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Retirement FAQs Post-Retirement

  • While all military service may potentially be used in the computation of civil service survivor annuity benefits, military service performed after December 31, 1956, is subject to social security (FICA) taxes and is primarily creditable for social security benefits. However, military service performed after December 31, 1956, can be used for the computation of both the social security and civil service annuity benefit if you pay a deposit before retirement. Using military service to compute the civil service survivor annuity may also be affected by the waiver of military retired pay for civil service retirement purposes. If you are a retiree and have not waived your military retired pay, military service generally cannot be used in the computation of your benefit or that of your survivor's. If an employee has not waived military retired pay for civil service retirement purposes, and dies while still in Federal service on or after April 25, 1987, military service must be used to compute the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) survivor annuity if the military deposit has been paid. However, survivors may elect to exclude such service based on certain factors. Refer to our section on death benefits for additional information.
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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 the recipient is already receiving his/her federal benefit payments electronically, this change will not affect them.   (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • The Direct Express® card provides the advantages of direct deposit without requiring a bank account or credit check and is an option for those who prefer a prepaid debit card recommended by the Treasury Department:  
    • Fast and Easy –Federal benefit payments go straight into the Direct Express® card account on payment day each month. There’s no need to wait for the mail to arrive or to make a special trip to cash a check.
    • Safe – There’s no risk of lost or stolen checks, no need to carry large amounts of cash, and card account balances are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to the maximum allowed by law.
    • Convenient – Use the card to make everyday purchases everywhere Debit MasterCard® is accepted. Make purchases, pay bills, buy money orders and get cash at thousands of locations nationwide. Use the card 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
      (Visit www.GoDirect.org for more information about fees and the surcharge-free network.)  
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  • Unmarried children who are dependent upon the employee may receive recurring monthly benefits. Refer to information about the demonstration of dependency for benefit payment purposes. See how the amount of children's benefits is determined.
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  • You do not have to do anything. Benefits to eligible children are automatically provided by law. To be eligible, a child must be unmarried, under age 18, and dependent on you. To continue to be eligible for benefits after age 18, a child must be unmarried and a full-time student or incapable of self-support due to a disability which onset before age 18.
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  • Under these circumstances, there are no recurring monthly benefits payable under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). If there is an unpaid balance of retirement contributions by the former employee, the person(s) eligible for payment under the order of precedence should complete the "Application for Death Benefits," Standard Form (SF) 2800 [806 KB] and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and send the application to us at this address. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)- If the former employee was covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the current spouse may be eligible for a monthly benefit if…
    • The current spouse was married to the deceased at the time of his/her separation from Federal civilian service, and
    • The current spouse was married to the deceased for a total period of at least nine months (the nine month requirement does not apply if the death was accidental or if the current spouse is the parent of a child born of the marriage.)
    If there is an unpaid balance of retirement contributions by the former employee and no one is eligible for a monthly survivor benefit, the person(s) eligible for payment under the order of precedence should complete the "Application for Death Benefits," Standard Form (SF) 3104 [741 KB] and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and send the application to us at this address.
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  • Yes, there are several ways to provide for payment of life insurance benefits to your former spouse, as follows:   File a SF-2818 Designation of Beneficiary Form, Office of Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program with the OPM naming your former spouse to receive all or a percentage of your insurance proceeds.  A designation can be cancelled at any time as long as the form is received in the OPM before your death.   Assignment of Insurance: You may assign some or all of your life insurance to your former spouse.  However, an assignment of insurance is permanent and not irrevocable.  A court order filed after July 22, 1998 can direct that the individual make an irrevocable assignment to his/her former spouse. To assign your life insurance, you must complete form RI 76-10, Assignment of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance. An assignment automatically cancels an individual’s prior designation of beneficiary.  After making an assignment, you cannot designate a beneficiary. The right to designate beneficiaries transfers to the assignee.  In addition, the right to cancel or reduce insurance transfers to the assignee.  If you own more than one type of coverage, you must assign all the insurance because you cannot assign only a portion of the coverage.  Only Option C- Family Optional coverage cannot be assigned.    Court Order received in OPM on or after July 22, 1998.  The order must be received in OPM prior to the death of the insured. The court can order that a former spouse is named as beneficiary in the divorce decree, annulment, or legal separation.  A certified copy of the decree must be received by the employing agency for active employees on/after July 22, 1998.  For retirees, the court order must be received by that date.  By law, a court order on file before the above effective date is not valid for designating a former spouse as beneficiary.  Any orders which are filed before July 22, 1998 and designate a former spouse as beneficiary of Office of Federal Employees Group Life Insurance will not be honored. 
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  • The survivor annuity payable to the spouse of a deceased retiree who was covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset program is computed in the same manner as the annuity for the spouse of a deceased annuitant with full CSRS coverage. However, if you are the surviving spouse of a deceased retiree who was covered by CSRS-Offset, your annuity will be reduced if you are eligible upon proper application for social security benefits based on the deceased annuitant's Federal service. If social security survivor benefits are payable:
    • You will receive full Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) benefits until you become entitled to social security benefits, generally at age 60. However, benefits may begin earlier if you are disabled or care for a minor child.
    • When you become entitled to social security survivor benefits, your Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) survivor annuity will be reduced by the amount of the social security benefit that is attributable to the deceased's employment under CSRS-Offset coverage. The reduction begins on the first day of the month in which you are entitled to the CSRS-Offset annuity and eligible, upon application, for social security survivor benefits.
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  • Tax tables are set into law by the United States Congress and administered by the IRS.  Each year, the new tables are posted on the IRS website in IRS Publication 15 and Notice 1036.  We are required by law to update your Federal income tax withholding based on the new monthly periodic tax tables and formulas.   OPM withholds the required federal taxes according to your marital status and exemptions (dependents) elected.  You can change your tax withholding amount at any time.  It is a good idea to check the amount of your Federal and State tax withholding each year. Select this link to view the IRS Publication 15.  If you are looking at the specific tax tables you want to search for the Single or Married Monthly Payroll Period tables.
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  • A child’s entitlement to receive a benefit ends on the last day of the month before any of the following events:  
    • Becomes age 18 unless he/she is a full-time student at a recognized school or is incapable of self support;
    • Becomes capable of self-support after becoming age 18 unless he/she is a full-time student at a recognized school;
    • Becomes age 22 if he/she is a student and capable of self-support;
    • Stops attending school on a full-time basis after age 18 unless deemed incapable of self-support; or
    • Dies or marries
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  • Generally, an unmarried dependent child who is over age 18 can receive a survivor benefit if incapable of self-support due to an injury or medical condition which occurs before turning age 18.  After turning age 18, an unmarried dependent child can receive a survivor benefit if enrolled in a recognized school on a full-time basis until age 22.
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  • The employing office has 14 days to notify you of your TCC rights and send you an election form.  You must return the election form and a certified copy of your divorce decree within 60 days from your divorce date or 65 days after the date of the employing office notice, whichever is later.  Your coverage will be effective the day after your 31-day extension of coverage as a family member ends.
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  • There is no cost to provide a survivor benefit for an unmarried dependent child.  
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  • Recurring monthly payments may be made to the former spouse of a deceased employee 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]." See how the amount of the former spouse survivor benefit is determined.
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Total Count: 195, Number of Pages: 13, Page: 8
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