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Retirement FAQs Pre-Retirement

Applying for Retirement

  • Retirement Services strives to complete retirement claims within sixty days. If we need additional information from you or your former employing agency, however, your claim could take longer to process. It may take more time than average if, for example, your retirement claim has special circumstances (e.g. applying a specific retirement law, evaluating a court order, etc.) It may also take more time if we need to contact you to make a benefit election (e.g. a service credit deposit), or your former employing agency for additional information, or another agency such as the Social Security Administration, if a benefit from them impacts your claim. See the publicly available link we update monthly to review our rolling two-year window of average processing times. https://www.opm.gov/about-us/budget-performance/strategic-plans/retirement-processing-status.pdf
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  • In most cases, as soon as we get all of your retirement records, we provide interim payments. These payments represent a portion of your final benefit and are usually made on the first business day of each month. We try to provide you with income until we finish processing your application.
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  • To qualify for payments from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you must submit a retirement application. They are available on our website, as follows: You should submit an application for immediate retirement as shown below.
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  • Complete information pertaining to military service can be found in the CSRS/FERS handbook at www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C022.pdf.  If you are a current employee, contact your personnel office for information.
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  • If you meet the eligibility requirements for a retirement benefit, you are eligible to receive an annuity based on your length of service and your high-3 average salary. The information in your application is used to determine if you are applying for a disability option, a regular or early-out option, or a discontinued service annuity. It is also used to check the service listed on your payroll records.
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  • You can help reduce delays in processing by submitting your application in advance and by making sure your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is complete. If you submit your paperwork early, your personnel and payroll offices will be able to complete their action before your retirement date.
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  • When we receive your retirement application, we will notify you and will provide a civil service claim identification number (a seven-digit number preceded by "CSA"). You must use that identification number whenever you contact OPM about your annuity.
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  • After your personnel agency takes action, your agency payroll office:
    • Authorizes your final pay check and lump sum payment for unused annual leave;
    • Prepares your "Individual Retirement Record," Standard Form 2806 (CSRS) or 3100 (FERS) which reflects service, salary history, and annual retirement contributions; and
    • Forwards all retirement documents to OPM.
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  • We only withhold Federal income tax.  You may find that the Federal income taxes withheld from your first interim payment will be higher than the Federal tax withholdings from your subsequent interim payments and regular annuity.  We will make any necessary tax withholding adjustment when we finish processing your application.  Your health and life insurance coverage will continue while you are receiving interim pay.  We will begin withholding health and life insurance premiums retroactive to the commencing date of your annuity, when we finish processing your application.
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  • Your personnel office must take the following actions to process your retirement application:
    • Complete the "Agency Check List of Immediate Retirement Procedures," Standard Form 2801, Schedule D (CSRS) or 3701, Schedule D (FERS);
    • Prepare and obtain your signature on the "Certified Summary of Federal Service," Standard Form 2801-1 (CSRS) or 3701-1 (FERS);
    • Verify any service not fully documented in your OPF; [Note:If documentation is missing, verification may be obtained by contacting federal record centers. If the personnel office is unable to obtain verification, we will complete verification upon receipt of your retirement application and records. This process will cause a delay in processing of your claim.]
    • Certify and transfer your coverage under the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program to OPM;
    • Transfer your enrollment under the Federal Employees' Health Benefits (FEHB) program to OPM;
    • Prepare Standard Form (SF) 50, "Notification of Personnel Action."; and
    • Send all of your retirement materials to your payroll office.
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  • If you are a federal retiree, contact OPM’s Retirement Office at 1-888-767-6738 or retire@opm.gov to check the status of your request.  The phone lines are open from 7:30 am to 7:45 pm (Eastern Standard Time). It is a busy phone number so we encourage you to call early in the morning or after 5:00 pm when the phone lines are less busy.
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  • OPM takes the following steps to process your claim for retirement benefits.
    • Obtains missing information from your retirement documents;
    • Determines your eligibility for an annuity and continued health and life insurance coverages;
    • Computes the amount of your annuity;
    • Sends you materials concerning:
    • Authorizes your annuity payment by the Department of the Treasury; and
    • Sends you an annuity statement.
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  • If you are still working, submit it to your employer. If you have been separated from federal service for more than 30 days, submit your application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
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  • If you need to contact us before you receive your claim number, first contact your former payroll office to find the date your records were transferred to OPM. Your payroll office should provide you with the number and date of the Register of Separations and Transfers. You will also need your Payroll Identification Number.
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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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Total Count: 16, Number of Pages: 2, Page: 1
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