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A former spouse survivor annuity and an apportionment are two distinct benefits payable to a former spouse. The former spouse annuity is payable after the death of an employee or retiree. An apportionment is based on a portion of the retiree’s gross or net annuity and is generally payable during the period of retirement. In order to qualify for one or both benefits, the court order must be specific in the type of benefit awarded.
A former spouse survivor annuity terminates:
· In accordance with the terms of the court order; or
· Upon remarriage before age 55; or
· Death of the retiree or the former spouse.
A portion of a retiree’s annuity stops at the earliest of:
· The date specified in a court order which requires termination;
· The last day of the first month before OPM receives a court order that invalidates, vacates or sets aside the court order submitted by the former spouse.
· The last day of the first month after OPM receives an amended court order
· The last day of the first month before the death of the retiree
· The last day of the month before the former spouse’s death, unless the order provides for continuation of the apportionment.
If you are married when you retire and you chose not to provide a spousal survivor benefit, you must obtain your spouse's consent to the election. The consent form, which is part of the application for (Civil Service (CSRS) [930 KB] or Federal Employees (FERS) [448 KB] Retirement Systems) benefits, must be completed before a notary public or other official authorized to take oaths.
The spousal consent requirement may be waived if it is shown that the spouse's whereabouts cannot be determined. A request for a waiver must be accompanied by:
The spousal consent requirement can be waived based on exceptional circumstances if the employee presents a judicial determination that exceptional circumstances warrant a waiver. The order must state that:
The types of benefits payable are current spouse survivor annuities, former spouse annuities voluntarily elected or awarded by court order in divorces granted on/after May 7, 1985; or a one-time lump sum benefit.
Under FERS, a basic employee death benefit may be payable to the surviving widow or widower of an employee who dies while employed.
You do not have to do anything. Benefits to eligible children are automatically provided by law.
To be eligible, a child must be unmarried, under age 18, and dependent on you. To continue to be eligible for benefits after age 18, a child must be unmarried and a full-time student or incapable of self-support due to a disability which onset before age 18.
Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), a retiree can elect to provide less than the maximum survivor benefit. A partial survivor election is based on 55% of the annual base amount you choose. For example, if you choose a survivor base of $3,600, the benefit will be 55% of $3,600 for a survivor benefit of $1,980 per year or $165 per month. By law, you must attach SF-2801-2, Spouse’s Consent to Survivor Election to your CSRS application. The SF-2801-2 must be signed by your spouse in the presence of a notary.
Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), individuals can elect a partial survivor benefit which is based on 25% of one’s unreduced annual base annuity. Your spouse must complete and attach SF-3107-2, Spouse’s Consent to Survivor Election, to your retirement application.
Yes, there are several ways to provide for payment of life insurance benefits to your former spouse, as follows:
File a SF-2818 Designation of Beneficiary Form, Office of Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program with the OPM naming your former spouse to receive all or a percentage of your insurance proceeds. A designation can be cancelled at any time as long as the form is received in the OPM before your death.
Assignment of Insurance: You may assign some or all of your life insurance to your former spouse. However, an assignment of insurance is permanent and not irrevocable. A court order filed after July 22, 1998 can direct that the individual make an irrevocable assignment to his/her former spouse. To assign your life insurance, you must complete form RI 76-10, Assignment of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance. An assignment automatically cancels an individual’s prior designation of beneficiary. After making an assignment, you cannot designate a beneficiary. The right to designate beneficiaries transfers to the assignee. In addition, the right to cancel or reduce insurance transfers to the assignee. If you own more than one type of coverage, you must assign all the insurance because you cannot assign only a portion of the coverage. Only Option C- Family Optional coverage cannot be assigned.
Court Order received in OPM on or after July 22, 1998. The order must be received in OPM prior to the death of the insured. The court can order that a former spouse is named as beneficiary in the divorce decree, annulment, or legal separation. A certified copy of the decree must be received by the employing agency for active employees on/after July 22, 1998. For retirees, the court order must be received by that date. By law, a court order on file before the above effective date is not valid for designating a former spouse as beneficiary. Any orders which are filed before July 22, 1998 and designate a former spouse as beneficiary of Office of Federal Employees Group Life Insurance will not be honored.
A child’s entitlement to receive a benefit ends on the last day of the month before any of the following events:
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