UNCLASSIFIED (U)

7 FAM 580 

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (OPM)

(CT:CON-890;   12-18-2019)
(Office of Origin:  CA/OCS)

7 FAM 581  SUMMARY

(CT:CON-636;   02-24-2016)

a. The OPM is the U.S. Federal government’s human resources agency.  OPM and the U.S. Department of State have been long-term partners in benefits payments for annuitants covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) who are residing abroad.

b. Our joint mission is to provide efficient and effective service to beneficiaries abroad.  To further assist our posts abroad, OPM has set up an International Desk (IDesk) exclusively to assist the Federal Benefits Units (FBU) with post-retirement inquiries.  The IDesk resides in the Quality Control and Authorization Branch of the Operations Support Group and manages all aspects of international annuity payments.  They will also either answer any questions/concerns or forward them to the appropriate office for response. 

NOTE:  To CONTACT OPM:

OPM IDESK Telephone: 202-606-0933

Email:  Idesk@opm.gov (not for public use)

FAX:  202-606-2339

7 FAM 582  AUTHORITIES

(CT:CON-164;   04-18-2007)

The legal authority for administration of OPM annuities paid abroad includes:

5 U.S.C. 8331 - 8351, Part III, Subpart G (Chapter 83 – Retirement, subchapter III – Civil Service Retirement)

5 U.S.C. 8401 - 8470  (Chapter 84 Federal Employees’ Retirement System)

5 U.S.C. 8701 - 8716  (Chapter 87 – Life Insurance)

5 U.S.C. 8901 - 8914  (Chapter 89 – Health Insurance)

5 U.S.C. 9001 - 9009  (Chapter 90 – Long Term Care Insurance)

22 U.S.C. 3904 (3) (Functions of Service)

7 FAM 583  ROLE OF THE CONSULAR OFFICER

(CT:CON-636;   02-24-2016)

a. Federal law mandates entitlement to Federal benefits.  Each Federal benefits-paying agency establishes policies and procedures under which the laws are administered.  When policies and procedures are applied outside the United States, assistance from U.S. embassies and consulates is required.

b. Initial applications for retirement and related benefits must be submitted through the human resources office of the individual’s employing agency.  In the case of Department of State employees abroad, Foreign Service posts’ administrative offices will lend proper assistance.

c.  When a post receives an inquiry from an annuitant on the status of his/her application, inform him/her of the following.  Once OPM receives the retirement application, they will notify the annuitant and will provide a civil service claim identification number (a seven-digit number preceded by "CSA" or "CSF" in the case of survivor benefits). The annuitant must use that identification number whenever s/he contacts OPM about his/her annuity. To check the status of the form or application, annuitants may contact the Retirement Office at (888) 767-6738 or retire@opm.gov.  The phone lines are open from 7:40 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time). It is a busy phone number so OPM encourages them to call early in the morning when the phone lines are less busy.  Post may use the internal OPM email address Idesk@opm.gov to make the inquiry on behalf of the annuitant.

d. Annuitants and Survivors may email questions directly to OPM using retire@opm.gov.  They will need to provide their claim number in order to receive specific information regarding their case.

e. Posts should contact the Federal Benefits Unit (CTP) in their region when further assistance is required.  Consular officers should contact the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) when they need additional guidance.  Posts can find the current list of RFBOs and a list of claims-taking posts on the CA Intranet section "Overseas Citizen Services" by clicking on "Non-Emergency Services" and then "Federal Benefits" at the OCS CA Web filter or by going to the Federal Benefits CAWeb Page.

7 FAM 584  Role of CA/OCS/MSU

(CT:CON-590;   12-18-2019)

a. The Management Support Unit in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services (CA/OCS/MSU) is the Department’s liaison with Federal benefits-paying agencies, consular posts abroad and Congress.  CA/OCS/MSU provides guidance, disseminates information and implements new programs and procedures of those paying agencies.  CA/OCS/MSU also liaises with other Federal agencies such as the Department of Treasury including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Bureau of the Public Debt and the Selective Service System (SSS). 

b. CA/OCS/MSU works with Federal agencies on Federal Benefits Programs abroad to ensure efficient and fraud-free payment of benefits, as well as the provision of services.  CA/OCS/MSU’s goal is to ensure that services provided by the State Department for the different Federal agencies are administered in an efficient and effective way delivering a high quality service.

c.  CA/OCS/MSU has a collective email address FedBen@state.gov, where Regional Federal Benefits Officers (RFBOs) may send emails on policy and complicated issues which arise to them from posts through the Federal Benefits Units (FBUs) in their regions. 

7 FAM 585  Limitations on Consular Officers Regarding Annuities and Disclosure of Information (Privacy Act (PA))

(CT:CON-636;   02-24-2016)

a. Information contained in a name-retrievable system of records concerning annuitants of Federal retirement systems may not be disclosed except:

·         As expressly authorized by OPM and not inconsistent with the PA

·         By written authorization by the individual who is the subject of the record

·         In accordance with the 12 exceptions to the conditions of disclosure in the PA, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(1) - (12).  The CA/OCS Intranet PA Feature and 7 FAM 060 provides guidance about the PA

b. Any unauthorized disclosure is subject to criminal penalties pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(i) (PA, as amended).

7 FAM 586  DEFINITIONS

(CT:CON-604;   10-30-2015)

Annuitant:  A person who participated in a Federal retirement system or is the survivor or beneficiary who meets the requirements for receiving an annuity under the system.

Annuity:  A sum of money payable at specified intervals to individuals who participated in a Federal retirement system.

