211 (replaces FWM 043 dated 10/13/92)
Date: September 7, 1995
Part 228: Insurance and Annuities
Originating Office: Division of Personnel Management
2.1 Purpose. This chapter provides general information about the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and various components of these systems and serves as a reference of interest to all employees, particularly those who are considering or approaching retirement. The chapter also provides internal procedures regarding the preparation and submission of retirement coverage and separation actions. Because this chapter contains very general information and is not intended to be all inclusive, reviewers are encouraged to contact their servicing personnel office for more detailed information.
2.2 Scope. This chapter applies to all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees who are covered under CSRS or FERS.
(1) Chapter 83 of title 5, United States Code
(2) Part 831 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations
(1) Chapter 84 of title 5, United States Code
(2) Parts 841, 842, 843, 844, 845, and 846 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations
C. CSRS and FERS
(1) 5 U.S.C. 8344
(2) 5 CFR Part 576
(3) 5 CFR Part 837
A. Firefighter means:
(1) An employee occupying a primary or rigorous position whose primary duties are to perform work directly connected with the control and extinguishment of fires and, in the case of a CSRS employee, the maintenance of firefighting apparatus and equipment; and
(2) An employee who moves directly (i.e., without a break in service of more than 3 days) from a primary or rigorous position to a supervisory or administrative position that meets the requirements for a secondary position as defined in 2.4G below.
(3) This definition does not include an employee whose primary duties are the performance of routine fire prevention inspection.
B. A First-level supervisor, for purposes of coverage under 5 U.S.C. 8412(d) provisions, is an employee classified as a supervisor who has direct and regular contact with the employees supervised and who does not have subordinate supervisors. For purposes of 5 U.S.C. 8336(c), a first-level supervisor personally directs subordinates without the use of other subordinate supervisors.
C. Law Enforcement Officer means:
(1) An employee occupying a primary or rigorous position whose primary duties are the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States and, in the case of a FERS employee the protection of officials of the United States against threats to personal safety as required by 5 U.S.C. 8401(17)(B); and
(2) An employee who moves directly from a primary or rigorous position to a supervisory or administrative position that meets the conditions for a secondary position as defined in 2.4G below.
(3) This definition does not include an employee whose primary duties involve maintaining order, protecting life and property, guarding against or inspecting for violations of law, or investigating persons other than those who are suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States.
D. Primary duties mean those duties of a position that are not of an emergency, incidental, or temporary nature that:
(1) Are paramount in influence or weight, i.e., constitute the basic reasons for the existence of the position;
(2) Occupy a substantial portion of the individual's working time (at least 50 percent) over a typical work cycle; and
(3) Are assigned on a regular and recurring basis.
(4) Duties that are of an emergency, incidental, or temporary nature cannot be considered "primary" even if they meet the substantial portion of time requirement. Generally, a duty or group of duties must be performed at least 50 percent of the time to be considered primary duties.
(1) To perform work directly connected with controlling and extinguishing fires or maintaining and using firefighter apparatus and equipment; or
(2) To investigate, apprehend, or detain individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States.
F. Rigorous position means a FERS law enforcement or firefighting position whose duties are so rigorous that employment opportunities are limited by a maximum entry age (see 2.15A(1) below) to young and physically vigorous individuals whose primary duties are:
(1) To perform work directly connected with controlling and extinguishing fires; or
(2) To investigate, apprehend, or detain individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States or protecting the personal safety of United States officials.
(3) A FERS first-level supervisor position may be determined to be a rigorous position, rather than a secondary position, if it is characteristic of a rigorous law enforcement officer or firefighter position and satisfies the conditions for coverage.
(4) The maximum entry age requirement does not apply when an employee moves directly (i.e., without a break in service exceeding 3 days) from one rigorous law enforcement position to another or from one firefighter position to another.
(1) Is clearly in the law enforcement or firefighting field;
(2) Is in an organization having a law enforcement or firefighting mission;
(3) Is either:
(a) Supervisory (i.e., a position whose primary duties are as a first-level supervisor to law enforcement officers or firefighters in primary or rigorous positions); or
(b) Administrative (i.e., an executive, managerial, technical, semiprofessional, or professional position for which experience in a primary or rigorous law enforcement or firefighting position, or equivalent non-Federal experience is a prerequisite).
(4) Requires a CSRS or FERS employee to move directly from a primary or rigorous position, respectively, to a secondary position.
(5) Requires a FERS employee to complete 3 years of service in a rigorous position, including any such service during which there were no FERS deductions withheld, before transferring to a secondary position.
A. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has overall responsibility for administering the CSRS and FERS. This includes issuing regulations and instructions to administer both retirement systems; maintaining individual retirement records and related documents; adjudicating claims for retirement and death benefits; determining eligibility for refund of retirement contributions; and maintaining accounts for withholdings for retirees and financial records for retirement monies received and disbursed to benefit recipients, insurance carriers, Federal and State tax entities, and retirement accounts. The OPM also recommends changes to improve the retirement systems and approves requests to reemploy an individual who received a voluntary separation incentive payment (VSIP) at the time of separation from Federal services within 5 years of the effective date on which the payment was based.
B. The Secretary's Designee (in the Department) approves requests for position coverage and determinations regarding the eligibility of an employee's prior service for crediting under the special retirement provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters. This official is designated in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 101 and 5 U.S.C. 105, reports directly to the Secretary (or his/her designee), and is the sole representative for matters relating to the application law enforcement and firefighter retirement provisions in 5 CFR Parts 831 and 842.
C. The Assistant Director - Policy, Budget and Administration (APBA) or his designee approves or disapproves requests for exceptions to the maximum entry age requirement for Headquarters and Regional employees.
D. The Division of Personnel Management (DPM) serves as the technical authority on matters related to retirement and receives, reviews, and acts upon all requests from Regional offices for retirement-related actions that exceed the Region's approval authority. Such actions may include requests for employee or position coverage under the special retirement systems for law enforcement officers and firefighters and for exceptions to the mandatory separation requirement.
E. Supervisors in organizations having law enforcement or firefighting as a mission are responsible for recognizing the need and initiating actions to seek coverage of positions that may qualify for coverage under the special retirement provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters. A supervisor's timely action in seeking coverage of a position enhances the Service's chances of attracting highly qualified applicants when announcing and recruiting for vacant positions. It also precludes a break in coverage for applicants who are individually covered based upon service in a covered position or an administrative determination that credited prior service under the special retirement provisions.
F. Servicing Personnel Offices are responsible for determining eligibility for retirement coverage based upon established criteria, withholding retirement deductions, preparing and maintaining documents relating to retirement, requesting employee and position coverage under the special retirement provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) and 5 U.S.C. 8412(d), counseling and informing employees on their rights and obligations under the law, giving assistance to claimants (including survivors of deceased employees), and promptly processing retirement claims and records.
(1) The CSRS is a retirement system in which an employee and the Government share in the expense of the annuities to which the employee becomes entitled when eligibility conditions are met. A retiring employee must meet two basic requirements to be entitled to an annuity. He/she must have at least 5 years of Federal civilian service and, unless retirement is based on disability, must have been employed in a position subject to CSRS for at least 1 year out of the last 2 years preceding separation for retirement.
