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Life Events

The Life Events section of the website provides information useful to retirees and their families. There are many events in a retiree’s life that might affect their benefits. You can learn about them through the menu links to the left and summaries below.

We also publish a pamphlet on Life Events the RI 38-126: Life Events and Your Retirement and Insurance Benefits (for Annuitants) (PDF file) [1.74 MB] pamphlet is available for download in our Retirement and Insurance Publications directory.

Marriage/Divorce – Understand your benefits options when your marriage begins or ends.

Marriage After Retirement

Providing a Survivor Benefit if you Get Married After Retirement

If you get married after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse. You must make this election within two years of the date of your marriage.

Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS):

You can elect any portion of your annuity as the base for the survivor benefit payable in the event of your death. The survivor benefit will be 55% of the base elected.

Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS):

You can elect either:

  • a full survivor benefit (50% of your unreduced annual basic benefit), or
  • a partial survivor benefit (25% of your unreduced annual basic benefit).

If you remarry the same person to whom you were married at retirement, you cannot elect a survivor annuity greater than the one you elected at retirement.

There will be two reductions in your annuity if you elect to provide the survivor benefit:

  • The regular reduction to provide the survivor benefit which depends on the amount you elect for the survivor annuity. This reduction is computed as follows:
    • o Under FERS –
      • 10% of your basic annuity for full survivor benefit
      • 5% of your basic annuity for partial survivor benefit
    • o Under CSRS –
      • 2.5% of the first $3600 of your basic annuity, and 10% of the remainder of your basic annuity, up to the amount you have chosen as the base for the survivor benefit

    AND

  • A permanent actuarial reduction equal to the difference between the new annuity rate with the survivor benefit and the old one without the survivor benefit since your retirement, plus 6 percent interest. The actuarial reduction continues even if the marriage ends.

How to provide a survivor benefit for a spouse married after retirement

Write to OPM and send them a copy of your marriage certificate showing the date of the marriage and the name of your spouse. OPM will send you information about the cost of the benefit and ask you to confirm your election.

Changing your health benefits enrollment due to a marriage after retirement

To change to a family health benefits enrollment, call OPM anytime from 31 days before your marriage to 60 days afterward. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the next health benefits open season to make the change. If you already have a family plan, contact the health benefits carrier to include your spouse in the coverage.

You may also want to change your designations of beneficiary for life insurance or for retirement

These designations must be in writing on the forms OPM provides. You can print copies of these designation of beneficiary forms from our website, or call or send us an email to ask for the forms.

Life Insurance designation form:

SF 2823 (PDF file) [717.83 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program

Retirement System designation forms (for any money in the retirement fund remaining upon your death and any unpaid annuity):

  • SF 2808 (PDF file) [243.47 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/Civil Service Retirement System
  • SF 3102 (PDF file) [472.2 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Retirement System

Divorce After Retirement

If You Get Divorced After Retirement-

Notify OPM of the divorce

If your annuity is currently reduced to provide a survivor benefit for your spouse, the reduction will be eliminated, unless your divorce decree (Court Order) says that you must continue to provide a survivor annuity for your former spouse. Mail a certified copy of the entire court order and all support documentation to OPM.

You May Need to Change Your Health Benefits Enrollment

Health Benefits coverage for your former spouse:

When you divorce, your spouse is no longer a family member and cannot be covered under your family health benefits enrollment. Your children can continue to be covered. If there are no children, you should change to a self-only plan. Your court order may instruct you to continue to provide health benefits for your former spouse. Contact OPM to find our how to arrange for this coverage. If your court order does not instruct you to continue to provide health benefits coverage, your former spouse may qualify for temporary continuation of coverage for up to 36 months. If this temporary coverage is needed, you or your former spouse must contact us within 60 days after the divorce.

Health Benefits coverage for your children:

Your children can continue to be covered by your health benefits plan after your divorce. A court order may instruct you to provide health benefits coverage for your children. If you are subject to such an order, you cannot change your coverage from family to a self-only plan. You must enroll in a family plan that provides full benefits for the children in the area where they live. This applies to you as long as the court order is in effect.

You may want to change your designations of beneficiary for life insurance or for retirement

These designations must be in writing on the forms OPM provide. You can print copies of these designation forms from our website, or call or send us an email to ask for the forms.

