Once your retirement application has cleared your agency’s personnel and payroll offices and arrives at OPM, you’ll be sent a written acknowledgment and provided with a retirement claim number, preceded by the letters CSA, which stands for Civil Service Annuitant.
Keep that number handy. You will need it for various types of needed contacts that might arise for you as a retiree with OPM, which acts as the HR and payroll offices for retirees.
Once OPM is satisfied that you are entitled to an annuity, it will authorize an interim annuity payment, which is a percentage of what your final annuity will be. This commonly is around 80 percent of your entitlement although it can be higher or lower—usually lower.
OPM does this for two reasons. First, to avoid overpaying you and having to reclaim the excess when your annuity is finally approved. Second, to provide you with some income while your application is being processed.
When OPM has completed processing your application, your regular annuity amount will be calculated and your first regular annuity payment authorized and paid by the Treasury Department. Any money you are owed from your time in interim status will be included in that payment.
At that time, OPM will send you an Annuity Statement and other information about your retirement benefits. Please keep this statement in a safe place. If you ever apply for a home mortgage or some other large loan, you’ll be asked to provide a copy to the lender as a proof of your entitlement to an annuity.