Will Retired Federal Employees Still Receive Their Annuity Payments During a Shutdown?

By on December 9, 2015 in Retirement with 0 Comments

Image of Capitol building with 'Sorry We're Closed' sign overlaid on top of it

The possibility of a shutdown is again looming at the end of the week. What impact does a partial government shutdown have on your annuity payments should it take place?

The guidance below is taken from the Office of Personnel Management’s Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs. For complete details, see OPM Updates Shutdown Furlough Guidance for Federal Workers.

I’m a Federal retiree. Will I still receive my monthly annuity payment during a government shutdown?

A. Yes. Federal retirees under the CSRS and FERS retirement systems will still receive their scheduled annuity payments on the first business day of the month.

I recently retired from Federal service. Will my retirement application be delayed by a government shutdown?

A. If your agency or payroll center submitted your retirement application to OPM, you will begin receiving interim annuity payments while OPM Retirement Specialists process your application. Because OPM Retirement Services is funded by the trust fund it manages, OPM Retirement Services employees will still be working normal operating hours during a government furlough.

If your agency or payroll center has not yet submitted your retirement application or the application is incomplete, you will likely experience some delay as OPM must wait on other agencies to submit all of the information needed to process your retirement. Some of these agencies may not be operating during a government furlough.

If a shutdown furlough occurs during the 3 years of service prior to retirement, what effect will time in a furlough status have on an employee’s high-3 average pay?

A. Generally there will be no effect on the high-3 average pay unless the furlough causes the employee to be in a nonpay status for more than 6 months during the calendar year.

What will happen to employees who would have retired during a shutdown furlough?

A. For employees who, on or before the requested retirement date, submitted some notice of their desire to retire, agencies should, when the lapse in appropriations ends, make the retirement effective as of the date requested. The retirement request may be informal (such as a letter requesting retirement), and can be either mailed or personally submitted to the agency. Any additional required paper work, such as the formal retirement application form, may be completed when the agency reopens. No time spent by the retiree in such actions after the effective date of the retirement may be considered as duty time, since the individual would no longer be an employee of the agency.

Are the retirement rules concerning the effect of a shutdown furlough the same for employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)?

A. Yes.

If an employee is scheduled to retire before the end of the leave year with an annual leave balance of over the maximum leave ceiling (e.g., 240, 360, or 720 hours, as applicable) and the furlough prevents the employee’s retirement from getting processed until January, does the employee lose his or her annual leave above the maximum leave ceiling?

A. No. The employee’s retirement would be retroactively applied to a date prior to the end of the leave year, and the employee would receive the full amount of accumulated and accrued annual leave in a lump-sum payment.

How can I make updates or changes to my retirement account?

A. OPM’s Retirement Services is available to assist you with your retirement account. As always, you can make many of these changes online through Services Online or by calling Retirement Services at (888) 767-6738. Due to the volume of calls, we recommend that you first use the online services site to make immediate updates and changes.

I applied for disability benefits. Will my application still be processed?

A. Disability, Reconsideration, and Appeals employees at OPM will continue working on your case. If the application requires additional information from other agencies, expect delays during a government furlough.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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