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Retirement FAQs Post-Retirement

  • A child can continue to receive benefits after reaching age 18 if he or she is incapable of self-support because of a disability which began before age 18. If the disabled child is under age 18 when you apply for benefits, we do not need additional information. However, when the child is within three months of reaching age 18 or over age 18, you should send us the information described in disabling conditions for children. A child can also continue to receive benefits until age 22 if he or she is a full-time student. If the child is listed on the application for benefits as a full-time student who is age 18 or more, we will send a request for certification of school attendance to be completed by the person who expects to receive payments and the school. See more information about the eligibility of full-time students. Annuity payments continue between school years unless the break is more than five months or the student does not plan to return to school on a full-time basis. If the student plans to be out of school for more than five months, we cannot pay benefits. If he or she plans to return to school within five months, but does not do so, benefits stop at the end of the month before the change of plans.
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  • Yes, but not under your family enrollment. There are two possible options for your former spouse to remain enrolled. First, all former spouses are eligible for a Temporary Continuation of Coverage enrollment that lasts for 36 months. Second, former spouses eligible for a monthly court-ordered benefit (either a portion of your monthly benefit, or a survivor benefit upon your death) are eligible for former spouse Federal health insurance. You may wish to review the health benefits information in the Attorney's Handbook or view additional information about Health Insurance.
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  • Services Online is our online tool for annuitants.  First, you must have a CSA or CSF claim number and a password.  If you don’t know your CSA or CSF number, or you don’t know your password or you haven’t accessed your SOL account within the past 15 months*, call us at 1-888-767-6738.   Use your CSA or CSF number and password to login to Services Online.  Once online, you can:
    • start, change, or stop Federal and State income tax withholdings
    • request a duplicate 1099R; print current year and 2 previous years 1099R
    • change your password
    • change your mailing address
    • view your annuity statement
    • start direct deposit or change the account number and/or financial institution
    • establish, change or stop an allotment to an organization
     * For your protection, we lock your account after 15 months of inactivity and after failed login attempts.  Please call us to unlock your account.
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  • Information on the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Correction Act can be found on OPM’s web site at www.opm.gov/retire/pre/fercca/index.asp.
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  • If you are the survivor of a deceased retiree who was receiving military retired pay at the time of death, credit for military service cannot be included in your survivor annuity unless the retired pay was:
    • Based on an disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty; or
    • Granted under the provisions of Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code, for reserve retirement. This is formerly under Chapter 67, title 10.
    If you are the survivor of a deceased employee who was receiving military retired pay at the time of death, credit for military will be included in your survivor annuity unless you elect otherwise. However, if the military service is included in your survivor annuity, it will be reduced by the amount of your military survivor's benefit, excluding children's benefits. Post-56 Military Service Credited Under Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Rules- Military service performed on/after January 1, 1957 must be applied toward social security benefits. However, under certain circumstances, it may also be used to determine the amount of your Civil Service Retirement System survivor annuity. If your survivor annuity is based on service that ended before September 9, 1982, and you are eligible for social security benefits upon proper application, you will receive the greater of:
    • an annuity reduced by eliminating the credit for military service performed after December 31, 1956, or
    • an annuity reduced by the amount of the social security benefit attributable to the military service after December 31, 1956.
    If you are not eligible for social security benefits, your survivor annuity will not be reduced. If your survivor annuity is based on service that ended after September 8, 1982, use of the deceased's post-1956 military service to determine the amount of your survivor annuity depends on when the deceased was first covered by the Civil Service Retirement System and whether or not a deposit was made to cover the service. If the deceased was first employed under the retirement system before October 1, 1982, and no deposit was made, we cannot use the post-1956 military service if you are eligible for social security benefits. If the deceased was first employed under the retirement system on/after October 1, 1982, and no deposit was made for the post-1956 military service, we cannot use the post-1956 military service to determine the amount of your survivor annuity regardless of whether or not you are eligible for social security benefits. Post-56 Military Service Credited Under Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Rules- If the post-1956 military service is creditable under FERS rules, a post-1956 deposit must be paid in order to credit the service for eligibility for annuity and computation purposes. If your spouse retired under FERS and performed military service on/after January 1, 1957, his/her post-1956 military service was credited in their annuity if they paid a deposit for the service prior to retirement.   In this case, it will also be used to compute the amount of your survivor benefit.  If the deposit was not paid before your spouse retired, it will not be included in your annuity computation. If you are the survivor of a FERS employee who died while still employed, you must pay the deposit for the post-1956 military service in order to receive credit for any military service performed after 1956. If you are a survivor of a former FERS employee who was eligible for a deferred annuity at the time of death, but not yet receiving an annuity, you cannot pay the post-1956 military deposit to receive credit for the service.  The former employee must have paid the deposit before he/she separated from Federal employment. When Deposit Can Be Made for Post-1956 Military Service- The deposit for post-1956 military service must be made by the employee to his or her employing agency before retirement. A survivor may make the deposit if the employee died while working for the Federal Government.
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  • The types of benefits payable are current spouse survivor annuities, former spouse annuities voluntarily elected or awarded by court order in divorces granted on/after May 7, 1985; or a one-time lump sum benefit. Under FERS, a basic employee death benefit may be payable to the surviving widow or widower of an employee who dies while employed.
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  • The law requires us to make payments by direct deposit to a checking or savings account at a financial institution. However, if receiving your payment in this manner would cause you financial hardship or a hardship due to disability or because of a barrier caused by location or a difficulty reading, you can continue to receive your payment by check. You can use this form [312 KB] to request payment by check instead of direct deposit.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Generally, your income from employment with the Government or any other employer will not affect your survivor annuity.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), a retiree can elect to provide less than the maximum survivor benefit. A partial survivor election is based on 55% of the annual base amount you choose.  For example, if you choose a survivor base of $3,600, the benefit will be 55% of $3,600 for a survivor benefit of $1,980 per year or $165 per month.  By law, you must attach SF-2801-2, Spouse’s Consent to Survivor Election to your CSRS application.  The SF-2801-2 must be signed by your spouse in the presence of a notary.   Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), individuals can elect a partial survivor benefit which is based on 25% of one’s unreduced annual base annuity.  Your spouse must complete and attach SF-3107-2, Spouse’s Consent to Survivor Election, to your retirement application. 
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  • A former spouse survivor annuity and an apportionment are two distinct benefits payable to a former spouse.  The former spouse annuity is payable after the death of an employee or retiree.  An apportionment is based on a portion of the retiree’s gross or net annuity and is generally payable during the period of retirement.  In order to qualify for one or both benefits, the court order must be specific in the type of benefit awarded.   A former spouse survivor annuity terminates: ·         In accordance with the terms of the court order; or ·         Upon remarriage before age 55; or ·         Death of the retiree or the former spouse.   A portion of a retiree’s annuity stops at the earliest of: ·         The date specified in a court order which requires termination; ·         The last day of the first month before OPM receives a court order that invalidates, vacates or sets aside the court order submitted by the former spouse. ·         The last day of the first month after OPM receives an amended court order ·         The last day of the first month before the death of the retiree ·         The last day of the month before the former spouse’s death, unless the order provides for continuation of the apportionment.
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Total Count: 201, Number of Pages: 14, Page: 6
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