Q. I am a CSRS retiree. I worked 40 years and nine months while deducting retirement contributions from each check. I have been retired for seven years. The total contributions were near $84,000. Is all this amount used up starting with my first retirement check, or is it reduced gradually over years at a given rate? When I die, after, say, 10 years of retirement, will there be any money available to my survivors?
A. If you’ve been paying federal income tax, you had to know two things: what your contributions were to the retirement fund and what portion of that amount was non-taxable. The first piece of information should be on the 1099-R you receive every year from the Office of Personnel Management. You can find the amount that is tax-free every year by doing the arithmetic found in Internal Revenue Service Publication 721.
If there are any undisbursed contributions left in the fund when you die, they would be distributed according to the standard order of precedence.