Survivor Annuities for The Children of Current and Retired Deceased Federal Employees

In certain situations, the child or children of deceased current or past federal workers can claim a survivor benefit. For those that have retired, this benefit can be paid out even if you did not choose to put down a survivor benefit for your spouse when you left service for retirement.

For a child to receive this survivor annuity, they must be a single and dependent individual that is not 18 yet. This includes children that are recognized as your birth child, adopted child, a stepchild that resided with you and had a normal relationship with you, and a child that resided with you which you had petitioned for adoption and who is adopted by your surviving spouse after you have passed away.

Dependent children that are over 18 but under the age of 22 and are actively a full-time student can have the maximum age limit waived to receive a survivor benefit.

The age limit is also exempt from an unmarried dependent who is unable to support themselves due to a physical or mental disability that was diagnosed before the age of 18. 

To have your child eligible for the survivor annuity, you will need to send in information to the Office of Personnel Management about their education, employment if they are working, and where they live. You will also need to have the physician of your child give information about any medical situations.

To know what all information is needed, you can find it in the Office Personnel Form RI 25-43. You can find this online at www.opm.gov/forms or request it from your personnel department. 

The dependents of current and retired FERS or CSRS Offset workers will have their benefit deducted with the amount that was paid to them by Social Security.

The policies for these benefit payments to the children are all the same for current and retired FERS and CSRS workers. But the annuities payments to a child of a current or former CSRS Offset or FERS worker will be offset by the amount of the SS benefit that can be paid based on the current or retired worker’s time worked in their federal post that was covered by Social Security.

The annuity is calculated to include a cost of living adjustment for retirees annually. The rates can be a little different at times. However, when a child has a surviving parent who was a former or current spouse of the deceased federal worker, the survivor benefit is the lesser of the two options which are $1,620 monthly divided by the number of kids that are eligible for the benefit of $540 a month a child.

In the event that the child has no surviving parent who was a spouse to the deceased federal worker, the benefit that can be paid is lesser of $1,950 a month split by the number of kids eligible or $650 a month per child.

The rate will be the same if the deceased worker had 1to 3 kids, but the amount will also be less of the two formulas. If the deceased had more than three children, the rate for every kid would be much less.

If the surviving parent that was a spouse to the deceased federal employee passes before a child’s survivor annuity is done, the benefits are raised. Another situation where the benefit payments are increased is if the deceased federal worker had more than three children and the benefits for one of the kids stopped, whether due to an unfortunate death or the child is no longer eligible due to age, the benefits for the other eligible kids will be raised. 

The survivor benefit for each child that is eligible starts the very next day after the death of the federal employee and is terminated on the last day of the month if the child reaches age 18, becomes a spouse, or dies. If the child is over the age limit but is disabled, the benefits can end if they ever begin to support themselves.

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