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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

Will my deceased spouse's military service be used to determine the amount of my survivor annuity?

If you are the survivor of a deceased retiree who was receiving military retired pay at the time of death, credit for military service cannot be included in your survivor annuity unless the retired pay was:

  • Based on an disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the U.S. or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty; or
  • Granted under the provisions of Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code, for reserve retirement. This is formerly under Chapter 67, title 10.

If you are the survivor of a deceased employee who was receiving military retired pay at the time of death, credit for military will be included in your survivor annuity unless you elect otherwise. However, if the military service is included in your survivor annuity, it will be reduced by the amount of your military survivor's benefit, excluding children's benefits.

Post-56 Military Service Credited Under Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Rules-

Military service performed on/after January 1, 1957 must be applied toward social security benefits. However, under certain circumstances, it may also be used to determine the amount of your Civil Service Retirement System survivor annuity. If your survivor annuity is based on service that ended before September 9, 1982, and you are eligible for social security benefits upon proper application, you will receive the greater of:

  • an annuity reduced by eliminating the credit for military service performed after December 31, 1956, or
  • an annuity reduced by the amount of the social security benefit attributable to the military service after December 31, 1956.

If you are not eligible for social security benefits, your survivor annuity will not be reduced.

If your survivor annuity is based on service that ended after September 8, 1982, use of the deceased's post-1956 military service to determine the amount of your survivor annuity depends on when the deceased was first covered by the Civil Service Retirement System and whether or not a deposit was made to cover the service. If the deceased was first employed under the retirement system before October 1, 1982, and no deposit was made, we cannot use the post-1956 military service if you are eligible for social security benefits. If the deceased was first employed under the retirement system on/after October 1, 1982, and no deposit was made for the post-1956 military service, we cannot use the post-1956 military service to determine the amount of your survivor annuity regardless of whether or not you are eligible for social security benefits.

Post-56 Military Service Credited Under Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Rules-

If the post-1956 military service is creditable under FERS rules, a post-1956 deposit must be paid in order to credit the service for eligibility for annuity and computation purposes.

If your spouse retired under FERS and performed military service on/after January 1, 1957, his/her post-1956 military service was credited in their annuity if they paid a deposit for the service prior to retirement.   In this case, it will also be used to compute the amount of your survivor benefit.  If the deposit was not paid before your spouse retired, it will not be included in your annuity computation.

If you are the survivor of a FERS employee who died while still employed, you must pay the deposit for the post-1956 military service in order to receive credit for any military service performed after 1956.

If you are a survivor of a former FERS employee who was eligible for a deferred annuity at the time of death, but not yet receiving an annuity, you cannot pay the post-1956 military deposit to receive credit for the service.  The former employee must have paid the deposit before he/she separated from Federal employment.

When Deposit Can Be Made for Post-1956 Military Service-

The deposit for post-1956 military service must be made by the employee to his or her employing agency before retirement. A survivor may make the deposit if the employee died while working for the Federal Government.

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