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Retirement FAQs Post-Retirement

  • The children's survivor benefit is a specific dollar amount established by a formula in the governing United States Code and is increased by Cost-of-Living Adjustments. Each child's rate is determined individually based on the circumstances described below. When the child has a living parent who was married to the employee or retiree, the benefit payable to the child is the lesser of:
    • $469 per month per child; or
    • $1,409 per month divided by the number of eligible children.
    When the child does not have a living parent who was married to the employee or retiree, the benefit payable to the child is the lesser of:
    • $563 per month per child; or
    • $1,691 per month divided by the number of eligible children.
    The rates quoted above are payable from December 1, 2009 through November 30, 2010. They will be increased by future Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Cost-of-Living Adjustments. If the deceased retired under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or was an employee covered under FERS at the time of death, the combined benefit of all the children is reduced by the total amount of child’s benefits that are payable (or would, upon proper application, be payable) under Title II of the Social Security Act for the same month to all children of the deceased based on the total earnings of the deceased.  In many cases, the FERS children’s benefit is reduced to $0.
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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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  • You can find this information on our Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) web pages.
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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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  • 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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  • We can correct or amend your 1099R.  Call us at (888) 767-6738 or send us an email at retire@opm.gov   OPM does not forward corrections or amendments to the Internal Revenue Service.  The corrected or amended form will be mailed to you at the mailing address we have on file.  It is your responsibility to forward the corrected or amended 1099R to the Internal Revenue Service with your amended tax return.  
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  • Yes, the provisions of the law, along with the retirement and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program regulation are in A Handbook for Attorneys on Court-Ordered Retirement, Health Benefits, and Life Insurance Under the Civil Service Retirement System, Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), RI 38-116. [446 KB] You can also order it from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, P.O.Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. The order processing code is 7612 and the document number is S/N 006-000-01408-9. You can order by telephone at (202) 512-1800. The regulations covering both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) benefits are in part 838 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations. The regulations contain extensive model language that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) encourages attorneys to use in preparing court orders.
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  • If you are enrolled for family life insurance, and a covered member of your family dies, you can contact us in one of three ways: U.S. Office of Personnel Management Retirement Services Program Post Office Box 45 Boyers, PA 16017-0045. You can download the necessary claim form and instructions, or contact us and ask that they be sent to you.
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  • The Treasury Department is fully committed to helping Americans be prepared for and make the transition to the electronic payment of federal benefits. The Treasury Department has launched the Go Direct public education campaign to communicate with Americans about the new electronic payments requirement. The campaign will do so with the help of nearly 1,800 national, local and regional partner organizations, as well as through events, media coverage, print materials and the Internet. Campaign materials and websites in English and Spanish also are available at www.GoDirect.org and www.DirectoASuCuenta.org.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • The Go Direct campaign launched in 2005 as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's and the Federal Reserve Banks' effort to increase the use of electronic payments for federal benefits and to reduce the use of paper checks for federal benefit payments. With the help of organization partners, media and events, the campaign educates Americans by providing the tools and resources they need to enroll in, or transition to, electronic federal benefit payments.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)
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  • A court order dividing your retirement benefits can be modified by either party at any time. However, survivor annuity benefits cannot be approved based on modifications to a court order made after your retirement or death.
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  • If your marriage ends after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor benefits for your former spouse. To make an election, you must notify us in writing within two years of the date the marriage ended. You should include a court-certified copy of the decree effecting the dissolution of the marriage, and any property or marital settlement agreement. See where to send the court order. If you were married to the former spouse when you retired and he or she consented to an election of less than the maximum survivor benefit, you cannot provide a benefit that is larger than your original election. The calculation of the reduction in your annuity to provide the benefit for an ex-spouse is the same as the reduction for a benefit for a spouse. When you contact us, we will send you a statement describing the cost of the election and ask you to confirm your election. If you are electing to provide a survivor annuity for an ex-spouse and you remarried, your current spouse must consent to the election.
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  • People who do not choose an electronic payment option at the time they apply for federal benefits or by March 1, 2013, will receive their payments via the Direct Express® card so they will not experience any interruption in payment.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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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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  • If you are married when you retire and you chose not to provide a spousal survivor benefit, you must obtain your spouse's consent to the election. The consent form, which is part of the application for (Civil Service (CSRS) [930 KB] or Federal Employees (FERS) [448 KB] Retirement Systems) benefits, must be completed before a notary public or other official authorized to take oaths. The spousal consent requirement may be waived if it is shown that the spouse's whereabouts cannot be determined. A request for a waiver must be accompanied by:
    • a judicial determination that the spouse's whereabouts cannot be determined, or
    • affidavits by the employee and two other persons, at least one of whom is not related to the employee, attesting to the efforts made to locate the spouse and the inability to do so. The employee should submit other documentary evidence, such as newspaper stories about the spouse's disappearance.
    The spousal consent requirement can be waived based on exceptional circumstances if the employee presents a judicial determination that exceptional circumstances warrant a waiver. The order must state that:
    • state that the case before the court involves a Federal employee who is retiring;
    • the employee's spouse was given notice and an opportunity to be heard in the matter;
    • the court considered 5 USC 8339(j)(1) and 5 CFR 831.618(b) as it relates to a waiver of the spousal consent requirements for a married Federal employee to elect an annuity without reduction to provide a survivor benefit to a spouse at retirement; and
    • the court finds that exceptional circumstances justify waiver of the spousal consent requirement.
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Total Count: 195, Number of Pages: 13, Page: 7
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