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Retirement FAQs

Go to our new customer support center to get answers to top questions, learn about popular topics, and find resources for more support.

  • You can cancel or decrease your coverage at any time. You cannot increase your coverage.
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  • If you were under 62 when your disability benefit began, and were not eligible for a voluntary immediate benefit, your benefit will be recomputed after you have been retired for 12 months. The recomputed annuity will be 40 percent of your high-3 average salary minus 60 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit, or your earned benefit, whichever is higher. At age 62, your benefit is recomputed as though you had continued working until age 62. (Your average salary is increased by all FERS Cost-of-Living Adjustments paid while you were disabled.)
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  • See information here about cost-of-living adjustments. Then, check with your local personnel service center for an explanation about how the cost-of-living increases apply to those retiring under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Your benefit will be computed in the same manner as if it were not subject to offset. However, it will be reduced when you become eligible for Social Security benefits. The offset applies when the basic requirements for Social Security are met, generally at age 62, even if you do not apply for those benefits. If you are not eligible for Social Security benefits at age 62, there is no offset unless you become eligible later.
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  • We keep a separate mailing address to periodically send you information about your retirement and health and life insurance benefits. You can see the current record of your mailing address on Services Online. Please notify us if this address changes. (If you do not receive your payments through direct deposit, we ordinarily use the same address for mailings and payments.)
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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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  • Your personnel office will verify with your payroll office that the deposit to give you credit in your annuity for military service you performed after 1956 has been paid, or that arrangements have been made for complete payment before you leave the agency's rolls.
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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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  • Your family enrollment covers yourself, your current spouse, and your eligible children under age 26.
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  • A court order related to your divorce or legal separation agreement can:
    • Divide your annuity;
    • Divide a refund of your retirement contributions made when you leave federal service before retirement;
    • Permit your ex-spouse to continue health insurance coverage;
    • Require you to assign your life insurance;
    • Garnish your annuity to pay alimony, child support, in cases involving child abuse, or for Chapter 13 bankruptcy;
    • Award life insurance; or
    • Award a survivor benefit.
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  • The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act was passed by the United States Congress on December 16, 2010 and signed into law on December 17, 2010. As a result, the IRS published the tax withholding tables later than usual for 2011. OPM applied the tax tables as quickly as possible but there was not enough time to apply these tables to the January 3, 2011 annuity payments.
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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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Total Count: 483, Number of Pages: 33, Page: 7
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