(2) An employee may retire voluntarily with an unreduced annuity at age 55 with 30 years of service, age 60 with 20 years of service, or age 62 with 5 years of service. An employee subject to the special retirement provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters may retire on an unreduced annuity at age 50 with 20 years of service or at any time after age 50 when service requirements are satisfied. For voluntary retirement under an early out authority and involuntary retirement under the discontinued service authority, an employee may retire at any age with at least 25 years of service and at age 50 with at least 20 years of service. However, the retirement benefit will be reduced by 2 percent for each year the annuity begins before the employee reaches age 55. An employee who separates from Federal service or transfers to a position that is not covered by the CSRS is entitled to a deferred annuity commencing at age 62 when he/she:
(a) Is not eligible for an immediate annuity within 1 month of separation;
(b) Has completed at least 5 years of creditable civilian service;
(c) Does not request and receive a refund of retirement deductions after separating from the service or transferring to a non-CSRS position; and
(d) Was employed under the retirement system for at least 1 year within the 2-year period immediately preceding the separation on which the deferred annuity is based.
(3) An employee leaving the service or CSRS retirement system should be advised to request an Application for Deferred Retirement (SF-1496A) from OPM about 2 months before reaching age 62. Servicing personnel offices will provide instructions for completing and forwarding the form to OPM.
(4) Except for employees serving in law enforcement and firefighter positions covered under the special retirement provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) and 5 U.S.C. 8412(d), there is no mandatory separation age for a CSRS employee. Generally, law enforcement officers are mandatorily separated with 20 years of service in a covered position at age 57 and firefighters with 20 years of service at age 55. Refer to 2.8C for additional information on mandatory retirement.
(5) For purposes of retirement, an employee becomes a year older on the day before his/her birthday.
B. Benefits. Benefits under this retirement system are
based on the employee's "high-3" average pay and years of
service. Under the general formula, 30 years of service at age 55
provides 56.25 percent of the "high-3" average salary. The
maximum amount of an annuity is 80 percent of the high-3 average salary based
upon 41 years and 11 months of service. Unused sick leave may be used
only in counting the number of years and months of service for annuity
computation purposes. The time represented by unused sick leave may not
be used for determining retirement eligibility or for computing the "high-3"
average salary. Annuities for a CSRS retiree and a survivor annuitant are
increased annually by cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
C. Contributions. Generally, an employee covered by CSRS contributes 7 percent of pay to the Retirement Fund. An employee covered under the special CSRS provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters contributes 7 1/2 percent. The Service matches all CSRS contributions. While an employee who is solely CSRS is not required to pay Social Security old-age, survivor, and disability (OASDI) tax, he/she must pay the Medicare tax that is currently 1.45 percent of pay.
D. CSRS Offset.
(1) An employee designated as CSRS Offset is one who was rehired into the Federal service on or after January 1, 1984, following a break in service exceeding 1 year and, as of the date of his/her last separation from the service, had at least 5 years of creditable civilian service. An employee who is CSRS Offset is mandatorily covered by Social Security and has the choice of remaining in CSRS Offset or transferring to FERS. The election must be made within the 6-month period following the employee's reemployment in a covered position.
(2) An employee covered by CSRS Offset must pay the Social Security tax and a small contribution to the CSRS fund. His/her OASDI withholdings are offset from their CSRS contributions so that the combined Social Security and CSRS contributions are the same as the contributions for an employee who only has CSRS coverage.
(3) When a CSRS Offset employee retires, he/she receives full CSRS benefits until he/she is eligible for Social Security benefits, generally at age 62. At that time, the CSRS benefit is offset by the portion of the employee's Social Security benefit that represents the period of time he/she was covered by both CSRS and Social Security. The CSRS reduction is designed so that the Offset employee will receive benefits from both CSRS and Social Security that are approximately equal to the benefits by an employee covered only under CSRS.
E. Refunds. An employee may receive a refund of his/her CSRS contribution if he/she:
(1) Is separated from the Federal service for at least 31 consecutive days or is transferred to, or is reemployed in (following a break of 4 days), a position in which he/she is not subject to CSRS deductions and remains in the position for at least 31 consecutive days;
(2) Files a Standard Form (SF) 2802, Application for Refund of Retirement Deductions, and a SF-2802B, Current/Former Spouse Notification of Application for Refund of Retirement Deductions under the Civil Service Retirement System, as appropriate, with OPM;
(4) Is not reemployed in a position subject to CSRS at the time the application is filed;
(5) Will not become eligible to receive an annuity within 31 days after filing the application; and
(6) Is not prohibited from receiving a refund because of a court order.
F. Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). An employee may contribute up to 5 percent of pay to the TSP. Although the TSP affords a FERS employee the opportunity to increase the FERS benefit, it is not a component of the CSRS, and there is no Government matching contribution for a CSRS employee. Additional information about the TSP is provided in 2.7C. Form TSP-1, Thrift Savings Plan Election Form, is used for TSP elections.
G. Disability Retirement. To be eligible for disability retirement, a CSRS employee must meet all of the following conditions:
(1) Must have completed at least 5 years of civilian service.
(2) While employed subject to CSRS, must have become totally
disabled for useful and efficient service in his/her present position and be
unqualified for reassignment to a vacant position
at the same grade level within his/her employing agency and commuting area.
(3) Must submit an SF-2801, Application for Immediate Retirement, signed by the employee or other interested person making the application, and SF-2824, Applicant's Statement of Disability, through the servicing personnel office. The application and other prescribed documentation that identifies the employee's performance deficiency and outlines the manner in which the medical condition serving as the basis for the disability is responsible for the deficiency will be ultimately submitted to OPM.
H. Death Benefits. There are two kinds of death benefits under CSRS: Survivor annuity and lump sum payment. SF-2800, Application for Death Benefits, is used to apply for death benefits.
(1) Survivor Annuity.
(a) Upon the death of an employee, a survivor annuity may be payable to a spouse, former spouse, or children. A spouse and/or dependent children may qualify for a survivor annuity if the deceased employee completed at least 18 months of civilian service and died while employed in a position subject to the CSRS.
(b) A married employee will receive a fully reduced annuity to provide a current spouse annuity unless the employee, with the consent of the current spouse, elects a self-only, a partially reduced, or a fully reduced annuity to provide a former spouse an annuity provided the current spouse consents to the election or spousal consent is waived by OPM.
(c) A survivor of a deceased employee or retiree may file an application for annuity, personally or through a representative, at any time within 30 years after the death of the employee or retiree.
(d) The maximum rate for a survivor annuity is 55 percent of the employee's self-only annuity. A survivor annuity for a spouse is computed as if the employee had retired on a disability retirement as of the date of death. An annuity to the surviving spouse of an employee generally begins on the day after the employee's death and ends on the last day of the month preceding the month the spouse dies or remarries before age 55 (or age 60 if the remarriage occurred before November 8, 1984).
(2) Lump Sum Benefit. A lump sum benefit may be payable upon the death of an employee if there is no spouse or child entitled to a survivor annuity, or if a survivor annuity is payable, after the right of the last person entitled thereto has been terminated. This benefit is payable immediately upon an employee's death when the employee has less than 18 months of creditable civilian service, or leaves no spouse, former spouse, or children entitled to a survivor annuity.
2.7 Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). This retirement system is a three-tiered plan consisting of Social Security Benefits, the Basic Benefit Plan, and the Thrift Savings Plan; and funds from all three components comprise the FERS benefit. FERS covers anyone first hired after December 31, 1983; employees rehired after December 31, 1983, with a break in service of more than 1 year and with less than 5 years of civilian service as of December 31, 1986; and employees who elected to transfer to FERS from CSRS.
A. Social Security.
(1) Social Security is a national system of old-age, survivors, and disability insurance cash benefits. During working years, an employee and his/her employer(s) pay Social Security taxes. When the employee's earnings stop or are reduced due to retirement, severe disability, or death of the employee, monthly cash benefits are paid to replace part of the earnings the employee and the family have lost. To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, an employee must have sufficient Social Security-covered employment. Persons born in 1929 or later generally require 40 quarters (10 years) of coverage, and those born before 1929 need fewer quarters. Social Security benefits are provided to a FERS employee and his/her dependents who qualify as beneficiaries under OASDI.
