. The recipient now has $750 on the card the next month.
      (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • If you are a surviving child of the enrollee and the enrollee also has a surviving spouse or child eligible to receive a CSRS or FERS survivor annuity benefit, you can be covered under the survivor annuitant’s  Self and Family enrollment until age 26. You can continue coverage beyond age 26 if you are incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 26.  If you are a surviving child of the enrollee who is eligible for a CSRS or FERS survivor annuity benefit and the enrollee has no other survivors, the enrollment will be changed to a self only enrollment in your name. You will be responsible for paying the premiums either by having them withheld from your survivor annuity or through direct billing.  You can continue this FEHB coverage until your survivor annuity ends at age 18, or age 22 if you are a full-time student.  You can continue coverage beyond age 18 if you are incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 18. Your coverage will continue for 31 days after eligibility ends, unless the enrollment is cancelled. During that time, you may enroll in Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) or convert to an individual policy offered by your FEHB plan.
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  • If deceased died while covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS): If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased employee, recurring monthly payments may be made to you if your spouse completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service and was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). To qualify for the monthly benefit, you must have been married to the employee for at least nine months. A survivor annuity may still be payable if the employee's death occurred before nine months if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the employee. If deceased died while covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS): If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased employee who was covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you may be eligible for one or both of the following benefits- Basic Employee Death Benefit
    • If the employee who died completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service, and
    • The employee who died was covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) when he/she died, and
    • You were married to the employee for at least nine months (if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the employee, the nine month requirement does not apply).
    Monthly Benefit
    • The employee who died completed at least 10 years of creditable service (18 months of which must be creditable civilian service), and
    • The employee who died was covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) when he/she died, and
    • You were married to the employee for at least nine months (if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the employee, the nine month requirement does not apply.)
    If a former spouse was awarded part of the total survivor CSRS or FERS annuity, you will receive the remainder. If the former spouse loses entitlement because of death or remarriage before age 55, you may begin to receive the full annuity. If the employee's death was job-related, workers' compensation benefits may be payable. See how the amount of the monthly survivor benefit is determined.
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  • When you become eligible for Social Security, your military service after 1956 will be used in the computation of your Social Security. Unless you paid a deposit, prior to retirement, for your military service after 1956, it will no longer count toward your retirement benefit. However, if you did pay the deposit, no adjustment to your retirement benefit is made at age 62.
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  • If you retire under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the maximum survivor benefit payable is 55 percent of your unreduced annual benefit. If you retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the maximum survivor benefit payable is 50 percent of your unreduced annual benefit.
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  • Both the personnel and payroll office in your agency and OPM are responsible for processing your annuity claim.
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  • Your Official Personnel Folder should contain a record of all of your health benefits registration forms, Standard Form 2809, and, if appropriate, Standard Form 2810, Notice of Change in Health Benefits. Be sure that when you retire, your records will show a complete history of your health insurance enrollment for the last five years.
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  • Cost of living allowances are determined by Congress.  The amount and whether a COLA is given depends on legislation passed by Congress.
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  • If you were enrolled in a self and family plan at the time of your death AND a monthly survivor benefit is payable your spouse and eligible dependents can continue your health insurance.  If a monthly benefit is not payable, your spouse and eligible family members will have a one-time opportunity to enroll in private health coverage with the carrier.
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Total Count: 463, Number of Pages: 31, Page: 9
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