Life Insurance designation form:

SF 2823 (PDF file) [717.83 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program

Retirement System designation forms (for any money in the retirement fund remaining upon your death and any unpaid annuity):

SF 2808 (PDF file) [243.47 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/Civil Service Retirement System
SF 3102 (PDF file) [472.2 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Retirement System

Providing a Survivor Benefit for your Former Spouse if you get divorced after retirement

If your marriage ends after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor benefit for your former spouse.

How to Make This Election-

You must notify OPM in writing within two years of the date the marriage ended. You should include a court-certified copy of the decree effecting the dissolution of the marriage, and any property or marital settlement agreement. Send this information to OPM.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017

Amount of Survivor Benefit-

  • Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS):
  • You can elect any portion of your annuity, up to 55% of your unreduced annual basic benefit, as a basis for the survivor benefit payable in the event of your death.
  • Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS):
    • You can elect either-
       a full survivor benefit (50% of your unreduced annual basic benefit), or
    • a partial survivor benefit (25% of your unreduced annual basic benefit).

There will be two reductions in your annuity if you elect to provide the survivor benefit:

The usual reduction to provide the survivor benefit depends on the amount you elect for the survivor annuity. This reduction is computed as follows-

  • o Under FERS — 10% of your basic annuity for full survivor benefit 5% of your basic annuity for partial survivor benefit
  • o Under CSRS — 2.5% of the first $3600 of your basic annuity and 10% of the remainder of your basic annuity, up to the amount you have chosen as the base for the survivor benefit.

AND

  • A permanent actuarial reduction equal to the difference between the new annuity rate with the survivor benefit and the old rate without the survivor benefit since your retirement, plus 6 percent interest. The actuarial reduction continues even if the marriage ends.

If you were married to the former spouse when you retired and he/she consented to an election of less than the maximum survivor benefit, you cannot provide a benefit that is larger than your original election.

Notify OPM upon the death of your spouse.

When a Federal employee or retiree dies, monthly or lump sum benefits may be payable to survivors. You can learn about these Death and Survivor benefits through the summaries below.

Deceased Employees

Explains monthly and lump sum benefits from the death of a Federal employee.

Deceased Employees Covered Under CSRS

Monthly Survivor Benefits

Children

Unmarried children who are dependent upon the employee may receive monthly benefits until they reach age 18, marry, or die. Monthly survivor annuity payments for a child can continue after age 18, if the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school. Benefits can continue until age 22.

Unmarried disabled dependent children may receive recurring monthly benefits, if the disability occurred before age 18.

We consider a child dependent if he/she:

  • was born of the marriage to the retiree;
  • is an adopted child who meets all of the following conditions-
    • the child lived with the deceased retiree, and
    • the deceased filed a petition to adopt the child, and
    • the child was adopted by the surviving spouse after the retiree died.
  • Is a stepchild or recognized child born out of wedlock who was living with the retiree in a parent-child relationship when the retiree died; or
  • Is a recognized child born out of wedlock for whom a judicial determination of support has been obtained.

We consider the child dependent if there is proof that the deceased made regular and substantial contributions to the child’s support.

If Death Occurs After Leaving Federal Employment Under CSRS and Before Retirement

Under these circumstances, there are no recurring monthly benefits payable under CSRS.

Lump Sum Benefits

If no survivor annuity is payable upon the employee/former employee’s death, a lump sum may be payable of the unpaid balance of retirement contributions made by the employee. This lump sum is payable under the order of precedence.

Deceased Employees Covered Under FERS

Basic Employee Death Benefit

Children

Unmarried children who are dependent upon the employee may receive monthly benefits until they reach age 18, marry, or die. Monthly survivor annuity payments for a child can continue after age 18, if the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school. Benefits can continue until age 22.
Unmarried disabled dependent children may receive recurring monthly benefits, if the disability occurred before age 18.

We consider a child dependent if he/she:

  • was born of the marriage to the retiree;
  • is an adopted child who meets all of the following conditions-
    • the child lived with the deceased retiree, and
    • the deceased filed a petition to adopt the child, and
    • the child was adopted by the surviving spouse after the retiree died.
  • Is a stepchild or recognized child born out of wedlock who was living with the retiree in a parent-child relationship when the retiree died; or
  • Is a recognized child born out of wedlock for whom a judicial determination of support has been obtained.

We consider the child dependent if there is proof that the deceased made regular and substantial contributions to the child’s support.

The combined benefit of all the children is reduced by the total amount of child’s insurance 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 (including those of a former marriage who may not be living with the current spouse) based on the total earnings of the deceased. In many cases, the FERS children’s benefit is reduced to $0.

