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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

Death Benefits

  • The children's survivor benefit is a specific dollar amount established by a formula in the governing United States Code and is increased by Cost-of-Living Adjustments. Each child's rate is determined individually based on the circumstances described below. When the child has a living parent who was married to the employee or retiree, the benefit payable to the child is the lesser of:
    • $469 per month per child; or
    • $1,409 per month divided by the number of eligible children.
    When the child does not have a living parent who was married to the employee or retiree, the benefit payable to the child is the lesser of:
    • $563 per month per child; or
    • $1,691 per month divided by the number of eligible children.
    The rates quoted above are payable from December 1, 2009 through November 30, 2010. They will be increased by future Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Cost-of-Living Adjustments. If the deceased retired under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or was an employee covered under FERS at the time of death, the combined benefit of all the children is reduced by the total amount of child’s benefits that are payable (or would, upon proper application, be payable) under Title II of the Social Security Act for the same month to all children of the deceased based on the total earnings of the deceased.  In many cases, the FERS children’s benefit is reduced to $0.
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  • Generally, your income from employment with the Government or any other employer will not affect your survivor annuity.
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  • Unmarried children who are dependent upon the employee may receive recurring monthly benefits. Refer to information about the demonstration of dependency for benefit payment purposes. See how the amount of children's benefits is determined.
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  • If you are enrolled for family life insurance, and a covered member of your family dies, you can contact us in one of three ways: U.S. Office of Personnel Management Retirement Services Program Post Office Box 45 Boyers, PA 16017-0045. You can download the necessary claim form and instructions, or contact us and ask that they be sent to you.
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  • Under these circumstances, there are no recurring monthly benefits payable under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). If there is an unpaid balance of retirement contributions by the former employee, the person(s) eligible for payment under the order of precedence should complete the "Application for Death Benefits," Standard Form (SF) 2800 [806 KB] and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and send the application to us at this address. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)- If the former employee was covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the current spouse may be eligible for a monthly benefit if…
    • The current spouse was married to the deceased at the time of his/her separation from Federal civilian service, and
    • The current spouse was married to the deceased for a total period of at least nine months (the nine month requirement does not apply if the death was accidental or if the current spouse is the parent of a child born of the marriage.)
    If there is an unpaid balance of retirement contributions by the former employee and no one is eligible for a monthly survivor benefit, the person(s) eligible for payment under the order of precedence should complete the "Application for Death Benefits," Standard Form (SF) 3104 [741 KB] and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and send the application to us at this address.
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  • The survivor annuity payable to the spouse of a deceased retiree who was covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset program is computed in the same manner as the annuity for the spouse of a deceased annuitant with full CSRS coverage. However, if you are the surviving spouse of a deceased retiree who was covered by CSRS-Offset, your annuity will be reduced if you are eligible upon proper application for social security benefits based on the deceased annuitant's Federal service. If social security survivor benefits are payable:
    • You will receive full Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) benefits until you become entitled to social security benefits, generally at age 60. However, benefits may begin earlier if you are disabled or care for a minor child.
    • When you become entitled to social security survivor benefits, your Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) survivor annuity will be reduced by the amount of the social security benefit that is attributable to the deceased's employment under CSRS-Offset coverage. The reduction begins on the first day of the month in which you are entitled to the CSRS-Offset annuity and eligible, upon application, for social security survivor benefits.
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  • Recurring monthly payments may be made to the former spouse of a deceased employee under a court order. A former spouse must also meet the nine month marriage requirement. For additional information about court-ordered benefits, refer to the pamphlet, "Court-Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses [7 MB]." See how the amount of the former spouse survivor benefit is determined.
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