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May I designate my same-sex domestic partner to receive any lump-sum amounts payable under CSRS or FERS on my death?
Yes. Lump-sum amounts payable on the death of a Federal employee or annuitant may be designated to go to any individual. If an employee or annuitant wishes to designate their same sex domestic partners to receive a lump sum, it is imperative that they do so affirmatively by making an election on an SF 2808.
Lump-sum benefits are paid in accordance with the statutory order of precedence under 5 U.S.C. § 8342(c) (CSRS) (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title5/html/USCODE-2010-title5-partIII-subpartG-chap83-subchapIII-sec8342.htm) or 5 U.S.C. § 8424(d) (FERS) (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title5/html/USCODE-2010-title5-partIII-subpartG-chap84-subchapII-sec8424.htm). Same-sex domestic partners are not among those listed in the statutory order of preference. Further, a same sex spouse cannot receive lump-sum benefits as a “widow” or “widower” under the statutory order of precedence (i.e., the second order of precedence under 5 U.S.C. §§ 8342(d) and 8424(d)) as a result of DOMA. Therefore, in order for same-sex domestic partners or spouses to receive lump-sum benefits, employees or annuitants must designate their same-sex domestic partners or spouses under the first order of precedence (through a designated beneficiary) using SF 2808, Designation of Beneficiary, Civil Service Retirement System (http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2808.pdf), and SF 3102, Designation of Beneficiary, Federal Employees Retirement System (http://www.opm.gov/Forms/pdf_fill/SF3102.pdf).
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