(2) A FERS employee is covered by Social Security taxes that cover both the OASDI and Medicare Hospital Insurance programs. The withholding for Social Security Tax is predetermined annually, and the employee is taxed up to the maximum taxable wage base. For 1992, the withholding is 7.65 percent of pay (6.20 percent for OASDI and 1.45 percent for Medicare).
(3) A fully insured employee is eligible for benefits at age 62, but his/her benefits are permanently reduced for each month of entitlement prior to the full-benefit retirement age of 65. Any employee who is fully insured and who becomes disabled is eligible for unreduced disability insurance benefits (DIB), regardless of age, when the disability occurs at least 6 months before age 65. However, benefits for retirees who became entitled to DIB after September 1981 may be reduced if the Federal annuity is also based on disability. To obtain disability insurance benefits, an employee age 31 or over needs credit under Social Security for at least 5 years of work out of the 10 years ending when the disability occurs. If disabled before age 24, credit is needed for 1 1/2 years of work in the 3-year period ending when the disability began and, if between 24 and 31, credit is needed for half the time between the 21st birthday and the time the person became disabled. Special rules apply to disability caused by blindness. Because disability has a specific meaning under Social Security law, an employee entitled to payment for "total disability" under another retirement system may not also be eligible for disability benefits under Social Security.
B. Basic Benefit Plan.
(1) General. To be eligible for optional retirement with an immediate reduced annuity under the Basic Benefit Plan, a FERS employee must have at least 5 years of creditable civilian service for which full FERS deductions were made and not refunded, must meet the minimum age requirement (MRA) (i.e., the earliest age an employee may retire with an immediate reduced annuity or an unreduced annuity after 30 years of service) and the 10-year service requirement (i.e., at least 10 years of civilian and military service), must separate from a position covered by FERS, and must not be entitled to an immediate annuity under any other FERS provision (e.g., age 60 with 20 years of service. A FERS employee may retire with an unreduced annuity at age 55 with 30 years of service (the MRA increases to 57 for employees born between 1948 and 1970), age 60 with 20 years of service, and age 62 with 5 years of service. An employee subject to the special retirement provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters may retire on an unreduced annuity at age 50 with 20 years of service or at any time after age 50 when service requirements are satisfied. An employee is eligible for involuntary early retirement with unreduced benefits at any age with 25 years of service and at age 50 with 20 years of service. A former employee is eligible to receive a deferred retirement annuity commencing at age 62 when he/she:
(a) Is not eligible for an immediate annuity within 1 month of separation;
(b) Has completed at least 5 years of creditable civilian service;
(c) Does not request and receive a refund of retirement deductions after separating from the service or transferring to a non-CSRS position; and
(d) Is age 62 with at least 5 years of creditable service or the MRA with at least 10 years of creditable service. Separating employees should be advised to request an Application for Deferred or Postponed Retirement (RI Form 92-19) from OPM about 2 months before reaching age 62 or the date the employee wants the annuity to begin, if earlier. Servicing personnel offices will provide instructions for completing and forwarding the form to OPM. Unused sick leave is generally not converted into creditable service for a FERS employee (except under the limitations provided for CSRS employees who transfer to FERS). A FERS employee is subject to the same mandatory retirement provisions provided for CSRS employees in 2.6.
(2) Special Retirement Supplement. In addition to the basic benefit annuity, the retiree receiving unreduced retirement benefits may also receive a special retirement supplement that is designed to approximate his/her eventual Social Security benefit. The supplement is intended to provide additional compensation to an employee retiring prior to age 62 who is not eligible to receive Social Security benefits. It will be paid until Social Security benefits become available at age 62. The supplement begins at the employee's MRA and continues until age 62 and is not payable to an employee who is not eligible for an immediate annuity. The special retirement supplement for a retiree is not increased by COLAs, but the supplement is increased by COLAs for a survivor.
(3) Benefits. The basic FERS annuity is based on an employee's length of service and the "high-3" average salary. For most employees, the formula for computing the annual annuity is 1 percent of average pay for each year of creditable service. The annuity for a law enforcement officer or a firefighter retiring under the special retirement provisions, a disability retiree, and a survivor (except children) is supplemented by an annual COLA after the first year of retirement. All other FERS retirees must wait until age 62 to receive a COLA.
(4) Contributions. Contributions to the Basic Benefit Plan are the difference between 7 percent of basic pay and Social Security's OASDI tax rate.
(5) Refunds. An employee may request a refund of FERS contributions (plus interest, as appropriate) if he/she leaves the Federal employment for at least 31 consecutive days or is transferred to, or is reemployed in (following a break of 4 days or more), a position in which he/she is not subject to FERS and remains in the position for at least 31 days. A FERS employee must also meet the conditions provided in 2.6E(3) through (6). Form SF-3106, Application for Refund of Retirement Deductions, and SF-3106A, Current/Former Spouse's Notification of Application for Refund of Retirement Deductions, as appropriate, must be used to withdraw FERS contributions. After the refund is granted, the employee will not be eligible to receive credit or benefits for the service covered by the refund since there is no provision for redeposit of FERS contributions.
(6) Survivor Benefits. Basic death benefits under FERS include a lump sum payment and a survivor annuity. A lump sum payment is paid to the spouse of a deceased employee who, at the time of death, completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service, died while subject to FERS, and was married to the surviving spouse for at least 9 months, the parent of a child of the marriage, or died accidentally. The basic death benefit for the survivor of an employee meeting the minimum eligibility requirements is $15,000 (increased by all CSRS COLAs beginning December 1, 1987, plus 50 percent of the employee's final salary (or "high-3" average salary if higher). This benefit is paid in a lump sum or on a monthly basis over a 36-month period depending upon the surviving spouse's election. When an employee has completed 10 years of service at the time of death, the basic death benefit also entitles the surviving spouse to a monthly annuity that is equal to 50 percent of the unreduced annuity the employee would have been entitled to had he/she been of retirement age. The survivor annuity begins on the day after the employee, former employee, or annuitant dies. If the employee leaves no widow, widower, former spouse, or children who are eligible for a survivor annuity, a lump sum payment will be made under the order of precedence. Because the basic death benefit is not a survivor annuity, a surviving spouse can be paid the lump sum if he/she is entitled to the lump sum under the order of precedence. SF-3104, Application for Death Benefits, is used to apply for death benefits.
(7) Disability Retirement. An employee requesting disability retirement must complete SF-3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and SF-3105A, Applicant's Statement of Disability. Disability benefits will be paid to an employee who has at least 18 months of creditable civilian service and who, as a result of injury or illness, is unable to perform useful and efficient service in his/her position. The FERS disability annuity will be 60 percent of the employee's "high-3" average salary for the first year of disability and 40 percent of the "high-3" average salary for subsequent years. The FERS disability annuity will be reduced if an employee is also eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The disability annuity is recomputed at age 62, regardless of whether or not the retiree receives Social Security disability benefits.
C. Thrift Savings Plan. The TSP offers a FERS employee an opportunity to contribute up to 10 percent of his/her pay to the TSP and to save a percentage of his/her salary on a tax-deferred basis until retirement. The Government contributes 1 percent of pay and matches a portion of the employee's contributions up to 5 percent of pay. Any TSP participant has a choice of investment options in the Government Securities Investment (G) Fund, the Common Stock Index (C) Fund, and the Fixed Income Index Investment (F) Fund and is permitted to make up to four interfund transfers a year. All money earned on the investment is tax-deferred until the employee retires. In addition, the TSP has portable benefits, a choice of withdrawal options upon separation from Federal Service, and other benefits.
