Posted on Thursday, 7th January 2021 by

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Corrections:  I misquoted the 2021 COLA in last week’s article titled “1% Pay Raise Approved for 2021 – GS Pay Charts Available;” it is 1.3% not 1.6%  The blog article was corrected.

Generally, in late December federal retirees receive a Notice of Annuity Adjustment that provides abundant information for annuitants and their survivors. The mailed statements were apparently delayed this year and I still haven’t received a copy. However, I signed on to OPM Services Online and printed out my January 2021 Annuity Statement, and reviewed my Annual Summary of Payments report. Whenever your annuity payment is modified, for whatever reasons, OPM sends out a Notice of Annuity Adjustment outlining the changes to your monthly payment. This year’s statement includes a 1.3% COLA, and they will send out another statement to show the health care premium changes for 2021.

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This document provides annuity and benefit information for you and your family. It includes the annuitant’s Claim number, the amount withheld for each item deducted from your annuity payment, and your gross and net payment. This document specifies the monthly survivor annuity currently payable in the event of the annuitant’s death and includes an annual Notice of Survivor Annuity Election Rights. You will also find OPM contact information and they include a recommendation to register and log on to their online services. The online Annuity Statement also lists the survivor’s monthly annuity payment.

This form provides instructions on how to make benefit elections such as how to apply for a survivor election for a spouse you marry after retirement, survivor annuity elections for a former spouse, and others.

I elected a full survivor’s annuity for my wife when I retired as a CSRS employee. My wife will receive 55% of my full annuity when I die. The full FERS survivor’s annuity is 50%. I divided the surviving spousal monthly annuity listed on this document by my gross monthly benefit; my wife will receive 60% of what I was receiving while alive. When I elected a full annuity, my annuity was reduced by 10%. What many don’t realize is that the surviving spouse of a CSRS retiree receives 55% of the unreduced annuity amount or in my case 60% of what I was receiving monthly while alive. Many believe the surviving spouse receives 55% of what the federal annuitant was receiving prior to death. This is good information to have when finalizing your estate plans.

I keep the Notice of Annuity Adjustments that I receive in my retirement folder and include a copy in our estate binder along with OPM’s annuity and FEGLI insurance verification forms that OPM sends out upon request or you can download then online. This is an important document and needs to be readily available if you or your survivor need to contact OPM or require benefit clarifications.

I receive many questions each year from retirees and survivors that misplaced their CSA retirement Claim Number and need to contact OPM. If you file this form in your retirement planning or estate file this information will be readily available when needed.

1099 Tax Forms Coming Soon

Federal annuitants typically don’t receive their 1099R Tax Forms until the end of January or the beginning of February by regular mail. If you are registered to use OPM’s Retirement Services Website your 1099 R is often available earlier for download. I generally download a copy of my 1099 R to start my tax return early.

To get a head start on your taxes visit OPM’s Online Services later this month and download a copy. You must be registered to use the site. If you aren’t registered read the article titled “Connect to OPM’s Online Services” to understand the registration process and sign up. It doesn’t take long however you may have to wait for your password to be sent via regular US mail and that can take several weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet do it now. The site offers retired federal employees many helpful options such as changing your direct deposit information, address changes, 1099 R copies, download annuity and insurance verification documents, and much more.

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Find answers to your questions: The best time to retire, retirement income vs expenditures, FEGLI options and costs, TSP risks and withdrawal strategies, and other relevant topics. Determine what benefits to carry into retirement and their advantages. You will also have the opportunity to set up a personal one-on-one meeting with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER. Helpful Planning Tools

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Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Last 5 posts by Dennis Damp


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