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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

How is the amount of children's benefits determined?

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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