Retirement and COVID-19


DCPAS Covid-19 Guidance

For additional information on Covid-19 use this link: DCPAS Emergency Preparedness

Benefits Administration Letter 20-102, Temporary Changes to the Retirement Application Processing While Operating Under Coronavirus Disease Telework Policies

Questions and Answers

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently provided COVID-19 processing guidance in Benefits Administration Letter (BAL) 20-102 that suspends the requirement for paper retirement applications and death in service documents with wet signatures during COVID-19. Under this temporary measure OPM will accept applicant and agency signatures only in the following formats:

  1. Original ink signatures.
  2. Scanned ink signatures – Documents may be signed in ink and then scanned by the submitting agency.
  3. “Printed” portable document format (PDF) signatures using personal identification verification (PIV) or common access card (CAC) –documents may be signed using PIV/CAC method and then printed and scanned by the agency.
  4. PDF signatures using PIV or CAC – documents may be signed using PIV - CAC method and then included in a retirement package submission.
This guidance is in effect until further notice. For additional information on retirement or benefits processing, contact your component or agency Benefits Office.

No. This temporary suspension only applies to agency-submitted retirement applications and death in service cases. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) deferred and postponed retirement applications should be submitted on form RI 92-19 (FERS) or OPM Form 1496A (CSRS) with a wet signature, and mailed directly to OPM for processing.

OPM will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will rescind BAL 20-102 once they’ve determined normal operations can resume.

Retirement applications are not valid if they are not submitted in accordance with the guidance provided in BAL 20-102, contain incorrect information, or are otherwise incomplete. If a retirement application is not valid, agencies will be required to resubmit documentation. To avoid delays in death in service processing, benefits offices will work directly with OPM to ensure required documents are submitted.

FEHB enrollment actions will continue to be submitted through normal electronic channels. Agencies required to submit documents directly to FEHB Carriers should consider the use of secure email when fax capabilities are not available.

OPM’s temporary processing guidance permits Human Resources Specialists to witness and fax Designation of Beneficiary forms, if needed, to ensure timely processing. However, OPM states the original document must be forwarded as soon as practicable.

Yes, applicants may use remote/electronic notaries. Visit Notary for guidance on remote and electronic notaries. If the state of residence does not support remote notary, the applicant may submit the notarized spousal consent within 30 days after the national/local social distancing policies are lifted.

OPM has advised agencies to continue with current electronic methods, if available. If electronic methods are not available agencies may accept fax or email of the SF 2823 and the SF 2821, with the originals to follow as soon as possible. Wet signature on the SF 2823 is still a requirement. The facsimile restriction for the SF 2821 regarding signature boxes 15a and 16a is temporarily suspended.

Employee should use protect their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) by using appropriate methods such as secure email, encryption or password-protection.

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