Lump Sum Benefits

If no survivor annuity is payable upon the employee/former employee’s death, a lump sum may be payable of the unpaid balance of retirement contributions made by the employee. This lump sum is payable under the order of precedence.

If Death Occurs After Leaving Federal Employment Under FERS and Before Retirement

Monthly Survivor Annuity

Children

No monthly benefits are payable to children of deceased former FERS employees if the death occurs after leaving Federal employment under FERS and before retirement.

Lump Sum Benefit

If a former employee dies and no survivor annuity is payable, the retirement contributions remaining to the deceased person’s credit in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, plus applicable interest, are payable. This lump sum is payable under the order of precedence.

Death of Employee Covered Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)

Types of Benefits Payable:

Monthly Survivor Annuity is Payable To a Child if:

  • the employee completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service, and
  • the child is an-
    • unmarried dependent child under age 18, and/or
    • unmarried dependent child from age 18 to age 22, if attending an accredited educational institution full-time, and/or
    • unmarried, disabled dependent child if the disability occurred before age 18.

Lump Sum Benefit is Payable

If an employee dies and no survivor annuity is payable based on his/her death, the retirement contributions remaining to the deceased person’s credit in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, plus applicable interest, are payable.

Payees for Lump Sum Benefits-

If a lump sum benefit is payable, it is paid to the first person eligible under the following order of precedence:

  • to the designated beneficiary;
  • if there is no such beneficiary, to the widow or widower;
  • if none of the above, to the child or children, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child;
  • if none of the above, to the parents in equal shares or the entire amount to a surviving parent;
  • if none of the above, to the executor or administrator of the estate; or
  • if none of the above, to the next of kin as determined under the laws of the State where the retiree lived.

When Benefits Begin

  • Child
    • Your survivor annuity begins to accrue on the day after the employee’s or retiree’s death.

Applying for Benefits

Contact the personnel office of the Federal agency where the employee worked.

You should complete the Application for Death Benefits, Standard Form (SF) 2800 (PDF file) [667.22 KB] (CSRS) or SF 3104 (PDF file) [757.62 KB] (FERS) and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and a copy of the certificate of the marriage to the widow or widower. Give the application to the personnel office. A widow or widower who is claiming benefits for himself/herself and on behalf of children should file one application.

Death of Employee Covered Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)

Types of Benefits Payable:

Basic Employee Death Benefit is Payable
Amount of Basic Employee Death Benefit

  • 50% of the employee’s final salary (average salary, if higher), plus
  • $15,000 increased by Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) cost-of-living adjustments beginning 12/1/87. For deaths on or after 12/1/07, this amount is $28,093.53. It will be updated by future CSRS cost-of-living adjustments.

Monthly Survivor Benefit is Payable To a Child if:

  • the employee completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service, and
  • the child is an
    • unmarried dependent child under age 18, and/or
    • unmarried dependent child from age 18 to age 22, if attending an accredited educational institution full-time, and/or
    • unmarried, disabled dependent child if the disability (certified as such by the Social Security Administration) occurred before age 18.

The combined benefit of all the children is reduced by the total amount of child’s insurance 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.

Lump Sum Benefit is Payable

If an employee dies and no survivor annuity is payable based on his/her death, the retirement contributions remaining to the deceased person’s credit in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, plus applicable interest, are payable.

Payees for Lump Sum Benefits

  • to the designated beneficiary;
  • if there is no such beneficiary, to the widow or widower;
  • if none of the above, to the child or children, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child;
  • if none of the above, to the parents in equal shares or the entire amount to a surviving parent;
  • if none of the above, to the executor or administrator of the estate; or
  • if none of the above, to the next of kin as determined under the laws of the State where the retiree lived.

When Benefits Begin

  • Widow or Widower
    • your survivor annuity begins on the day after the employee’s or retiree’s death. If you are eligible for benefits and OPM is unable to pay you because a former spouse is entitled, your annuity would begin the day after the former spouse loses entitlement to benefits.
  • Former Spouse
    • If you are a former spouse who was awarded a survivor annuity based on a court order, your survivor annuity begins to accrue on whichever day is later:
      • The day after the employee’s or retiree’s death, or
      • The first day of the second month after OPM receives a certified copy of the court order along with any additional necessary supporting documentation.
    • If you are eligible for benefits and OPM is unable to pay you because another former spouse is entitled, your annuity would begin the day after the former spouse loses entitlement to benefits
  • Child
    • Your survivor annuity begins to accrue on the day after the employee’s or retiree’s death.

Applying for Benefits

Contact the personnel office of the Federal agency where the employee worked.

