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Retirement FAQs Post-Retirement

  • If you get married after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse. You must make this election within two years of the date of your marriage. Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), you can elect any portion of your annuity as a basis for the survivor benefit payable in the event of your death. Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), a full benefit is 50 percent of your unreduced annual basic annuity and a partial benefit is 25 percent of your unreduced annual basic annuity. If you remarry the same person to whom you were married at retirement, you cannot elect a survivor annuity greater than the one you elected at retirement. There will be two reductions in your annuity if you elect to provide the survivor benefit. One will be the reduction to provide the survivor benefit. The first reduction depends the amount you elect for the survivor annuity. Your annuity is also reduced by a permanent actuarial reduction equal to the difference between the new annuity rate with the survivor benefit and the old one without the survivor benefit since your retirement, plus 6 percent interest. In most cases, the actuarial reduction amount is less than 5 percent of your annuity. The actuarial reduction continues even if the marriage ends. When you contact us, we will send you a statement describing the cost of the election and ask you to confirm your election.
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  • You can roll over lump sum payments representing the deceased's retirement contributions and applicable interest and the FERS Basic Employee Death Benefit. An eligible payment can be paid either to you or directly to an individual retirement account or other employer sponsored plan. Your choice will affect the amount of taxes you owe. We are required to withhold Federal income tax from taxable payments over $200 at the rate of 20 percent. However, you may choose to take all or part of these payments in a direct rollover to an individual retirement account or an employer-sponsored retirement plan that accepts rollovers. The taxable portion can be rolled over into the Thrift Saving Plan. If you make this election, we will not withhold the Federal income tax from the taxable payments. You can open an individual retirement account to receive a direct rollover. You must contact the individual retirement account sponsor to find out how to have your payment made to your account. If you are unsure of how to invest your money, you may wish to temporarily establish an account to receive the payment. However, you may wish to consider whether or not you may move any or all of the monies to another account at a later date without penalties or limitations. If you choose to have the payment made to you and it is over $200, it is subject to the 20 percent Federal income tax withholding. The payment is taxed in the year in which it is received unless within 60 days after receiving it, you roll it over to an individual retirement account or retirement plan that accepts rollovers. You can rollover up to 100 percent of the eligible distribution, including the 20 percent withholding. To do so, you must replace the 20 percent withholding within the 60 day period. You will be taxed on any amount that you do not roll over. For example, if you roll over only the 80 percent of the distribution, you will be taxed on the remaining 20 percent. You can find more information about the taxation of payments from qualified retirement plans from the following Internal Revenue Service publications: We will withhold Federal income tax of ten percent if your total taxable lump sum is less than $200. We will request a rollover election when you are eligible for a payment of $200 or more.
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  • You should call us at (202) 606-0222. If we do not have a court order for child support, alimony, or bankruptcy, you can send a facsimile to us at (202) 606-7958 when a garnishment is involved. We need a certified copy of the court order and other supporting documents when an apportionment or survivor annuity is involved.
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  • The “Making Work Pay” tax credit expired December 31, 2010. As a result, you may see an increase in the amount of Federal income tax being withheld from your monthly annuity payments. The tax withholding tables published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) were adjusted to provide for the correct withholding amounts without this credit. The tax rates did not change; only the tax withholding tables changed. For more information concerning the 2011 Federal tax withholding tables go to IRS Notice 1036, TABLE 4—MONTHLY Payroll Period. For other questions on Federal taxes, go to www.irs.gov.
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  • 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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  •   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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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: 195, Number of Pages: 13, Page: 4
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