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 OPPORTUNITIES TO ELECT FERS COVERAGE

Employees who have an opportunity to elect FERS coverage typically:

  • Have been reemployed in a Federal position after a break in service of more than 3 days, already have at least 5 years of Federal civilian service, and were previously covered by CSRS.
  • Are vested in CSRS, but their current appointments are excluded from CSRS coverage (such as TERM or indefinite appointment).

If you return to Federal employment after a break in service of more than 3 days, you may elect to transfer to FERS during the first 6 months of your reemployment. You are not required to elect FERS. If you do not elect FERS, your retirement coverage will be CSRS or CSRS Offset. If you are eligible to elect FERS coverage, you will be notified by the Civilian Benefits Center at the time of your eligibility. You will not have another chance to choose FERS coverage unless you leave Federal service for more than 3 days.

 ACTION REQUIRED TO ELECT FERS

  1. Review RI 90-3, FERS Transfer Handbook.
  2. Contact the Benefits Line and ask to speak to a retirement specialist for counseling. Your retirement specialist will review your service history and provide a comparison of retirement benefits under CSRS and FERS.
  3. Complete an SF 3109, Election of Coverage (FERS) and send it to the Civilian Benefits Center within 6 months from the date of your eligibility to elect FERS. The election will be effective at the beginning of the next pay period after the Civilian Benefits Center receives the SF 3109. An election to transfer to FERS is irrevocable once it has become effective.
  4. Your spouse is not required to consent to a decision to elect FERS. However, if you have a former spouse, consent is required if:
    • The former spouse is entitled, by court order, to a portion of your CSRS annuity or CSRS survivor benefits.
    • The court order is on file at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
    • The former spouse has not remarried before age 55;
    • and the former spouse is still living.
    If your former spouse meets these requirements, he or she must complete SF 3110, Former Spouse's Consent to FERS Election before you can elect FERS. If you do not know whether OPM has a qualifying court order on file, complete an SF 3111, Request for Waiver, Extension, or Search and send it with the SF 3109 to the Civilian Benefits Center.

    You may request that OPM waive the requirement for a former spouse to consent to your FERS election if you do not know the whereabouts of your former spouse. To request a waiver, complete an SF 3111 and provide documentation to support that you do not know your former spouse’s whereabouts. Attach the SF 3111 and documentation to the SF 3109 and send it to the Civilian Benefits Center.

    You may request an extension of the election period if you need to obtain modification of a court order on file with OPM. To request an extension, submit an SF 3111 and send it with the SF 3109 to the Civilian Benefits Center.
  5. Complete an SF 3102, Designation of Beneficiary (FERS) since any CSRS designation is cancelled when you transfer to FERS.
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