You should complete the Application for Death Benefits, Standard Form (SF) 3104 (PDF file) [757.62 KB] and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and a copy of the certificate of the marriage to the widow or widower. Give the application to the personnel office. If you are the surviving spouse or former spouse, you and deceased person’s employing agency should also complete Form (SF) 3104B (PDF file) [561.04 KB] Standard Documentation and Elections in Support of Application for Death Benefits when Deceased was an Employee at the Time of Death.

A widow or widower who is claiming benefits for himself/herself and on behalf of children should file one application.

Explains monthly and lump sum benefits from the death of a retiree.

Deceased Survivors

Explains lump sum benefits from the death of a survivor of a Federal employee or annuitant.

  • CSRS survivor information
  • FERS survivor information

Deceased Annuitant Benefits

Deceased CSRS Retirees

Monthly Survivor Benefits

Surviving Spouse

If a CSRS retiree dies, recurring monthly payments may be made to the surviving spouse if the retiree elected a reduced annuity to provide the benefit.
To qualify for the benefit

  • The surviving spouse must have been married to the retiree for at least nine months

If 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 marriage.

Former Spouse

Recurring monthly benefits may be made to the former spouse of a deceased retiree, if

  • the retiree elected a reduced annuity to provide the benefit, or
  • the benefit is payable under a court order.

A former spouse must have been married to the retiree for at least nine months. For additional information about court-ordered benefits, refer to the pamphlet, Court Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses. (PDF file) [6.98 MB]

Children

Unmarried children who are dependent upon the retiree may receive recurring monthly benefits until they reach age 18, marry or die. Monthly survivor annuity payments for a child can continue after age 18, if the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school. Benefits can continue until age 22.

Unmarried disabled dependent children may receive recurring monthly benefits, if the disability occurred before age 18.

We consider a child dependent if he/she:

  • was born of the marriage to the retiree;
  • was adopted by the deceased retiree prior to his/her death;
  • is an adopted child who meets all of the following conditions-
    • the child lived with the deceased retiree, and
    • the deceased filed a petition to adopt the child, and
    • the child was adopted by the surviving spouse after the retiree died.
  • Is a stepchild or recognized child born out of wedlock who was living with the retiree in a parent-child relationship when the retiree died; or
  • Is a recognized child born out of wedlock for whom a judicial determination of support has been obtained.

We consider the child dependent if there is proof that the deceased made regular and substantial contributions to the child’s support.

Lump Sum Benefit

If no survivor annuity is payable upon the retiree’s death, a lump sum may be payable equal to the annuity due the deceased, but not paid before death. If no survivor annuity is payable, the balance of any retirement contributions remaining to the deceased person’s credit in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, plus applicable interest, may also be payable.

Deceased FERS Retirees

Monthly Survivor Benefits

Surviving Spouse

If a FERS retiree dies, recurring monthly payments may be made to the surviving spouse if the retiree elected a reduced annuity to provide the benefit.

To qualify for the benefit

  • The surviving spouse must have been married to the retiree for at least nine months

If 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 marriage.

Former Spouse

Recurring monthly benefits may be made to the former spouse of a deceased retiree, if

  • the retiree elected a reduced annuity to provide the benefit, or
  • the benefit is payable under a court order.

A former spouse must have been married to the retiree for at least nine months.

For additional information about court-ordered benefits, refer to the pamphlet, Court Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses (PDF file) [6.98 MB].

Children

Unmarried children who are dependent upon the retiree may receive recurring monthly benefits until they reach age 18, marry or die. Monthly survivor annuity payments for a child can continue after age 18, if the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school. Benefits can continue until age 22.
Unmarried disabled dependent children may receive recurring monthly benefits, if the disability occurred before age 18.

We consider a child dependent if he/she:

  • was born of the marriage to the retiree;
  • was adopted by the deceased retiree prior to his/her death;
  • is an adopted child who meets all of the following conditions-
    • the child lived with the deceased retiree, and
    • the deceased filed a petition to adopt the child, and
    • the child was adopted by the surviving spouse after the retiree died.
  • Is a stepchild or recognized child born out of wedlock who was living with the retiree in a parent-child relationship when the retiree died; or
  • Is a recognized child born out of wedlock for whom a judicial determination of support has been obtained.

We consider the child dependent if there is proof that the deceased made regular and substantial contributions to the child’s support.

The combined benefit of all the children is reduced by the total amount of child’s insurance 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 (including those of a former marriage who may not be living with the current spouse) based on the total earnings of the deceased. In many cases, the FERS children’s benefit is reduced to $0.

