2013 COLA Update
Federal retirees in the CSRS and FERS retirement systems will receive a COLA increase
of 1.7% percent in their annuities in 2013. Complete COLA
information is available on this site.
Retiree JOB Opportunities
Many job opportunities are available for federal retirees − and those planning to
retire soon − to earn additional income in retirement. Our
Jobs Board has updated listings targeted
to federal retirees. Many companies seek out retired federal employees due
to their government experience and contacts. You can also explore high
opportunities for those that hold current Security Clearances.
CSRS and FERS federal employee retirement benefits are generous,
however they will cost you retirement dollars, especially for health and
life insurance coverage. Uncle Sam will continue federal employee's
health benefits, as long as you were enrolled in the program for the
last five years, however you must pay the same monthly amount that you
paid while working. You can also continue life insurance coverage and if
you participated in the Thrift Savings plan you have many withdrawal
options to consider.
Benefits & Insurance Menu
Retirement benefits and insurance options for federal employees include your
basic annuity, Social Security in many cases, Social Security Offset for certain
FERS retirees, Thrift Savings Plan withdrawals, and numerous insurance
options that you can opt to carry into retirement. It is best to review each
area listed on the Benefits and
Insurance Menu to fully understand your options and the impacts associated
with your selections. Consult your benefits specialist while still employed to
insure you make the correct elections when you fill out your retirement
paperwork. You can also contact each program office for clarifications and
consider professional advice if you have complicated issues to address such as
care for a disabled dependent or complex estate planning and financial concerns.
Care must be exercised, otherwise you risk missing out on benefits that you
earned or you could jeopardize the well being of your spouse and dependents by
making inappropriate elections. Another issue to consider when you decide to
leave is proper beneficiary designations for your insurance coverage, annuity,
Thrift Plan and other investments and savings. Many times, beneficiaries that
were designated years ago have changed. While I was manager at a major FAA
facility there were numerous instances when an employee or retiree died and the
survivors discovered former spouses or deceased parents were still designated
beneficiaries. As you can imagine, this created considerable hardships for the
survivors and bitter battles between family members.
and Spouse Considerations
Federal employee retirement and insurance benefits are subject to Title
1, U.S.C., Section 7, as enacted by the Defense of Marriage Act, Public Law
104-199, 110 Stat. 2419 (September 21, 1996). Public Law 104-199 defines
“marriage” and “spouse” as “a legal union between one man and one woman as
husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the
opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
As a result, Public Law 104-199 precludes recognizing same-sex marriages for
benefit purposes. Affected programs include the Federal Employees
Retirement System (FERS), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), Federal
Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), Federal Employees Group Life
Insurance Program (FEGLI), Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance
Program (FEDVIP) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAFEDS).
Federal Law takes precedence over city, county, or state laws that my
recognize same-sex marriages.
Common-law marriages are also subject to Public Law 104-109. Common-law
spouses are not recognized as spouses for benefits payable from the Civil
Service Retirement and Disability Fund. This fund covers both FERS and CSRS
Common-law spouses are included in the definition of “family member” for
FEHB and FLTCIP purposes only if the employee resides in the state that
recognizes common-law marriages. FEGLI does not recognize common-law
marriages when distributing funds according to the standard order of
precedence in 5 U.S.C. 8705(a).
An employee who wants to leave FEGLI benefits to a same-sex partner,
common-law spouse, or other person may complete a Standard Form 2823,
Designation of Beneficiary. In block B the employee may name that person
When you retire OPM should send you a Retirement Services Reference Card.
Most retirees that I’ve talked to never receive one. To receive your card call
OPM at 1-888-767-6738. I called and received my card in 5 days. Your annuitant
claim number and OPM contact information is printed on the back. You can use
this card to receive certain discounts and DOD retirees are able to book stays
at military resorts with this card.
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