Federal Benefits and Children
First we should discuss who qualifies as a dependent child. Federal benefits guidelines under the Office of Personnel Management state that a child is considered dependent if: the child was born of the marriage to the retiree; is a stepchild or a child that is recognized as such born out of wedlock who lived with the retiree in a parent-child relationship at the time of the retiree’s death; a recognized child born out of wedlock where child support exists as a result of a judicial determination; and an adopted child who lived with the deceased retiree and the retiree had filed a petition to adopt the child, and the surviving spouse adopted the child after the retiree passed away. The child is deemed dependent where there is evidence that the deceased supported the child by making contributions on a regular and consistent basis sufficient to cause notable loss if no longer apparent.
Children who are dependent may receive a monthly benefit until they reach the age of 18, marry or pass away. The monthly survivor annuity payments may continue beyond 18 if the child is a full-time college student attending an accredited college or university. The federal benefits can continue under those conditions until the child reaches age 22. Children that are disabled and are dependent may receive federal benefits if the disability occurred prior to age 18.
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