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Office of Personnel Management

OPM is responsible for several broad categories such as employee recruitment and retention and oversees the overall federal workforce including managing, job announcement postings at USAJOBS.gov and setting governmentwide policies on hiring procedures.
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#1 Posted : Wednesday, August 01, 2018 11:01:56 PM(UTC)

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I am a 60 yr old widow with a 19 yr old starting her 2nd year of college. My 67 yr old husband passed away Jan 15, 2018, of a massive heart attack in his sleep. He was retired on disability from the USPS but had worked on the docks for 25 years. I’ve done everything OPM has asked me to do since the day I notified them of his death, two days after it happened. It took almost 8 weeks to receive the information packet and I turned it around in 24 hrs. In April I began calling for status checks. Each time I called there was another excuse as to why the survivor benefits were delayed. In mid-April I got a letter from OPM stating they had discovered my husband had been overpaid first by $20K and when I called in response to the letter, it had been adjusted already to $16K. They wanted me to pay back the overpayment which was OPM’s error. When he turned 65 OPM should have recalculated his annuity but the didn’t...they told me it had to do with his 4 yr USAF stint and social security. Neither he nor I knew anything about him being overpaid. There were several options in the letter notifying me of the overpayment, including a form for a “waiver request” with complete financial information requested to see if I could justify saying I couldn’t afford to pay it back. During my phone conversation with them I found out that since I had a daughter who is a college student, I qualified for benefits for her as well. I downloaded and filled out those forms as well and I submitted everything back to them within a couple of days after receiving their overpayment notification. My monthly survivor benefit did start May 1st (but has been reduced by the amount they say he had been overpaid every month for almost 3 years)...but no backpay nor any college student benefit has been deposited as of Aug 1st. I called them a few weeks ago and was told that whomever was handling my case signed off on it on May 21st and then filed it away without any further processing. That rep filled out a “contact report” that he told me would go to legal professionals within OPM to follow up on this claim and I would hear from them in 7-10 days. Didn’t happen so I called again 11 days later. This rep told me that it looked like the waiver request had been approved but he couldn’t tell why I hadn’t received the backpay or college student benefit yet. This rep actually said to me that he was “dumbfounded” as to why it had been filed away without processing the backpay. He put together an email to send to “someone higher up” to request a follow up and said I should hear pretty quick. If the waiver request was approved and with the college signing off on that benefit, they owe just about $6000 to date. I feel like I get the run around every time I call OPM. I’ve heard all of the excuses mentioned in this forum about backlog and shortage of staff, etc. But I’m sick and tired of waiting after a call, hoping that this time someone will get this claim processed and issue a deposit for the backpay and the college student benefit. The last rep even gave me the name of the one person he said handles all the college student benefit processing in D.C. and her number so that I could check directly with her. Each time I’ve called...3 times in a week...her voicemail comes on, I leave a full message and my number, and no one ever returns the call. Any advice? I’m frustrated beyond belief and have vowed to call weekly if not daily to check the status...but sometimes I feel like my bothering them puts a flag of retaliation in my file and perhaps these delays are intentional! I have recorded every conversation I’ve had with them and I notice one thing more than anything else when I go back and listen to those recordings...male or female, even the reps are cold, not very compassionate at all, not apologetic, and very good at making excuses that are clearly just to appease the caller!
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#2 Posted : Friday, August 03, 2018 12:53:05 PM(UTC)
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You should repost this in the Federal Retiree forum. You will get more answers there.

I am not retired yet and dread the process, as I have heard many horror stories. I hope you get your backpay soon. I would call your local U.S. Representative or Senator and ask them for help. That usually gets attention from OPM.
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