2.8 Administration of Law Enforcement and Firefighter Positions. The Secretary's Designee has authority to approve positions that are characteristic of the law enforcement and firefighter positions identified in 2.4 above for primary or secondary coverage under the special retirement provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) for CSRS employees and for rigorous or secondary coverage under 5 U.S.C. 8412(d) for FERS employees. The incumbents of law enforcement and firefighter positions are subject to maximum entry age and mandatory separation age requirements as well as physical and medical standards.
A. Coverage. The special retirement provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters provide for the coverage of both positions and individuals. An employee who serves in a primary or rigorous position as defined above in 2.4E and 2.4F, respectively, is automatically covered. An employee who is determined by OPM, the Department, or other administrative authority to have creditable law enforcement or firefighting service is also covered and entitled to the benefits afforded employees subject to the special retirement provisions. However, an employee who serves in a secondary position or who is determined to have creditable service in a secondary position is covered only if he/she transfers directly to the secondary position from a primary or rigorous position without a break in service of 3 days. In addition, any employee who obtains retroactive law enforcement coverage under CSRS or FERS would also be retroactively considered a law enforcement officer for pay purposes.
(1) Position. Generally, servicing personnel offices in conjunction and cooperation with program officials, initiate the process for position coverage.
(a) When an uncovered position changes to the extent that law enforcement or firefighting work becomes the primary purpose of the position, the supervisor should amend the employee's position description to reflect the new primary purpose of the position and the change in major duties. Simultaneously, the supervisor should determine the percentage of time spent in performing potentially qualifying duties and consider the need for coverage of the position under 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) and 5 U.S.C. 8412(d).
(b) The identification of qualifying positions in traditional and nontraditional law enforcement or firefighter occupational series as well as positions in series that are generally excluded from coverage (e.g., GS-083) is necessary to enhance management's efforts in recruiting and retaining a highly qualified workforce. Positions classified to nontraditional occupational series (e.g., GS-025) include positions in which law enforcement or firefighting is determined to be the primary purpose of the position and the incumbent performs or is expected to perform work characteristic of a law enforcement officer or firefighter for at least 50 percent of the time.
(c) Requests for coverage should be initiated following the classification and evaluation of a new or reclassified position or following the identification of a potentially eligible position.
(d) The documentation for each law enforcement or firefighter position proposed for coverage must be forwarded to DPM in Headquarters for review and subsequent forwarding to the Department for review and appropriate action. Transmittal packages for primary or rigorous and secondary positions must be signed by the appropriate Regional or Assistant Director and must include the three certification sheets provided in Exhibit 1 that have been completed and appropriately certified. In addition, the following documents are required:
(i) The position description, including the OF-8;
(ii) The evaluation statement explaining the classification of the position;
(iii) The functional statement for the organization where the position is located and the organizational chart showing at least two levels above and below the level of the position, as applicable;
(iv) The performance standards for the position;
(v) The qualification requirements (other than those contained in OPM's Operating Manual, Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions (formerly Handbook X-118), and medical and/or physical standards that are conditions of employment;
(vi) A statement concerning any maximum entry age that is other than that indicated in 2.8B(1); and
(vii) For law enforcement officers, a list of the provisions of Federal criminal laws the incumbent is responsible for enforcing.
(2) Individual Coverage. This type of coverage is initiated by an employee based upon the belief that his/her current or prior service in a position(s) where law enforcement or firefighting work was performed may satisfy the criteria for crediting such service under the special retirement provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters. Requests should be initiated within 1 year after the employee enters on duty in the position or after there is a significant change in the employee's position.
(a) An employee who currently serves or previously served in a position that has not been approved by OPM or the Department for primary/secondary or rigorous/secondary coverage, but who believes that his/her current or prior service meets the criteria for coverage in one or more of these categories, may request that the Secretary's Designee make a determination regarding the eligibility of this service for crediting under the special retirement provisions.
(b) Requests are submitted to the servicing personnel office for review and subsequent forwarding to DPM in Headquarters. Following a favorable DPM review, the request will be forwarded to the Department for review and appropriate action. As a rule, the Department will not consider requests for a determination relating to the crediting of prior service that is greater than 1 year.
(c) Because the employee bears the burden of proof with respect to position coverage and service credit, he/she should submit the following to the servicing personnel office:
(i) A letter or statement that specifically states what service is being claimed for crediting under the special retirement provisions. The document should identify the duties the employee feels meet the criteria for primary/secondary or rigorous/ secondary coverage.
(ii) An SF-171 employment application, resume, or Optional Application for Federal Employment (formerly SF-171) that provides information about service being claimed.
(iii) Supporting documentation that includes, as appropriate, fire or law enforcement training forms, fire experience record (including number and names of fires fought and the name of the position occupied while performing service as a firefighter), a list of the provisions of Federal criminal laws enforced, a summary of arrests and citations, work diaries or logs, and other pertinent documentation that shows the relevance of the requirement for previous fire/law enforcement experience for a secondary position.
(v) Copies of position descriptions for each period of service claimed. Each position description should be annotated to indicate the percentage of time spent performing the duties specified. This is an important timesaving request that will facilitate the review of the request and allow the reviewers to make an informed decision regarding the primary duties and purpose of the position. In addition, the position description number on the OF-8 should correspond with the position description number on the SF-50 covering the same period of service. If a position description number was changed due to a reorganization that did not necessitate reclassification of the position, an SF-50 showing the change of the position description number should be included among the documents requested for item 2.8A(2)(c)(iv) above.
(vi) A statement of duties showing the dates for each period of service in a position for which coverage is sought when the position description covering the questionable period of service is not available or does not reflect actual the performance of duties thought to be creditable for the period claimed. The statement should be annotated to show the percentage of time spent performing law enforcement or firefighter duties.
(vii) Supervisory statements from first-line or other knowledgeable supervisors to substantiate an employee's claim of service that may be creditable under the special retirement provisions. Each statement should specifically show the percentage of time the employee spent performing the duties of the position for each period of service claimed. Statements from coworkers may also be included to corroborate the employee's claim. Each statement from a supervisor or coworker should provide the individual's name and title and state his/her organizational relationship to the claimant (e.g., first line supervisor, division chief).
(viii) If possible, organization charts and function statements showing that the position is in an organization having firefighting/law enforcement as a mission.
(3) Disposition of Requests for Coverage. The Department will provide written notification regarding the approval or disapproval of any request for coverage under the special retirement provisions. The manner of notification will differ depending upon the nature of the request--whether position or individual coverage.
(a) Position Coverage.
(i) Service-initiated requests sent to the Department for position coverage are documented on the Department's form, Certification of Approval for Special Retirement Coverage (Exhibit 2). Generally, both CSRS and FERS coverage is simultaneously requested for each newly established or reclassified position. This provides management more flexibility in recruiting for and filling vacancies for new or reclassified positions. However, there may be instances where coverage will be requested for only one retirement system when the position has been approved for coverage under the other retirement system.
(ii) Upon approval, the Department will send a copy of the certification to DPM for subsequent forwarding to the initiating servicing personnel office.
(iii) Servicing personnel offices will attach a copy of the certification to the position description for the position for which coverage was granted and will annotate the OF-8 of the position description to indicate that the position has been approved for coverage under the special retirement provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) and/or 5 U.S.C. 8412(d), as applicable.
