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Income Withholding and Medical Support for Federal Retirees - Answers for State Agencies

Frequently Asked Questions

Published: February 1, 2015

  1. How do I determine whether a noncustodial parent (NCP) who is a federal civilian retiree is receiving retirement benefits from the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM)?
  2. What types of federal retirement and benefits can I garnish for child support?
  3. What retirement systems cover federal agency employees?
  4. How is the state child support agency informed that a federal employee has retired
  5. Where do I send an Income Withholding for Support (IWO) to attach the pension or benefits of a retired federal government civilian employee
  6. Will OPM honor a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN)?
  7. Where do I send the NMSN for a retired federal government civilian employee?
  8. Where do I send an IWO or NMSN termination for retired federal civilian employee?

  1. How do I determine whether a noncustodial parent (NCP) who is a federal civilian retiree is receiving retirement benefits from the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM)?

    You may request federal retirement benefit information from the Federal Parent Locator Service. Responses are returned directly to the requesting state.

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  2. What types of federal retirement and benefits can I garnish for child support?

    The types of federal retirement and benefits you can garnish for child support are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations in 5 CFR Part 581.

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  3. What retirement systems cover federal agency employees?

    The majority of federal civilian employees are covered by either the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System, the two primary retirement systems that OPM administers.  Those not covered by either retirement systems include federal civilian employees in:

    • foreign service,
    • retired employees holding temporary appointments who are covered solely by Social Security or
    • retired employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) who are covered by TVA's retirement system.

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  4. How is the state child support agency informed that a federal employee has retired?

    The employing federal agency must inform the state agency that the payment is ending due to retirement.

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  5. Where do I send an Income Withholding for Support (IWO) to attach the pension or benefits of a retired federal government civilian employee?

    You should send the IWO to:

    Office of Personnel Management
    Court Ordered Benefits Branch
    PO Box 17
    Washington, DC 20044-0017
    Phone: (202) 606-0222
    Fax: (202) 606-7958

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  6. Will OPM honor a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN)?

    OPM must honor the NMSN if a child support order was issued before the employee's retirement.  Because retirees were not included in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan Children's Equity Act of 2000, OPM is not required to honor orders for medical support issued after the NCP retires.

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  7. Where do I send the NMSN for a retired federal government civilian employee?

    You should send the NMSN to:

    Office of Personnel Management
    Chief, Retirement Benefits Branch/RESG
    1900 E Street NW, Room 4H31
    Washington, DC 20014

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  8. Where do I send an IWO or NMSN termination for retired federal civilian employee?

    You should send a termination of the IWO or NMSN to:

    Office of Personnel Management
    Chief, Retirement Benefits Branch/RESG
    1900 E Street NW, Room 4H31
    Washington, DC 20014

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Last Reviewed: March 1, 2019

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