OPM makes annuity policy change without public notice

The Office of Personnel Management in 2016 changed a policy on divorced former federal employees’ annuity supplements without making a public notice, a recent Inspector General report finds.

The OIG initiated a review after receiving a complaint from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and released the findings on Feb. 5.

Specifically, OPM decided that a former spouse is entitled to not only a portion of a retired law enforcement officer’s basic annuity, but that former spouse is also entitled to a portion of the former LEO’s annuity supplement, even if the divorce decree does not mention issue.

“Further, OPM had applied this policy retroactively, resulting in the creation of a new debt that the retired LEOs now owed their former spouses,” the IG report states, adding, “We determined the issue warranted examination.”

Historically, OPM applied the state court-ordered marital share to the basic annuity (known as the gross monthly annuity) only, and not also to the annuity supplement.

In July 2016, the agency began applying the state court-ordered marital share to both annuities, even in cases where the state court order did not address the annuity supplement.

And those retirees and the former spouses learned of the change only when their annuity amounts changed, “many years after the parties had divorced, after a state court had ordered a former spouse’s marital share, and after OPM had accepted the state court order for processing,” the report notes.

The OIG recommended that OPM stop implementing the policy, reverse such decisions and examine whether it has a legal requirement to make updated guidance available.

OPM disagreed with all three recommendations.

Reader comments

Wed, May 9, 2018

a simple explanation for whats happen here. A divorcee spouse male or female in a position of great power an influence some how convince OPM this is the only way he or she can right the wrong they have been served during their respected devorce procedings. The only problem with the rest of us are effected since this appears to retroactive which I see as cripplying to some retirees. Give someone power and see how arrogant they become. Where is the union on this issue.

Fri, Mar 9, 2018

This is why the Federal Government cannot be trusted with matters that should be handled by adults.

Mon, Feb 26, 2018

Maybe the divorcing spouses agreed not to include the supplement in any financial distributions. If that is the case, then OPM is in violation of the court order.

Thu, Feb 22, 2018 Gary Morin Maryland

Regarding this Comment form, CAPTCHAs such as yours are inaccessible to people who are blind. How do you defend your discriminatory practice?

Wed, Feb 14, 2018

The OIG is nothing more than a toothless barking dog.

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