Return of excess retirement payments


Q: I am under the Civil Service Retirement System and plan to retire Dec. 31. I have already paid my military deposit on my 20 1/2 years of service; my civil service time is 33 years and nine months, which would give me more than 54 years of service at the time of my retirement. That is well beyond the 41 years and 11 months required for the 80 percent maximum retirement benefit.

At my time of retirement, it is my understanding that the Office of Personnel Management will automatically refund the excess retirement contributions I will have made for those 12-plus years. OPM has notified me twice and explained, “Yes, you will be returned those excess retirement contributions” when you retire. I’ve researched the CSRS and Federal Employees Retirement System handbooks but I’m still not sure of the forms needed to request the excess retirement contributions or how OPM computes the refund. What references can you furnish me to help me locate the instructions I need?

A: No forms or actions on your part are required. When OPM processes your retirement application, it will automatically let you know the amount of your excess contributions and offer you the option of either receiving a refund or using that money to purchase additional annuity, which is not subject to the 80 percent limit.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. You can ask to have the decision reconsidered. However, unless OPM made a mistake when calculating the reduction, you’ll have to live with it.

  2. barbara smile on

    I am repaying an overpayment and having a hard time. I cannot live on what I receive. I am ask for a consideration of lowering the amount taken from my check. it is already a very small check

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