Lump Sum Benefit

If no survivor annuity is payable upon the retiree’s death, a lump sum may be payable equal to the annuity due the deceased, but not paid before death. If no survivor annuity is payable, the balance of any retirement contributions remaining to the deceased person’s credit in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, plus applicable interest, may also be payable.

Child Beneficiaries

Explains the monthly benefits that may be due children of deceased Federal employees and annuitants.

Benefits Payable to Children of Deceased CSRS/FERS Employees/Annuitants

FERS/CSRS survivor benefits to eligible children are automatically provided by law. An annuitant does not have to elect these benefits at retirement. There is no reduction in your annuity to provide this benefit.

Length of Payment of Child Benefits

Unmarried children who are dependent upon the employee/annuitant may receive monthly benefits until they reach age 18, marry, or die. Monthly survivor annuity payments for a child can continue after age 18, if the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school. Benefits can continue until age 22.
Unmarried disabled dependent children who are incapable of self-support may receive recurring monthly benefits, if the disability occurred before age 18. The benefits will continue as long as the condition continues and the child does not become capable of self-support.

Benefits to any child end upon the child’s marriage.

Continuing Benefits for Children After Age 18

A child can continue to receive benefits after reaching age 18 if he or she is incapable of self-support because of a disability which began before age 18. If the disabled child is under age 18 when you apply for benefits, OPM does not need additional information. However, when the child is within three months of reaching age 18 or over age 18, you should send us the information described in disabling conditions for children.

A child can also continue to receive benefits until age 22 if he or she is a full time student. If the child is listed on the application for benefits as a full-time student who is age 18 or more, OPM will send a request for certification of school attendance to be completed by the person who expects to receive payments and the school. Annuity payments continue between school years unless the break is more than five months or the student does not return to school on a full-time basis.

Disabling Conditions for Children

Monthly survivor annuity payments can continue if a child is incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental disability which began before age 18. If you have a disabled child who receives benefits as a minor, you should send a letter asking us to continue benefits after the child reaches 18 because of incapacity for self-support. You should send the letter about 90 days before your child reaches age 18.

You should include a doctor’s statement that includes the child’s name, the CSF survivor claim number, a full report of the disability, including the date it started, the degree of impairment, and probable length of the disability. The statement should cover a brief educational and employment history, if any, and provide the name, address, telephone number, and signature of the physician.
Monthly survivor benefits to a disabled dependent stop when the disabled child recovers from the disability, becomes capable of self-support, marries, or dies.

Full-Time Students

Monthly survivor annuity payments for a child can continue after age 18 if the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school. Benefits can continue until age 22.

To be considered a full-time student, high schools, trade schools, and vocational schools generally require 25 or more actual clock hours of classroom attendance each week. Colleges and universities generally require enrollment for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester to be considered full-time. There are no payments available for part-time school attendance.

A recognized school is one that has a faculty and requires study to be done at the school. High schools must be licensed by the state. All other schools must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.

We do not recognize correspondence schools, elementary schools, home schools, Job Corps, U.S. military service academies such as the U.S. Naval Academy, or any training programs where the trainee receives pay primarily as an employee.

Determination of Dependence

We consider the child dependent if there is proof that the deceased made regular and substantial contributions to the child’s support. OPM consider a child dependent if he or she:

  • was born of the marriage to the retiree;
  • was adopted by the deceased prior to his/her death;
  • is an adopted child who meets all of the following conditions-
    • the child lived with the deceased retiree, and
    • a petition was filed by the deceased to adopt the child, and
    • the child was adopted by the surviving spouse before/after the retiree died;
  • is a stepchild or recognized child born out of wedlock who was living with the retiree in a parent/child relationship when the retiree died; or
  • is a recognized child born out of wedlock for whom a judicial determination of support has been obtained.

Receipt of Social Security Benefits Affects FERS Benefits Payable to Children of Deceased FERS Employees/Retirees

The combined benefit payable for all eligible children is reduced by the total monthly amount of the children’s Social Security Insurance benefits that are payable (or would be payable upon proper application). Benefits payable under Title II of the Social Security Act for all children of the deceased (including those of a former marriage who may not be living with the current spouse) are based on the total earnings of the deceased. In many cases, the FERS children’s benefit is reduced to $0.

