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On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. As a result of the Supreme Court's decision, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will now be able to extend certain benefits to Federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex, regardless of the employee's or annuitant’s state of residency. OPM is currently in the process of updating and revising the website to reflect this change, and will be updating this information as soon as possible. Please check back in the coming weeks for updates.
Generally, if you are married at the time of retirement, you are
required to provide full survivor annuity benefits for your spouse unless your
spouse consents to a lesser amount or no survivor benefits.
If no survivor benefit is payable, OPM will pay a lump-sum death benefit
under the statutory order of precedence. Under the order of precedence, OPM
must pay the lump-sum to any beneficiary the employee/retiree has designated as
the recipient of that benefit. If the employee/retiree did not designate a
beneficiary, then the next person entitled under the order of precedence is the
As for Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) benefits, the experts at the Federal Retirement Thrift
Investment Board provided this answer: “A participant can designate any
individual, organization, a trust or will as a beneficiary without spousal
consent. However the spouse must consent to withdrawal that it is in any form
other than a joint life survivor annuity with the spouse as the joint
a Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employee dies, recurring monthly
payments may be made to the surviving spouse if the employee completed at least
18 months of creditable service and was covered under CSRS at the time of
- To qualify
for the monthly benefit, the surviving spouse must have been married to the
employee for at least nine months prior to death.
the death occurred before nine months, a survivor annuity may still be payable
if the employee’s death was accidental or there was a child born of the
a Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employee dies with at least 18
months of creditable civilian service under FERS, the Basic Employee Death
Benefit may be available for the surviving spouse. Additionally, if a FERS employee dies,
recurring monthly payments may be made to the surviving spouse if the deceased
employee completed at least 10 years of creditable service (18 months of which
must be civilian service). The same nine-month marriage requirement exists for
establishing entitlement to the FERS Basic Employee Death Benefit and the FERS spousal survivor annuity , and the same
exceptions to the 9-month marriage requirement apply (i.e., the 9-month
marriage requirement will not apply if the employee’s death was accidental or
there was a child born of the marriage).
can go to the Life
Event webpage for Death/Survivors to learn more.
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