(iv) If the position is occupied and the approval is for primary coverage, servicing personnel offices must correct each relevant SF-50 in the employee's Official Personnel Folder (OPF) to change the retirement code to reflect appropriate coverage and to include the remark "Changes item from to ." SF-50 corrections will be necessary for approved secondary positions only if the employee has satisfied the transfer requirement.
(v) The servicing personnel office initiates correspondence to request the Office of PAY/PERS (FWS Payroll) to compute the amount of retirement contribution owed for the periods of service creditable under the special retirement provisions and attaches copies of the corrected SF-50s and a listing of the periods of service for which the employee is obligated. After computing the amount of retroactive retirement contributions owed by the employee, FWS Payroll will notify the Denver Finance Center (DFC) of the employee's obligation. DFC will bill the employee and provide instructions concerning the amount due, the payment schedule, and the method of payment.
(vi) Simultantously, the servicing personnel office will inform employees that coverage has been approved for specific periods and that they will be billed by the DFC for payment of the additional retirement contribution that is required as a result of retroactive position coverage.
(b) Individual Coverage.
(i) For employee-initiated requests for a determination regarding the eligibility of prior service for crediting under the special retirement provisions, the Department will render decisions in letters sent directly to the employee. A copy of each decision is sent to the initiating bureau for appropriate action.
(ii) The servicing personnel office files a copy of the letter as a permanent document in the employee's OPF. The letter should accompany the employee's application at the time of retirement.
(iii) An employee may appeal a decision concerning a prior service position determination that is rendered by the Secretary's Designee under procedures prescribed by the Merit Systems Protections Board.
B. Maximum Entry Age.
(a) Exceptions to the maximum entry age will be approved only in those rare and unique situations where there is a need for especially qualified individuals or where documented skills shortages arise in specific law enforcement or firefighter positions.
(b) An exception to the maximum entry age requirement may be allowed in instances where an employee is reassigned as a management directive into a covered primary position when the employee meets the medical and physical standards established for the position. Exceptions of this nature are only in effect during the initial implementation of and transition of employees to benchmark or standard law enforcement or firefighter positions.
(c) A request for an exception to the maximum entry age is
forwarded to the servicing personnel office for review and subsequent
forwarding to the designated approving official, the Assistant Director -
Policy, Budget and Administration or his designee.
(d) Servicing personnel offices are responsible for ensuring the transmittal requesting an exception to the maximum entry age sufficiently explains the reason(s) precipitating the request and includes any supporting documentation deemed necessary before forwarding it to the APBA for appropriate action. Also, servicing personnel offices are responsible for ensuring that approved exceptions are filed in the employee's Official Personnel Folder and appropriately maintained along with other germane documentation in a subject matter file.
(1) Generally, all law enforcement officers and firefighters are subject to mandatory separation based upon age. The mandatory separation provisions do not apply to employees who have attained retirement eligibility under the special retirement provisions but who are not currently occupying a law enforcement or firefighter position.
(2) Law enforcement officers are mandatorily separated with 20
years of service at age 57 (since November 5, 1990) and firefighters with 20
years of service at age 55. While a mandatory separation is considered an
involuntary separation, it is not an adverse or removal action that is subject
to appeal under an appropriate authority.
(3) An employee who meets the age requirements for retirement on any date within a month, is automatically separated at the end of that month. If a law enforcement officer or a firefighter attains the standard mandatory separation age and has not yet completed the required 20 years of service under the special provisions, he/she must be separated on the last day of the month in which he/she completes the 20 years of service.
(4) Automatic separation follows advance notification of at least 60 days to the employee. If the notification to the employee is not timely, the employee may not be separated without his consent until the end of the month in which the 60-day notice expires.
(5) The automatic separation of these individuals may be extended through age 60 if the Secretary approves an exemption based upon a determination that retention is in the public interest. The OPM approves an exemption from automatic separation of non-Presidential appointees beyond age 60.
(6) Requests for exemption from automatic separation are documented in accordance with criteria in 5 CFR 831.502(c) and are submitted through the servicing personnel office to DPM.
(7) Mandatory separation based upon age prohibits reemployment of the individual in another primary or rigorous position.
2.9 Government (Public) Pension Offset. The GPO reduces the Social Security spouse or survivor benefit if the individual entitled to such benefits is also entitled to a Federal pension (annuity) that is not covered by Social Security. The unearned Social Security benefit will be reduced by $2 for every $3 the individual receives in a Federal pension annuity. This provision applies to any employee who becomes eligible for a CSRS retirement benefit after June 1983 and who transfers to FERS after July 1, 1988, but is not covered by FERS for at least 5 years prior to retirement. It does not apply to an employee covered by the CSRS Offset plan or to an employee who transferred to FERS from CSRS prior to July 1, 1988. The GPO will not affect anyone who earns his/her Social Security benefit based in whole or in part on FERS service.
2.10 Windfall Elimination Provision. The purpose of the WEP is to reduce or eliminate any unintended advantage (windfall) that the basic Social Security formula used for computing benefits gives to an individuals who also has an annuity from Federal employment that is not covered by Social Security. It affects an employee who has an earned Social Security Benefit and an earned CSRS or FERS Government annuity when the employee reaches age 62 or becomes disabled after 1985 and first becomes eligible after 1985 for a monthly annuity based in whole or in part on work not covered by Social Security.
2.11 Voluntary Contributions.
(1) Any employee covered by CSRS (including CSRS Offset) who wants to receive a larger annuity than would be payable based on service and "high-3" average salary may make voluntary contributions to purchase additional annuity. Voluntary contributions can also be used as a savings or an investment option. Unlike contributions to the TSP, voluntary contributions are not tax deferred. However, the earnings from voluntary contributions are tax deferred until withdrawal.
(2) Accounts for voluntary contributions earn a variable interest rate that is determined by the Treasury Department each year, and the interest credited to each account is compounded annually on December 31. Voluntary contributions begin to earn interest on the date OPM makes the deposit.
(3) Accrued interest is taxable in the tax year in which received. In addition, if a refund is received before the employee attains age 59 1/2, the interest portion of the refund will be subject to an additional 10 percent early distribution tax. The additional penalty will not apply if the payment is on account of disability, monthly additional annuity payments (rather than a lump sum payment) are elected, or the payment is made after separation from the Federal service during or after the year in which the individual attains age 55.
B. Eligibility. A CSRS employee is eligible to make voluntary contributions if he/she does not owe a deposit or redeposit for prior civilian service or had a break in service after receiving a refund of voluntary contributions and was reemployed subject to CSRS following a separation of more than 3 calendar days. A FERS employee is not eligible to make voluntary contributions. However, a FERS employee who had a voluntary contributions account under CSRS prior to transferring to FERS may retain the account and continue to earn interest but is barred from making additional contributions. In addition, an employee who owes a deposit or redeposit for civilian service is not eligible to make voluntary contributions until the deposit or redeposit has been made.
C. Purchase of Voluntary Contributions.
(1) Any eligible employee wishing to make voluntary contributions should complete form RI 38-124, Voluntary Contributions Election, to initiate the process. This form may be obtained from the servicing personnel office and should be returned to the same office after completion. The form will be subsequently forwarded to OPM, the authorized approving agency. OPM will notify applicants of the status of their requests and also provide information about making contributions.
(2) Voluntary contributions may be made at regular intervals or whenever desired. Payments must be in the amount of $25, or multiples thereof, and must be made directly to OPM since deductions for voluntary contributions may not be made by payroll deduction. The maximum amount of voluntary contributions may not exceed 10 percent of the total basic pay the employee has received for all of his/her creditable Federal service. The 10 percent limit test applies each time a deposit is made and is not based upon a projection of lifetime earnings. When an employee retires or withdraws his/her voluntary contributions, OPM will refund without interest any amount that exceeds the 10 percent limit.