Computation of Children’s Benefits

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. Below are the rates a child would receive if the death of the parent occurred in 2014. For a child on the annuity roll prior to 2014, OPM will apply the 2013 COLA rate to the child’s current annuity. 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:

$502 per month per child; or $1,506 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:

$602 per month per child; or

$1,807 per month divided by the number of eligible children.

These rates are payable from December 1, 2013, through November 30, 2014.

They will be increased by future cost-of-living adjustments.

Students Ages 18-22

A surviving child who meets the Basic Eligibility Requirements as defined in the pamphlet Survivor Benefits for Children (PDF file) [278.91 KB] and is between the ages of 18 and 22, and is a full-time student at a recognized educational institution may be eligible for a monthly survivor annuity benefit.

If a person who meets these requirements is listed on the Application for Death Benefits, Standard Form 2800 (PDF file) [667.22 KB] OPM will send an Initial Certification of Full-Time School Attendance, RI 25-41 (PDF file) [106.88 KB]. This form is completed by the person who expects to receive the payments and by the school. If a child under 18 receives annuity benefits, as the 18th birthday approaches, OPM notifies the parent, guardian, or other payee of the date the annuity will stop and explain how to continue benefits for a son or daughter who is a qualified student.

Self-Certification Website

Students can also self-certify their full-time school attendance online at our Self-Certification of Full-Time School Attendance (external link) website.

Eligibility

A recognized educational institution is a school that has a faculty and requires study or training to be done at the school, and is accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Examples include:

  • high schools
  • technical or vocational institutes
  • business schools
  • colleges
  • junior or community colleges
  • universities

Student benefits are not payable to students enrolled in correspondence courses, distance learning, “online” courses, Job Corps, elementary schools, United States military service academies, or any training programs, such as apprenticeship programs, where the trainee receives pay primarily as an employee.

The student must be attending day or evening classes at the school, with enough course work each semester or term to finish his or her education within the length of time generally considered normal by the school for a full-time day student. Full-time students must have a sufficient subject load to allow them to graduate within the minimum time which is considered normal for a full-time student of the school.

High schools generally require 25 to 35 actual clock hours of class attendance each week to consider a student as full-time. For special programs, they generally require a minimum of 20 hours per week. Colleges, junior or community colleges, and universities generally require a minimum of 12 semester or quarter credit hours to graduate in the normal length of time. For tuition purposes, a student carrying fewer credit hours may be designated as full-time. Being designated full-time for tuition purposes does not necessarily establish eligibility for adult student benefits. Vocational or technical schools generally require that students make this schooling their principal activity. This means that the student spends as much as 40 clock hours each week in activities related directly to training in the school. Normally, the activities take place at the school

Work Study Programs

Acceptable work-study programs generally require some regularly scheduled class attendance; together, the class attendance and the work periods constitute a full-time course of training. High school work-study programs are considered full-time if the school gives the student credit for successfully completing the work-study program. Generally, cooperative programs are not full-time academic course work. However, if the student receives full-time academic credit in a cooperative program and is not receiving pay primarily as an employee, the student may qualify for a monthly annuity.

Continued Eligibility

OPM may request periodic certification from you that the student continues to meet the eligibility requirements. OPM may also request at any time that you provide proof of the school enrollment.

Annuity benefits continue between school years unless the break is longer than 5 months or the student does not continue full-time school attendance. You must notify us immediately if there is a break of more than 5 months between school years or the student does not plan to continue full-time school attendance. Any benefits erroneously continued during the break must be repaid by the recipient.

A son or daughter whose annuity benefits as an adult student stopped because he or she is no longer a full-time student at a recognized school could qualify for benefits again before reaching age 22. In such a case, please request reinstatement of the annuity. Call our toll-free number 1-888-767-6738 or write to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Surveys & Students Branch
1900 E Street; NW;
Washington, DC 20415-3563

Be sure to provide the child’s full name, the survivor annuity claim number (CSF number), and the full name of the deceased Federal employee or retiree.

Discontinuation of Student Benefits

Annuity benefits stop for the student at the end of the month before he/she:

  • turns 22 (however, if the 22nd birthday falls on or after September 1 and before the following July 1, payments continue to the end of the month preceding the one in which full-time schooling stops or to June 30, whichever comes first);
  • marries;
  • dies;
  • stops attending school;
  • transfers to a non recognized school;
  • changes to less than full-time school attendance;
  • enters military service or a U.S. military service academy (such as the U.S. Naval Academy); or
  • fails to submit proof that he or she is attending school full-time when OPM requests it.

