Federal Government Plans
Your Documents Civil Service Retirement System .................................. Learn More Learn More | Start Now Start Now

All employees of the federal government participate in either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). The plan in which an employee participates is usually based upon the Employee’s employment date. Since these plans are administered by the federal government, they do not fall under the rules and regulations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and instead are dictated by federal statute. The title used by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) of a court order directing payment of benefits to a Former Spouse is a "Court Order Acceptable for Processing" (COAP).

A court order directing the Office of Personnel Management to award benefits to a Former Spouse must follow a shared payment approach. Therefore, payments will be made to the former spouse when the employee actually retires and begins receiving benefits. These benefits will be paid to the former spouse for as long as the employee is alive. Upon the employee’s death, all payments to the former spouse will stop. However, it is possible to establish the right of the Former Spouse to receive a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity. This Former Spouse Survivor Annuity would then be paid to the former spouse after the employee’s death for the remainder of his/her lifetime.

Remarriage

In order to maintain eligibility for the Former Spouse Survivor Annuity, the former spouse must not remarry prior to reaching age 55. If the former spouse remarries prior to reaching age 55, such former spouse may still be entitled to receive a portion of the employee’s retirement benefit, however, eligibility for the survivor benefit will be forfeited.

Health Benefits

A Former Spouse may be entitled to Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) coverage if the Former Spouse is awarded, pursuant to a COAP, a portion of the Employee’s retirement annuity after retirement or a survivor annuity upon the Employee’s death, and applies for FEHB coverage within 60 days after the divorce. Such application should be submitted to the employing office where the Employee worked at the time of the divorce.

Understanding the Civil Service Retirement System

Your Documents Federal Employees Retirement System .................................. Learn More Learn More | Start Now Start Now

All employees of the federal government participate in either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). The plan in which an employee participates is usually based upon the Employee’s employment date. Since these plans are administered by the federal government, they do not fall under the rules and regulations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and instead are dictated by federal statute. The title used by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) of a court order directing payment of benefits to a Former Spouse is a "Court Order Acceptable for Processing" (COAP).

A court order directing the Office of Personnel Management to award benefits to a Former Spouse must follow a shared payment approach. Therefore, payments will be made to the former spouse when the employee actually retires and begins receiving benefits. These benefits will be paid to the former spouse for as long as the employee is alive. Upon the employee’s death, all payments to the former spouse will stop. However, it is possible to establish the right of the Former Spouse to receive a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity. This Former Spouse Survivor Annuity would then be paid to the former spouse after the employee’s death for the remainder of his/her lifetime.

Remarriage

In order to maintain eligibility for the Former Spouse Survivor Annuity, the former spouse must not remarry prior to reaching age 55. If the former spouse remarries prior to reaching age 55, such former spouse may still be entitled to receive a portion of the employee’s retirement benefit, however, eligibility for the survivor benefit will be forfeited.

Health Benefits A Former Spouse may be entitled to Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) coverage if the Former Spouse is awarded, pursuant to a COAP, a portion of the Employee’s retirement annuity after retirement or a survivor annuity upon the Employee’s death, and applies for FEHB coverage within 60 days after the divorce. Such application should be submitted to the employing office where the Employee worked at the time of the divorce.

Your Documents Thrift Savings Plan .................................. Learn More Learn More | Start Now Start Now

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees. Its is a defined contribution, cash or deferred arrangement similar to a 401(k) plan. All sums contributed to the TSP by an employee or their agency are held in trust for the employee in an individual account. For most employees hired after 1984 or later, the TSP is one part of a three-part retirement system. The other parts are Social Security and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) basis annuity. For employees hired before 1984 who did not switch to FERS, the TSP supplements the basic defined benefit program, known as the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).

It is possible to award the Alternate Payee (Former Spouse) a portion of the Employee’s account balance as of a specific date (i.e. 50% of the account balance as of July 7, 2000), plus any investment gains or losses attributable thereon from that date until the date the Alternate Payee receives a distribution from the Plan. This is done pursuant to a Retirement Benefits Court Order (RBCO).

Understanding the Thrift Savings Plan

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