May I designate my same-sex domestic partner for a survivor benefit under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS)?
No, although under some circumstances an employee may elect to provide their domestic partner with an insurable interest annuity.
The CSRS and FERS statutes make certain benefits available to surviving spouses, former spouses, and children of deceased annuitants. Such benefits are not available to domestic partners under existing law.
Under CSRS and FERS, however, employees who are found to be in good health may elect an individual to receive an insurable interest annuity. "Insurable interest" is an insurance term that applies to someone who would reasonably expect to derive financial benefit from your continued life. OPM has promulgated proposed regulations that would include same-sex domestic partners among relationships OPM would presume have an insurable interest in the continued life of an employee. The proposed regulations would alleviate the necessity for employees to submit affidavits from individuals who would be able to attest to the designated beneficiary’s insurable interest in the employee’s continued life.