Calls to Repeal 2016 Annuity Supplement Policy

Washington, D.C.   – Today, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) sent a letter to Margaret Weichert, Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), regarding OPM’s 2016 unpublished policy change concerning the division of a FERS Retiree Annuity Supplement between a retiree and his or her former spouse. FLEOA is the nation’s largest non-partisan, not-for-profit professional association representing more than 27,000 federal law enforcement officers and agents across 65 federal agencies.
"In the more than two years since it implemented this revised policy, OPM has applied its reinterpretation retroactively and with little to no regard for the financial harm it has inflicted on retirees,”  FLEOA President Nathan R. Catura writes in the letter to Weichert. "It has created individual retiree debts due to the federal government of as much as $28,389.96 (that we are aware of)—debts for which OPM has sought repayment in the form of prospective and retrospective assessments from annuitants’ retirement benefits.”
"Furthermore, as the MSPB intimated in is April 2018 decision overturning OPM’s actions against a retired Air Traffic Controller who was directed to give back more than $24,000 in earned retirement benefits, this reinterpretation of the divisibility of the RAS seems to have remained a closely-held secret,” Catura continues. "In fact, it is not clear that OPM has made publicly available any guidance or instructions to even current employees planning for retirement that their benefits are subject to reduction under this revised policy.”

"Both the OPM-OIG and the MSPB have found that OPM’s actions constituted a reinterpretation of current law that was outside of the agency’s authority and was done absent a specific grant of authority from Congress or through a notice-and-comment rulemaking process,”  Catura notes. "The OIG found in particular that OPM’s reinterpretation of current law and subsequent actions against impacted retirees constituted an agency rulemaking action that violated the APA. This is a view shared not just by our organization, but by the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee.”

Read the letter in its entirety