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64
NOVEMBER 2012
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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
withholdings, and modify fnancial allotments. Additionally,
you can view and print your monthly annuity statements and
annual Form 1099-R.
If you need assistance using Annuitant Express, contact the
Employee Express Help Desk at (888) 353-9450. If you prefer
to mail in a written request to update your annuity account,
contact the Payroll Customer Support Desk at
PayHelp@state.
gov or (800) 521-2553 for instructions.
Submit Your Annuity Supplement Form
Retirees enrolled in the post-1983 Foreign Service Pension
System who are under age 62 receive an annuity supplement.
Tat supplement is subject to reduction through an annual
earnings test after the individual has reached his or her mini-
mum retirement age (between 55 and 57, depending on year of
birth).
Tose retirees must submit a Form DS-5026, “Statement of
Entitlement to FSPS Annuity Supplement” to the Department
of State each January, or else their annuity supplement will be
terminated in February. Te form and associated instructions
are mailed to all annuitants in the HR/RET annual newsletter.
Regrettably, each year dozens of annuitants have their sup-
plement cut of due to non-submission of this form. While the
payments can be restored following a belated submission, the
process diverts staf resources from assisting other annuitants.
Report Marital Changes and Survivor Benefts
Life events such as post-retirement divorce or marriage, or
the death of a spouse or former spouse, are all occasions to
change your survivor annuity election by dropping a former
spouse or adding a new spouse. In addition, you will likely
want to update your benefciary designations for life insurance,
annuity and Trift Savings Plan contributions. You may also
wish to adjust your Federal Employees Health Benefts elec-
tion.
Delays in reporting marital changes to the Department of
State will delay, or in some cases permanently prevent, the
benefts adjustment and the associated change in your annu-
ity. To avoid this, promptly report any post-retirement marital
changes to the HR Service Center.
If you have not previously done so, please take time right
now to give your next-of-kin a copy of the instructions found
in the HR/RET annual newsletter regarding the reporting of
deaths of annuitants. It is up to the survivor to immediately
report the death and submit documentation to initiate their
survivor annuity, receive the federal life insurance payout, and
continue their Federal Employees Health Benefts. To do so,
the survivor should contact the HR Service Center, which has a
team of specialists who guide survivors through the process.
Monitor Your Post-Employment Earnings
If you have returned to federal employment in a part-time
or full-time basis since you retired, you already know that a
variety of rules afect how much you can earn. If you ever have
questions about those rules, please consult the HR/RET annual
newsletter or RNet Internet site. If you do not fnd the answer
there, you may ask the HR Service Center.
It is each employee’s responsibility to monitor their earn-
ings to ensure they do not exceed the limitations. Toward that
end, you may wish to e-mail
PayHelp@state.gov to
request a
“salary/annuity limitation audit” by the Retirement Accounts
Division.
Review Your Thrift Savings Plan Allocations
If you are in the FSPS retirement system, then the Trift
Savings Plan is a key component of your retirement fnancial
security. Since retirement income depends in part on the rates
of return of the specifc TSP fund or funds in which you invest,
from time to time you should review the risk-versus-reward
balance in your TSP fund allocations to make sure that it is still
appropriate to your specifc situation. For more information
or to make an interfund transfer to redistribute your balance,
please visit the TSP Web site:
www.tsp.gov.
Document Your Annuity Contributions
Because retirees have already paid taxes on that portion of
their Foreign Service annuity that refects their contributions,
that amount is not subject to further taxation. After retirement,
you received a letter from the Retirement Accounts Division
detailing the total amount that you contributed. Be sure to
safeguard that document.
Regrettably, each year
dozens of annuitants have
their supplement cut of due
to non-submission of Form
DS-5026.