D. Disposition of Voluntary Contributions. Voluntary
contributions may be withdrawn or refunded at any time upon request or may be
used to purchase additional annuity upon retirement from the Federal service.
(1) Requesting a Refund.
(a) Before making a decision regarding a refund of voluntary contributions, employees should obtain a copy of Form RI-125, Voluntary Contributions Notice, and RI 37-22, Special Tax Notice Regarding Rollovers, from their servicing personnel office.
(b) Any employee wishing to withdraw his/her voluntary contributions may apply for a refund of all contributions and accrued interest comprising the account by filing form RI 38-124 with OPM. The form may be filed prior to or after separation from Federal service. If the filing is subsequent to separation, it must be filed before the employee receives additional annuity based on those contributions.
(c) If an employee leaves Federal service and takes a refund of voluntary contributions, the interest is computed to the date of the refund or separation, whichever is earlier. To avoid a loss of interest, a retiring employee requesting a refund should send the election directly to OPM 60 days before the date of retirement.
(d) Once a refund of voluntary contributions is paid, an employee must meet eligibility requirements (see 2.11B above) before he/she can make voluntary contributions again.
(2) Purchasing An Annuity.
(a) A voluntary contributions account is automatically converted to an additional annuity at retirement unless the retiree requests a refund of such contributions from OPM (see 2.11D(1) above) before the final adjudication of his/her basic annuity. An annuity based upon voluntary contributions is not increased by cost-of-living allowances.
(b) Upon retirement at age 55, each $100 in a voluntary contributions account (including earned interest) will provide an additional annuity of $7 a year that increases by 20 cents for each full year the retiree exceeds age 55 at the time of retirement. The retiree may choose to share the additional annuity by electing to provide a survivor annuity. However, the additional annuity would then be reduced by 5 percent for each full 5 years the person designated to receive the survivor annuity is younger than the retiree, up to a maximum of 40 percent. Any person, related or unrelated to the retiree, may be designated for a survivor annuity and the designee need not be the same person for whom regular survivor annuity benefits were elected.
(c) If death occurs after retirement, but before the retiree receives additional annuity payments equal to the voluntary contributions plus interest, the difference will be paid either as a lump sum or in additional survivor annuity payments, depending upon the retiree's election at retirement.
2.12 Deposit and Redeposit Service.
A. Deposit Service. Deposit or nondeduction service is any period of creditable service for which retirement deductions were not made. The amount of a deposit is the sum of the deductions that would have been withheld from an employee's basic pay during the period of nondeduction service had the employee been covered by the retirement system, plus accrued interest. An employee subject to CSRS, CSRS Offset, or FERS is permitted to make voluntary deposits to cover nondeduction service. However, a FERS employee is permitted to make voluntary deposits for nondeduction service performed before January 1, 1989. Nondeduction service performed by FERS employees after December 31, 1988, cannot be used for retirement eligibility or annuity computation purposes.
(1) CSRS/CSRS Offset. Nondeduction service performed by a CSRS or CSRS Offset employee before October 1, 1982, counts toward eligibility for retirement and is used to compute the annuity. If an employee does not make a deposit to cover the service, the annual annuity is reduced by an amount equal to 10 percent of the deposit owed (including interest). Nondeduction service performed after September 30, 1982, counts toward eligibility for retirement and may be used for "high-3" average salary purposes, but it is not used to determine total creditable service for annuity computation purposes unless the employee pays the deposit. A deposit may be made at any time prior to the final adjudication of a retirement claim or deemed paid if an eligible employee elects an alternative annuity.
(2) FERS Employee. Nondeduction service performed by a FERS employee prior to January 1, 1989, is creditable under FERS for both retirement eligibility and annuity computation purposes when the deposit is made prior to the final adjudication of his/her retirement claim or when an eligible employee elects an alternative annuity and has the deposit deemed paid. A deposit is not required for nondeduction service performed after January 1, 1989, since this service is generally not creditable under FERS for retirement eligibility or annuity computation purposes.
B. Redeposit service. Redeposit service is any period of CSRS civilian service for which retirement deductions were made and later refunded upon the employee's separation from the Federal service.
(1) CSRS/CSRS Offset. Payment of a redeposit is not required for the service to be used in determining CSRS retirement eligibility, but payment is required if the service is to be used for annuity computation purposes. Any CSRS or CSRS Offset employee retiring on or after December 2, 1990, who owes a redeposit for service ending before October 1, 1990, is not required to pay a redeposit. However, the employee will receive an annuity that is reduced based on actuarial factors. Unless a CSRS or CSRS Offset employee who receives a refund for service performed after October 1, 1990, makes a redeposit, the refunded service will be used to determine retirement eligibility, but it will not be used to compute the annuity. A redeposit may be made at any time prior to the final adjudication of a claim for CSRS retirement benefits.
(2) FERS. A separating employee covered under FERS may request and receive a lump sum refund (including market rate interest) of all retirement contributions withheld for the Basic Benefit Plan. However, an employee who receives a refund of FERS retirement contributions may not make a redeposit. Consequently, all credit for FERS refunded service is lost for both retirement eligibility and annuity computation purposes.
2.13 Alternative Form of Annuity (AFA) Elections.
A. An eligible employee retiring under CSRS or FERS may elect to receive an alternative form of annuity if he/she is eligible for a nondisability annuity and has a life-threatening affliction or other critical medical condition. Contact the servicing personnel office for additional information.
B. The AFA allows a retiree to withdraw the full amount of his/her retirement contributions (plus interest) and also receive a reduced monthly annuity payable for the life of the annuitant.
C. Eligibility for electing AFA also requires a nondisability annuitant's current spouse to consent to the election. A retiring employee with a former spouse who is entitled by court order to receive a portion of the employee's annuity or the survivor annuity based on the employee's service is ineligible to elect AFA unless the court order is issued in conjunction with a divorce decree that terminates the marriage after the employee's retirement, but before the final adjudication of the employee's claim.
D. An employee who qualifies for the AFA based upon a life-threatening affliction or other critical medical condition will receive the lump-sum payment in a single payment. The lump-sum payment is taxable in the year it is received.
2.14 Post-1956 Military Service.
A. Employed before October 1, 1982. An employee who was first employed in a position covered by CSRS before October 1, 1982, has the option of either making the deposit for post-1956 military service or receiving credit for the military service without the deposit. In the latter case, the employee's annuity will be recomputed at age 62 to eliminate post-1956 military service if he/she becomes eligible for Social Security old-age or survivor benefits at age 62.
B. Employed on or after October 1, 1982. An employee who was first employed under CSRS on or after October 1, 1982, will receive credit for the post-1956 military service only if a deposit for the military service is made. An employee hired on or after January 1, 1984, who is subject to FERS will receive credit for their post-1956 military service only if a deposit is made under FERS.
C. Amount of Deposit. The deposit for a CSRS or CSRS Offset employee will be 7 percent of basic military pay received, plus interest. The interest-free grace period for a CSRS employee ends 2 years after the later of October 1, 1983, the date the employee is first employed in a position subject to CSRS, or the date the employee returns to a position subject to CSRS after performing the period of military service for which the deposit is to be paid. For an employee covered by FERS and with less than 5 years of creditable service under CSRS, the deposit is 3 percent of basic military pay.