If the student’s 22nd birthday occurs on or after September 1 and before July 1 of the following year and the death of the employee/annuitant occurs during the same period, the student may be eligible for a monthly annuity.

Notify us immediately if any of the events listed above occurs. If benefits are paid after one of these events, the person who received the payment may be indebted to the Civil Service Retirement System, and repayment will be required.

Students

A surviving child of a deceased Federal employee or annuitant who is between the ages of 18 and 22, and is a full-time student at a recognized educational institution may be eligible for a monthly survivor annuity benefit.

Benefits Payable to Children of Deceased CSRS/FERS

Employees/Annuitants

FERS/CSRS survivor benefits to eligible children are automatically provided by law. An annuitant does not have to elect these benefits at retirement. There is no reduction in your annuity to provide this benefit.

Length of Payment of Child Benefits

Unmarried children who are dependent upon the employee/annuitant may receive monthly benefits until they reach age 18, marry, or die. Monthly survivor annuity payments for a child can continue after age 18, if the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school. Benefits can continue until age 22.
Unmarried disabled dependent children who are incapable of self-support may receive recurring monthly benefits, if the disability occurred before age 18. The benefits will continue as long as the condition continues and the child does not become capable of self-support.

Benefits to any child end upon the child’s marriage.

Continuing Benefits for Children After Age 18

A child can continue to receive benefits after reaching age 18 if he or she is incapable of self-support because of a disability which began before age 18. If the disabled child is under age 18 when you apply for benefits, OPM does not need additional information. However, when the child is within three months of reaching age 18 or over age 18, you should send us the information described in disabling conditions for children.

A child can also continue to receive benefits until age 22 if he or she is a full time student. If the child is listed on the application for benefits as a full-time student who is age 18 or more, OPM will send a request for certification of school attendance to be completed by the person who expects to receive payments and the school. Annuity payments continue between school years unless the break is more than five months or the student does not return to school on a full-time basis.

Disabling Conditions for Children

Monthly survivor annuity payments can continue if a child is incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental disability which began before age 18. If you have a disabled child who receives benefits as a minor, you should send a letter asking us to continue benefits after the child reaches 18 because of incapacity for self-support. You should send the letter about 90 days before your child reaches age 18.

You should include a doctor’s statement that includes the child’s name, the CSF survivor claim number, a full report of the disability, including the date it started, the degree of impairment, and probable length of the disability. The statement should cover a brief educational and employment history, if any, and provide the name, address, telephone number, and signature of the physician.
Monthly survivor benefits to a disabled dependent stop when the disabled child recovers from the disability, becomes capable of self-support, marries, or dies.

Full-Time Students

Monthly survivor annuity payments for a child can continue after age 18 if the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school. Benefits can continue until age 22.

To be considered a full-time student, high schools, trade schools, and vocational schools generally require 25 or more actual clock hours of classroom attendance each week. Colleges and universities generally require enrollment for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester to be considered full-time. There are no payments available for part-time school attendance.

A recognized school is one that has a faculty and requires study to be done at the school. High schools must be licensed by the state. All other schools must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
We do not recognize correspondence schools, elementary schools, home schools, Job Corps, U.S. military service academies such as the U.S. Naval Academy, or any training programs where the trainee receives pay primarily as an employee.

Determination of Dependence

We consider the child dependent if there is proof that the deceased made regular and substantial contributions to the child’s support. OPM considers a child dependent if he or she:

  • was born of the marriage to the retiree;
  • was adopted by the deceased prior to his/her death;
  • is an adopted child who meets all of the following conditions-
    • the child lived with the deceased retiree, and
    • a petition was filed by the deceased to adopt the child, and
    • the child was adopted by the surviving spouse before/after the retiree died;
  • is a stepchild or recognized child born out of wedlock who was living with the retiree in a parent/child relationship when the retiree died; or
  • is a recognized child born out of wedlock for whom a judicial determination of support has been obtained.

Receipt of Social Security Benefits Affects FERS Benefits Payable to Children of Deceased FERS Employees/Retirees

The combined benefit payable for all eligible children is reduced by the total monthly amount of the children’s Social Security Insurance benefits that are payable (or would be payable upon proper application). Benefits payable under Title II of the Social Security Act for all children of the deceased (including those of a former marriage who may not be living with the current spouse) are based on the total earnings of the deceased. In many cases, the FERS children’s benefit is reduced to $0.

