Expert's View

In my last article, I described the problem OPM had with properly assessing the correct amount of interest on accounts when an employee was either a making deposits to get credit for certain periods of service for which retirement deductions weren’t taken from their salaries or making redeposits when they had taken a refund of their retirement contributions on leaving the government and later returned to federal service.

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Having now done the math correctly, OPM is sending letters to all its account holders along with a Q&A designed to help them decide what to do. Rather than list all the Q&As, I’ll summarize them for you and present the material in narrative form.

In short, OPM is sending account holders an updated statement that is current through December 2010. If you were affected by the interest mix-up or hadn’t received a receipt for payments you had made, you’ll now know where you stand. Others who weren’t affected will have their current standing confirmed.

As I mentioned in my last article, OPM is providing affected account holders with a one-time six-month grace period in which to pay off their current balance without accruing additional interest. Because of the grace period, additional interest will not be assessed on active accounts from January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011. If the account is not paid off during the grace period, interest will be charged on the balance that is effective on July 1, 2011.

Payments may be made by sending a check made out to OPM and mailing it to OPM at P.O. Box 979035, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Be sure to include your name, date of birth, and CSD Claim Number. Payments may also be made online at www.pay.gov.

If you want to have payments taken out of your checking or savings account, download a copy of OPM form RI 16-18, Authorization for Direct Payments at www.opm.gov/forms and look under the RI forms. When you complete the form, be sure to mark the New Enrollment box and mail it to the address above. On the other hand, if you want to stop payment being taken out of your checking or savings account, you use the same form, mark the Discontinue Pre-Authorized Direct Payment Service box, and send it to the same address.

If you filled out an application to make a deposit or redeposit, mailed it to OPM, and haven’t received a response, you can send an e-mail request to scbillings@opm.gov, including your name and date of birth. The folks in OPM’s Retirement Operations Center in Boyers, PA will get back to you by e-mail.