Retirement:  Official separation from one’s U.S. Federal employment or position upon meeting the requirements of years of service and age for entitlement to benefits under pertinent laws and regulations.

7 FAM 587  INQUIRIES ABOUT BENEFITS

7 FAM 587.1  Contacting OPM

(CT:CON-636;   02-24-2016)

OPM has an International Desk (IDesk) to assist posts abroad with retirement inquiries.  The IDesk resides in the Quality Control and Authorization Branch of the Operations Support Group and manages all aspects of international payments.  They will also either answer any questions/concerns or forward them to the appropriate OPM office for response.  Please note that this contact information is not for public use.

OPM IDESK Telephone: 202-606-0933

Email:  Idesk@opm.gov (not for public use)

FAX:  202-606-2339

7 FAM 587.2  Applying for Benefits When Living Abroad

(CT:CON-636;   02-24-2016)

a. Application:  To qualify for payments from the U.S. Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS), an individual must submit a retirement application, Form SF-2801 Application for Immediate Retirement (CSRS), or Form SF-3107 Application for Immediate Retirement (FERS).  Please be sure all applications sent to OPM have an original signature or they will be unable to process the application.  OPM has a number of on-line forms including retirement application forms available at OPM forms.  OPM strongly encourages annuitants to restrain from using different names in order to avoid payment issues. Their names should also match their bank accounts when applying for electronic payments.

b. If the individual has been separated from Federal service for more than 30 days, the individual should submit the application to OPM.  If the individual is still working, he or she should submit it to the employing agency.

c.  Medical Documentation:  When applying for a disability retirement the applicant must obtain and submit medical documentation supporting the claim of a disability retirement.  This medical documentation should be submitted with the application and Agency Certification to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017

7 FAM 587.3  Reporting a Change of Status

7 FAM 587.3-1  Change of Address, Marriage/Divorce of an Annuitant and Survivor Benefit Inquiries

(CT:CON-636;   02-24-2016)

a. Change of address should be sent to either of the following addresses.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Idesk
Operations Support Group
Room 2347
1900 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20415

Telephone: 202-606-0933
FAX: 202-606-2339
Email: IDESK@OPM.GOV (not for public use)

                             or

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045

Telephone: 724-794-2005
FAX: 724-794-1112
Email: Retire@opm.gov

b. Marriage:  Many different benefits handled by different offices are affected by post-retirement marriage.  Send notification of marriage to the following office and all appropriate offices will be notified of the change.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045

Telephone: 724-794-2005
FAX: 724-794-1112
Email: Retire@opm.gov

c.  Divorce:  Immediately provide all divorce decrees and support orders to the Court Ordered Benefits Branch, because the date of receipt affects the effective date of payment.  Please forward these to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Court Ordered Benefits Branch
PO Box 17
Washington DC 20044-0017

Telephone: 202-606-0222
FAX: 202-606-0785

d. Survivor Benefits Inquiries should be sent to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045

Telephone: 724-794-2005

Email:  SurvClaims@opm.gov

7 FAM 587.3-2  Death of an Annuitant

(CT:CON-636;   02-24-2016)

There are three ways to report a death:

(1)  A family member can report the death of an annuitant online. They can also report the death by calling 888-767-6738.

(2)  In order for family members to apply for benefits, they need to complete the appropriate Application for Death Benefits (Form SF-2800 for CSRS or Form SF-3104 and Form SF-3104B for FERS.  These forms can be found at OPM standard forms.  These forms must have an original signature and any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require.

(3)  They need to also attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and a copy of the certificate of the marriage to the widow or widower and send the completed application to:

Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center 
ATTENTION: Death Claims Section
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, Pennsylvania 16017-0045

(4)  A widow or widower who is claiming benefits for himself or herself and on behalf of children should file one application.

(5)  If post contacts the IDesk by email or FAX to report the death, provide as much of the following information as possible:

(a)  Name of annuitant (first, middle initial and last);

(b)  Annuitant’s claim number;

(c)  SSN of deceased;

(d)  Date of death;

(e)  Survivor’s name;

(f)   Relationship to deceased; and

(g)  Survivor’s address, telephone number, and email.

(6)  The family member can always contact OPM’s Retirement Operations Center via fax 724-794-1112 or via email retire@opm.gov.

7 FAM 588  Benefit Check not Received

(CT:CON-604;   10-30-2015)

a. Consult 7 FAM 527.

b. Contact the IDesk nonreceipt specialist:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Idesk
Attention: Nonreceipt
Room 2347
1900 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20415

Telephone: 202-606-0933
Email: Idesk@opm.gov

Subject heading: Nonreceipt

c.  Inform OPM of:

(1)  Name and current address of the beneficiary;

(2)  Annuitant’s claim number;

(3)  Date of the check (For example: January 2, 2007); and

(4)  Type of annuity (CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System), FERS (Federal Employee Retirement System)).

7 FAM 589  returning payments to opm

(CT:CON-636;   02-24-2016)

a. Annuitants can return their electronic payments through their Financial Institutions. They can return hard copy payments (checks) to the following address:

Office of Personnel Management
1900 E Street NW
Room 2347
Washington, DC 20415

b. When a check is over a year old, the payment is cancelled through the Department of Treasury and the credit is returned to OPM to be repaid to the annuitant.  OPM then repays the returned payment if it has an updated address on file. If three payments in a row are returned, OPM suspends the case. This is an automated process.  

c.  If a case is in suspend status for 6 months, the case will be placed in a dropped status.  This will require a higher level of verification.  The individual will need to submit the current mailing address, the payment address and a copy of their identification. 

 

UNCLASSIFIED (U)