D. Refund of Military Deposit. Any employee who makes a complete or partial deposit for military service is not eligible for a refund of any payment properly accepted by the Service unless he/she:
(1) Separates from Federal service and meets the requirements for a refund of all contributions (including those for civilian service);
(2) Retires after making only a partial deposit;
(3) Receives military retired pay and decides against waiving it to combine military and civilian service at the time of retirement; or
(4) Receives a refund of the deposit as part of an alternative annuity lump-sum payment at the time of retirement.
A. A discontinued service or involuntary retirement provides an immediate, possibly reduced, annuity for an employee who is separated against his/her will. Examples of involuntary separations that may qualify for a discontinued service retirement may be separations caused by reduction-in-force, position abolishment, lack of funds, unacceptable performance (unless due to misconduct by the employee), transfer of function outside the commuting area, and reassignment outside the commuting area when no mobility agreement exists.
B. Proposed actions for involuntary separations that may result in optional or discontinued service retirement must be reviewed and approved as indicated in 2.15D below before separating the employee from Federal service and before initiating any formal action to partially or fully implement the decision serving as the basis for the involuntary action and notifying the employee of the proposal. This review assures that there are sufficient grounds for the proposed action and that alternative placement considerations for retention have been fully explored.
C. Each request for approval to initiate an involuntary separation must document all alternative placement efforts and fully explain why retention of an employee in the Service in lieu of involuntary separation is not appropriate or feasible. If consideration was not given to placement alternatives, the reasons for this decision must also be stated. The requirement that involuntary separation actions be approved prior to implementation does not preclude informal discussions with the employee to determine likely choices under the proposed circumstances.
D. Requests are submitted through servicing personnel offices for review, controlling as deemed necessary, and forwarding to the appropriate Service official for approval. Submissions should be received sufficiently in advance of proposed effective dates to allow time for a thorough review. Requests are approved as follows:
(1) Regional Directors, Regions 1 - 7, for employees in grades GS-13 and below.
(2) Assistant Directors for Headquarters employees in grades GS-13 and below. Formal requests for employees at GS-13 and below are forwarded to the servicing personnel office for concurrence and subsequent forwarding to the respective approving official.
(3) The Deputy Director - Line for employees in grades GS-14 and above. Requests for employees at GS-14 and above are sent to DPM for review and subsequent forwarding to the approving official.
2.16 Employee Planning for Retirement. The following provides important information for employees planning for retirement. Additional information may be obtained from the servicing personnel office.
A. Five-year Period Prior to Retirement. Planning for retirement during this period is important because there are certain benefits (i.e., health benefits and life insurance) that require at least 5 years participation before they can be continued into retirement. In addition, employees need preliminary information in order to make decisions as to when they can afford to retire, whether to make service credit payments, and when to make such payments. Each employee is encouraged to contact his/her servicing personnel office to obtain a preliminary annuity estimate and to initiate procedures to determine the creditability of periods of civilian and/or military service or to determine the amount owed, if any, for deposit (civilian and military) and/or redeposit service. As applicable, employees should obtain Form SSA-7004-PC, Request for Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement, from their local Social Security Office and return the form to the same or another office to obtain information regarding eligibility and estimates for future Social Security benefits.
B. One Year Before Retirement.
(1) An employee should determine when he/she will be eligible to retire by ensuring that the age and service requirements are met; make a decision regarding the retirement date; obtain information about other pensions for which he/she might be eligible (e.g., Foreign Service, Social Security, pensions from private industry, TSP, and/or Individual Retirement Plans), and advise his/her supervisor of anticipated retirement date. In addition, the employee may attend a pre-retirement counseling seminar and make an appointment with the servicing personnel office to review his/her Official Personnel Folder to ensure the completeness and accuracy of personnel records, including those relating to benefits (e.g., life insurance coverage, health benefits enrollment, TSP, and military service).
(2) As appropriate, the employee should contact the servicing personnel office to inquire about the post-1956 military deposit and deposits/redeposits for civilian service and the effect that the payment or nonpayment of these deposits will have on his/her annuity.
(3) Each employee should obtain information about the effect of GPO and WEP, and tax rules applicable to retirement annuities as provided in Internal Revenue Service Publication 721, Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits.
C. Six Months Before Retirement.
(1) Clear up any indebtedness to the employing agency (e.g., outstanding travel advances, salary overpayment, or financial liability for failure to return or damage to Government property).
(2) Verify eligibility for Medicare.
(3) Any employee wishing to waive his/her military retired pay in order to receive credit for the military service, should notify the appropriate Military Finance Center in writing at least 90 days but no later than 60 days before the planned retirement date.
(D) Two Months Before Retirement.
(1) The employee should choose his/her date of retirement and find out when his/her annuity will commence.
(2) As applicable, the employee should request that the payroll office verify that the deposit for post-1956 military service has been completed or will be completed before he/she leaves the agency rolls.
(3) Any employee who has made voluntary contributions while employed may, at the time of retirement, decide if he/she wants to use these contributions to purchase additional annuity or if he/she wants to request a refund of the contributions.
(4) The employee should obtain all retirement and insurance forms from the personnel office, complete the retirement application and related forms, and submit all forms to his/her supervisor or servicing personnel office. In addition, the employee should begin all other customary exit procedures.
(5) Completed TSP withdrawal forms should be sent to the TSP office not earlier than the employee's date of retirement and not later than 90 days after the date of retirement.
(6) Since annuity payments are now paid by direct deposit through electronic transfer, any retiree or survivor who wants his/her annuity payments sent to a bank or other financial institution should obtain a Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form (SF-1199A) from the servicing personnel office and take it to the bank or financial institution of his/her choice. After the retiree or survivor and the bank have completed their portions of the form, the form should be submitted with the retirement application or death claim application to the servicing personnel office. No further election is required for retirees or spouses of survivors who were signed up at the time of retirement since the direct deposit through electronic transfer account data will be transmitted to OPM via magnetic tape from payroll records. Retirees and survivors who want to be paid by check must submit a written request to OPM. Contact servicing personnel office for additional information.
2.17 Reemployment of Annuitants. This section provides general information regarding the reemployment of annuitants. The disposition of their annuity and pay for reemployed annuitants will be based upon the optional, involuntary, or disability retirement provisions governing their separation from Federal service. An individual who retired under a retirement system other than CSRS is subject to the reemployment provisions of that retirement system. Refer to 5 CFR 837.102 for definition of "other retirement system." Also refer to chapter 100 of the CSRS and FERS Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices, formerly FPM Supplement 830-1, for additional information on the reemployment of annuitants.
(1) Generally, an annuitant (including a disability annuitant) who retired under CSRS and FERS is eligible for reemployment in any appointive or elective permanent or temporary position for which he/she is qualified. However, when a disability retiree is under consideration, it may be necessary to conduct a pre-employment examination or require medical documentation prior to appointment to a position with the physical and medical requirements similar to those of the position from which the annuitant retired or where the annuitant's ability to perform is reasonably questionable. Medical evidence necessitated for a disability annuitant must be attached to the notification of reemployment of a retired individual that must be provided to OPM.
(2) A CSRS or CSRS-Offset reemployed annuitant may elect FERS coverage if he/she is reemployed, after a break in service of more than 3 days, under an appointment that does not exclude position coverage under FERS.
(3) An individual retiring under the special provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters may not, after reaching age 60, be reemployed in primary positions involving the actual performance of law enforcement or firefighting duties. Service performed as a law enforcement officer or firefighter by a reemployed annuitant is not covered by the special retirement provisions even though the position to which reemployment is proposed may be a covered position. Consequently, service performed by a special group annuitant will be treated as regular service when computing a supplemental or redetermined annuity.
