Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.

Retirement FAQs

Pre-Retirement

  • 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • It may take up to eight weeks to process a withdrawal after all properly completed withdrawal forms and separation data have been received by the TSP Service Office. Further, the TSP Service Office cannot process a withdrawal election until they receive an Employee Data Record from your payroll office indicating that you have separated. An unpaid TSP loan may delay disbursement of the TSP account balance. Your employer will provide you with information about your withdrawal options and the option to keep your money in the TSP.  If you choose not to withdraw your funds, in the event of your death the TSP Service Office would pay the funds based on your written designation form on file.  If you have not completed a designation form, payment would be made to your survivors as follows:
    • Widow or widower.
    • If none of the above, child or children and descendants of deceased children by representation.
    • If none of the above, retiree's parents or to the surviving parent.
    • If none of the above, the executor or administrator of the retiree's estate.
    • If none of the above, to any other of the retiree's next of kin who is entitled under the laws of the state in which the retiree resided at death.
    Read more about the Thrift Savings Program.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If you have not already done so, you should choose your exact retirement date. Afterwards, your benefit can be estimated based on the exact date. The best place to obtain assistance is your agency's local personnel service center.   They can provide personalized assistance and they have your employment records.  They will provide you with information on when your benefit payments can begin based on your proposed retirement date.  You will also find out how this date affects factors used to determine the amount of your retirement benefit, such as your length of service, high-3 average salary, and the proration of cost-of-living adjustments.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The basic Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuity cannot exceed 80 percent of your high-3 average salary, excluding your unused sick leave. Generally, you reach the 80 percent limitation when you have 41 years and 11 months of service, not including accumulated sick leave.   Fewer years of service may result in a computation that produces the maximum benefit under special computation formulas such as for law enforcement personnel. Your service beyond the years which provides the maximum benefit will not be used to compute your annuity.  Instead, we will automatically refund the retirement contributions you made during those years.  Interest is paid on this refund payment at the rate of three percent per year, compounded annually.  You can use the refund to purchase additional annuity, as if  the contributions and interest are voluntary contributions. However, if you have federal civilian employment periods when you did not contribute to either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), we automatically apply excess contributions toward any deposit due for these employment periods.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If you are a current employee, you should contact your human resources office. If you have separated from federal service or are currently a retiree, you should contact OPM’s Retirement Office at 1-888-767-6738 or retire@opm.gov.  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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If your agency undergoes a major reorganization, reduction in force, or transfer of function, and a significant percentage of the employees will be separated, or will be reduced in pay, the head of your agency can ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to permit early optional retirement for eligible employees. If your agency gets approval to permit early optional retirements, eligible employees will be notified of the opportunity to retire voluntarily. Information about Early Optional Retirement under CSRS is available here.  Information about Early Optional Retirement under FERS is available here.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • You may continue your health insurance coverage only if you meet the following conditions:
    • Your annuity must begin within 30 days or, if you are retiring under the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) plus 10 provision of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), health and life insurance coverages are suspended until your annuity begins, even if it is postponed.
    • You must be covered for health insurance when you retire.
    • You must have been continuously covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, TRICARE, or the Civilian Health and Medical Program for Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS):
          • for five years immediately before retiring;or,
          • during all of your federal employment since your first opportunity to enroll;or,
          • continuously for full periods of service beginning with the enrollment that started before January 1, 1965, and ending with the date on which you become an annuitant, whichever is shortest.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • This is a provision that allows you to retire with benefits beginning immediately if you have ten years of service and have reached the Minimum Retirement Age (at least 55). However, the annuity is reduced for each month you are under age 62. The reduction equals five percent per year (or 5/12 of one percent per month). To avoid the reduction, you can postpone payment. You can later apply for the benefit by writing to us or filing an "Application for Deferred or Postponed Retirement," Form RI 92-19. You should submit the form two months before you want the benefit to begin.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • You can be paid for any unused annual leave you hold at retirement.