TN 16 (11-92)

RS 01702.200 OPM Retirement and Survivor Systems

A. Introduction

Approximately 90 percent of Federal and District of Columbia civilian employees, including Postal Service, are covered by the:

  • Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), or

  • Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS), or

  • Another Federal retirement system which is similar to civil service retirement.

B. Policy - Current or previous entitlement

When a SS claimant indicates current or previous entitlement to a periodic benefit payable by OPM, we need to know whether or not OPM used any of the veteran's pre-1957 MS to pay the CS benefit. If OPM directly credits pre-1957 MS to establish eligibility to the CS benefit or to compute the amount of the CS benefit, the pre-1957 MS cannot be credited for SS purposes.

Only the use of pre-1957 MS is of concern because deemed military wages are added to posted military wages after 1956, regardless of another Federal agency crediting the pre-1957 MS.

A veteran who subsequently works under civil service may or may not receive credit for MS from OPM. The same holds true for an OPM survivor annuity. By understanding the basis of OPM benefits and how MS is or is not used by OPM, we may avoid development in many claims by using evidence presented by the claimant (as in RS 01702.215), or by analyzing information obtained on the SSA-2512 or on the CLMR/NHMR screen, unless the claimant disagrees with our conclusions.

For a discussion of how SSA and OPM coordinate the use of post-1956 MS, see RS 01702.356.

C. Policy — Military retiree

1. Claimant not retired from the military

If there is no military retirement or if it was waived, OPM willalways use active and other than dishonorable pre-1957 MS for either eligibility or benefit computation purposes. The annuitant may not waive OPM pre-1957 MS credit, except in the case of a survivor (see RS 01702.217 - RS 01702.223).

2. Claimant is retired from the military

After retiring from the military, many retirees work in and retire from civil service jobs. OPM will not use the retired veteran's MS in their retirement annuity (with the two exceptions at RS 01702.200C.3.), unless the veteran waives military retirement pay:

  • If the veteran waives military retirement pay in order for OPM to use the MS in the CS retirement annuity, SS cannot grant wage credits for the pre-1957 MS.

  • If the veteran does not waive military retirement pay, OPM cannot use the MS (with the two exceptions noted at RS 01702.200B.3.), and SS may grant wage credits for the period 1951-1956.

A decision to waive military retirement pay may be revoked later by the veteran if an OPM annuity is still payable without using the MS. However, this later change has no bearing on the prohibition against SS granting wage credits for pre-1957 MS (even for the 1951-1956 period that might have been creditable prior to the waiver), because OPM had made a benefit determination which included the veteran's pre-1957 MS. (See RS 01702.213 regarding the death of a military retiree who is also a civil service employee.)

3. Exceptions

The two exceptions which permit OPM use of MS without a waiver (thus barring SS pre-1957 wage credit) are:

  1. Service-Connected Disability

    Military retired pay was awarded for a service-connected disability which was either:

    • incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S., or

    • caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in line of duty during a period of war. If a veteran is receiving military retired pay for a disability, do not assume that OPM will use active MS.

    In order to render active MS usable under the CSRA, the military retiree must have suffered a service-connected disability under the foregoing conditions. An OPM longevity annuity would bar pre-1957 MS credits, but a disability annuity may or may not, depending on the annuity computation method. The OPM disability annuity would be based on a disability which is different than the military disability; otherwise, the veteran would not have been hired by OPM.

  2. Military Reserve and National Guard Active Service

    Military retired pay at age 60 was awarded on account of military reserve or National Guard service. (See RS 01702.196).