(4) Eligibility for a supplemental annuity accrues when the final period of reemployment consists of at least 1 year of actual, continuous full-time service (and/or the part-time equivalent) position that is not excluded from supplemental annuity credit. If performed after September 30, 1982, the service must be covered by retirement deductions that were either withheld while employed or for which a deposit, including interest, was made after separation. A deposit must be made to cover the service or retirement deductions that were withheld from pay. Actual service is time spent in a pay status, either working or on paid leave and does not include the time spent in receipt of OWCP benefits. Employment is continuous when there are no breaks in service in excess of 3 days.
(5) Eligibility for a redetermined annuity accrues after 5 or more actual, continuous years of employment (i.e., full-time or the part-time equivalent). The continuous service on which a redetermined annuity is based must be covered by retirement deductions (election or deposit), including reemployment service performed prior to October 1, 1982, unless the annuitant performed reemployment service prior to October 1, 1982, that is not included in the period of continuous service.
B. Status of Annuity Upon Reemployment.
(2) When a discontinued service annuitant is reemployed under an appointment that is subject to CSRS or FERS (i.e., covered position), the annuity ends on the effective date of the appointment and retirement deductions are taken from the salary. However, if a discontinued service annuitant is reemployed in a covered position after a break in service of more than 365 days or is appointed to a senior official position, he/she is subject to Social Security deductions under CSRS Offset. When a discontinued service annuitant is reemployed under an appointment that is not subject to CSRS or FERS, the annuity continues and the pay is offset by the allocable amount of annuity. In addition, retirement deductions are optional, Social Security deductions are not withheld, and eligibility accrues for a supplemental or redetermined annuity.
(a) The annuity is based upon an involuntary separation (other than mandatory retirement or a separation for cause based on charges of misconduct or delinquency) and reemployment is in a position that normally would be subject to retirement deductions (e.g., career, career-conditional, or excepted);
(c) The annuitant receives a Presidential appointment subject to retirement deductions.
(4) An annuity terminated for the reasons indicated in (3)(a) and (3)(b) will be reinstated from the date the annuitant separated from Federal service unless entitlement to that annuity has been terminated by another provision of law or the annuitant is entitled to an immediate or deferred CSRS or FERS annuity based on this new separation. A Presidential appointee is entitled to a redetermined annuity.
(5) The payment of an annuity is
suspended for all annuitants receiving an interim appointment under 5 CFR
772.102 or for CSRS annuitants when the annuitant is a retired member who
becomes employed in an elective position or in a full-time or part-time
position for which he/she receives a salary.
C. Treatment of Pay Upon Reemployment.
(1) When a reemployed annuitant's annuity continues, his/her salary is offset by the allocable amount of annuity during the period of reemployment. The offset occurs unless a waiver pay/annuity has been approved by OPM under provisions of 5 CFR Part 553 based upon a determination that the employment of the individual was necessary to meet exceptional employment needs in recruiting or retaining qualified candidates for particular positions or under unusual circumstances.
(2) A civilian reemployed annuitant for whom a waiver has been approved is not considered an employee for retirement purposes. For this reason, the reemployed annuitant may not elect to have retirement deductions withheld from his/her pay; use service performed while the waiver is in effect toward a supplemental or redetermined annuity; or elect FERS coverage.
(3) Military retirees who are employed without a reduction in retired or retainer pay are considered employees for retirement purposes.
(4) The authorization for waiver of offset of pay or annuity applies only to the individual for whom it was authorized and only for the period the individual serves in the same or a successor position. The waiver terminates when the individual is reassigned to another position unless a new exception is authorized. Refer to 225 FW 9 for additional information on waivers relating to the reemployment of military and civilian retirees to meet exceptional employment needs.
D. Electing Retirement Deductions.
(1) When an annuitant elects to have retirement deductions withheld, withholdings are prospective; deductions may not be retroactively withheld. Withholdings commence on the first day of the first pay period following the day the servicing personnel office receives and accepts the request for the withholding of retirement deductions. There is no agency matching share. The withholding of retirement deductions may not be revoked during the period of reemployment or during subsequent periods of reemployment that have breaks in service of 3 days or less.
(2) A CSRS/CSRS Offset or FERS annuitant with a full-time or part-time work schedule may elect to make retirement deductions. Retirement deductions are not withheld when the annuitant's employment is intermittent and the service is not covered by the retirement system from which the annuitant retired. An election for retirement deduction withholding at the time of reemployment obviates the need for the annuitant to make a deposit at a later time in order to get credit for the service. No retirement deductions may be withheld for an annuitant granted a waiver as discussed in 2.17C above.
(3) A CSRS annuitant whose annuity continues upon reemployment and who is reemployed as a senior official is subject to CSRS-Offset rules for purposes of retirement deductions. Social security deductions are withheld on the amount of salary remaining after the reduction for the annuity payable has been taken.
(4) To have retirement deductions withheld, the annuitant must file a dated and signed letter or memorandum with the Payroll Office. Contact the servicing personnel office for assistance in the development of this letter.
2.18 Reemployment of Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP) Individual.
A. An individual who received a VSIP at the time of separation from Federal service may not be reemployed in a temporary or permanent capacity within 5 years following the effective date of separation on which the payment was based. The restriction on the reemployment of a VSIP recipient also includes any work performed under a personal services contract. A waiver may be requested from OPM if the individual under consideration for reemployment possesses unique abilities and is the only qualified applicant/individual for the position. The reemployment of the individual under a personal services contract is not waivable under any circumstances.
B. Any individual who accepts reemployment with the Federal Government within the 5-year period is required to repay the full amount of the buyout, including tax deductions, unless a waiver of repayment is approved by OPM.
C. Servicing personnel offices as the first point of contact, inform the requesting office of the conditions of reemployment and of the amount the annuitant must repay. Compliance with the employment restriction requires that repayment of the VSIP be made before the annuitant enters on duty. The amount the annuitant is obligated to repay depends on the date the annuitant received the payment. If the taxable portion of the VSIP can be adjusted in tax records prior to the end of the tax year, the annuitant would be liable only for the amount actually received. Otherwise, the annuitant would have to repay the full amount of the VSIP. Payments are sent to servicing personnel offices or directly to the Regional finance office for forwarding to DFC. Once the payment is credited, the DFC will notify the annuitant and/or the servicing personnel office.
D. Requests for waiver are sent to the servicing personnel office for review and subsequent forwarding to DPM. Following a favorable review by DPM, the request will be forwarded to the Department for review. Favorable determinations will be forwarded to OPM for review and appropriate action. Requests may be prepared in memorandum format and must:
(1) Identify the individual for whom the exception is requested, the appointing authority to be used, and the position to which he/she will be appointed;
(2) Describe how the position is essential to accomplishing the Department's or Service's mission and how the individual is uniquely qualified for the position;
(3) Describe the length, breadth, and results of recruiting efforts for the position and any other factors demonstrating that the annuitant is the only qualified applicant available for the position; and
(4) Because the separation of an employee from a critical or hard-to-fill position could have been controlled by extending the separation date, a request for the reemployment of a former Service employee who received a VSIP, must show that the recruiting need could not have been foreseen before the employee's separation.
E. Servicing personnel offices will provide to the initiator of a request for waiver written notification regarding the approval or disapproval of a request.
F. Any waiver approved by OPM will apply to a specific position
and the employee appointed to it may not be reassigned during the 5-year period
following separation unless the employee repays the VSIP or OPM approves a new
2.19 Forms. All of the forms referenced in this chapter may be reproduced locally or obtained from the servicing personnel office.
For information about this policy, contact the Division of Human Capital. For additional information regarding this Web page, contact Krista Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.