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • We are very much aware of the increasing processing times retirees and potential retirees have been experiencing. Individuals applying for retirement are dedicated Federal employees who have devoted their careers to serving the citizens of this country, and as such, they deserve treatment commensurate with their service. The present situation is the result of the confluence of a number of factors. This includes the attempt to utilize an "off-the-shelf" private sector processing system, which ultimately was not successful. We tried to redesign all aspects of retirement processing simultaneously and anticipated that increased automation was the long-term solution. Accordingly, we assumed lower staffing levels would be required. As staff levels were reduced, the volume and complexity of retirement casework increased. Our paramount goal is to improve the overall claims adjudication process. There is no simple or easy solution that is capable of instantly remedying the problem, but we are doing everything in our power to improve service to our annuitants as rapidly as possible within the constraint of available resources. We have begun several initiatives to not only speed up claims review but to streamline other attendant retirement procedures. We hired 40 legal administrative specialists to assist with the current backlog and future workload. We have also authorized additional overtime across the claims processing groups and will continue to approve overtime thru fiscal year 2011. Overtime is also being offered to former claims examiners to help tackle the backlog. To assist the retiree's immediate financial needs, OPM established an interim pay process to provide new retirees with income while their retirement benefits are adjudicated. Retirees receive their first interim payment in 5-7 business days from the date the agency's electronic file or paper records are received by OPM. OPM uses the information provided by the agencies (at the time the retirement application is submitted) to determine the amount of interim pay. In calculating the amount of the interim payment from the data provided by the agency, OPM:
    • Determines the years and months of creditable Federal service
    • Uses the retiree's final salary
    • Accounts for any survivor election
    • Applies a reduction for age if appropriate
    • Reduces the amount of interim payment to cover premiums for any insurance elections.
    Our goal is to provide the annuitant with as much of their expected NET monthly payment, less Federal income tax withholding. The NET payment amount is the amount of the annuity payment after deducting premiums for health benefits and life insurance from the gross rate. Some retirees receive less than our goal due to a variety of factors. Some of the conditions that could cause the annuitant to receive less than the agency's NET estimate are: a FERS annuity supplement, unpaid service credit deposits, redeposits or military deposits, a court order on file at OPM, or the retiree is entitled to a special computation as a Law Enforcement Officer, Fire Fighter, Air Traffic Controller or other special retirement group. In December, we increased all Department of Defense civilian retiree interim payments by 5%. This will affect 29% of the cases. These cases had been receiving a lower than average amount of interim pay based upon the data received at the time of retirement. Additional system changes are in process to provide a 5% increase for certain retirees of the United States Postal Service. OPM is currently working with agencies to improve timeliness and quality of personnel/payroll information submissions. Indeed, OPM's Strategic Plan speaks to the shared responsibility for retirement processing among employees, agencies and OPM so resolving these issues is at the very center of the radar screen. Incomplete or inaccurate information from agencies can significantly delay processing and ultimately, a retiree's check. Unfortunately, 23 percent of all claims received are missing one or more records and 11 percent are not received during the first 30 days. We are confident that through additional staff, over-time, improvements in interim payments, and collaboration with agencies we will reduce our back-log to more normal levels and fulfill our commitments to the Federal retiree, which has always been one of our highest priorities.  
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Some of an employee’s spousal Social Security benefit may be offset if the employee has a government pension from work not covered by Social Security. The offset does not apply to the employee’s own Social Security benefit, only the benefit that comes from a spouse’s employment. If the Government Pension Offset applies, the spousal Social Security benefit will be reduced by two-thirds of any Federal pension based on employment not covered by Social Security. Some employees are exempt from the Government Pension Offset. They are employees who are automatically covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset, and those who elected to transfer to the FERS before January 1, 1988, or during the belated transfer period which ended June 30, 1988. Employees who were covered by the CSRS and who elected FERS coverage after June 30, 1988 must have five years of Federal employment covered by Social Security to be exempt from the offset.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • You should carefully read the information that is part of your retirement application, and complete and submit the forms.  You do not need to submit a separate letter of resignation.  A completed and signed retirement application is equivalent to a letter of resignation. If you are eligible for a retirement benefit, you should not resign, intending to submit a retirement application later. This is because if you die after separating but before filing the application no life insurance, no survivor benefit, and no survivor health insurance coverage would be available to your survivor(s). You should, however, complete all the other required "exit procedures." Read more about applying for retirement.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.


Total Count: 218, Number of Pages: 15, Page: 1
Control Panel