Were contributions to CSRS automatic or an optional election of the employee?

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My father worked for the Federal Government for 17 years (1960 – 1977). Were contributions to CSRS automatic back then or was it optional to make contributions? I’m wondering if my mother, as the surviving benefactor, is entitled to any benefits from his employment. FYI, my father passed away in 1989 when he was 44 years old.

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Asked on October 9, 2018 8:30 pm
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If you father was hired as a permanent employee, retirement contributions were required, not optional. When he left federal service in 1977, if he did not take a refund of his contributions he would have been eligible for a deferred annuity when he turned age 62, based on his previous work history. If he took a refund of his contributions, then no annuity would have been payable unless he returned to federal service. However, since he passed away before returning to federal service or turning age 62, the only money available to your mother might be the contributions he paid into the retirement fund for those 17 years, again, unless he took a refund when he left federal service. Your mother will have to contact the Office of Personnel Management to inquire about this situation providing a copy of the marriage certificate and his death certificate. In addition, your mother should complete SF-2800, Application for Death Benefits, https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf-2800.pdf sending this information to: Office of Personnel Management, Retirement Operations Center, ATTENTION: Survivor Processing Section, Post Office Box 45, Boyers, Pennsylvania 16017-0045

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 316)
Answered on October 9, 2018 9:52 pm

Thank you so much for the great information! I will ask her to contact OPM.

( at October 11, 2018 1:02 pm)