Computation of Children’s Benefits

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. Below are the rates a child would receive if the death of the parent occurred in 2014. For a child on the annuity roll prior to 2014, OPM will apply the 2013 COLA rate to the child’s current annuity. 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:

$502 per month per child; or

$1,506 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:

$602 per month per child; or

$1,807 per month divided by the number of eligible children.

These rates are payable from December 1, 2013, through November 30, 2014.

They will be increased by future cost-of-living adjustments.

Students Ages 18-22

A surviving child who meets the Basic Eligibility Requirements as defined in the pamphlet Survivor Benefits for Children (PDF file) [278.91 KB] and is between the ages of 18 and 22, and is a full-time student at a recognized educational institution may be eligible for a monthly survivor annuity benefit.
If a person who meets these requirements is listed on the Application for Death Benefits, Standard Form 2800 (PDF file) [667.22 KB] OPM will send an Initial Certification of Full-Time School Attendance, RI 25-41 (PDF file) [106.88 KB]. This form is completed by the person who expects to receive the payments and by the school. If a child under 18 receives annuity benefits, as the 18th birthday approaches, OPM notifies the parent, guardian, or other payee of the date the annuity will stop and explain how to continue benefits for a son or daughter who is a qualified student.

Self-Certification Website

Students can also self-certify their full-time school attendance online at our Self-Certification of Full-Time School Attendance (external link) website.

Eligibility

A recognized educational institution is a school that has a faculty and requires study or training to be done at the school, and is accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Examples include:

  • high schools
  • technical or vocational institutes
  • business schools
  • colleges
  • junior or community colleges
  • universities

Student benefits are not payable to students enrolled in correspondence courses, distance learning, “online” courses, Job Corps, elementary schools, United States military service academies, or any training programs, such as apprenticeship programs, where the trainee receives pay primarily as an employee.

The student must be attending day or evening classes at the school, with enough course work each semester or term to finish his or her education within the length of time generally considered normal by the school for a full-time day student. Full-time students must have a sufficient subject load to allow them to graduate within the minimum time which is considered normal for a full-time student of the school.

High schools generally require 25 to 35 actual clock hours of class attendance each week to consider a student as full-time. For special programs, they generally require a minimum of 20 hours per week. Colleges, junior or community colleges, and universities generally require a minimum of 12 semester or quarter credit hours to graduate in the normal length of time. For tuition purposes, a student carrying fewer credit hours may be designated as full-time. Being designated full-time for tuition purposes does not necessarily establish eligibility for adult student benefits. Vocational or technical schools generally require that students make this schooling their principal activity. This means that the student spends as much as 40 clock hours each week in activities related directly to training in the school. Normally, the activities take place at the school.

Work Study Programs

Acceptable work-study programs generally require some regularly scheduled class attendance; together, the class attendance and the work periods constitute a full-time course of training. High school work-study programs are considered full-time if the school gives the student credit for successfully completing the work-study program. Generally, cooperative programs are not full-time academic course work. However, if the student receives full-time academic credit in a cooperative program and is not receiving pay primarily as an employee, the student may qualify for a monthly annuity.

Continued Eligibility

OPM may request periodic certification from you that the student continues to meet the eligibility requirements. OPM may also request at any time that you provide proof of the school enrollment.

Annuity benefits continue between school years unless the break is longer than 5 months or the student does not continue full-time school attendance. You must notify us immediately if there is a break of more than 5 months between school years or the student does not plan to continue full-time school attendance. Any benefits erroneously continued during the break must be repaid by the recipient.

A son or daughter whose annuity benefits as an adult student stopped because he or she is no longer a full-time student at a recognized school could qualify for benefits again before reaching age 22. In such a case, please request reinstatement of the annuity. Call our toll-free number 1-888-767-6738 or write to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Surveys & Students Branch
1900 E Street; NW;
Washington, DC 20415-3563

Be sure to provide the child’s full name, the survivor annuity claim number (CSF number), and the full name of the deceased Federal employee or retiree.

Discontinuation of Student Benefits

Annuity benefits stop for the student at the end of the month before he/she:

  • turns 22 (however, if the 22nd birthday falls on or after September 1 and before the following July 1, payments continue to the end of the month preceding the one in which full-time schooling stops or to June 30, whichever comes first);
  • marries;
  • dies;
  • stops attending school;
  • transfers to a non recognized school;
  • changes to less than full-time school attendance;
  • enters military service or a U.S. military service academy (such as the U.S. Naval Academy); or
  • fails to submit proof that he or she is attending school full-time when OPM request it.

If the student’s 22nd birthday occurs on or after September 1 and before July 1 of the following year and the death of the employee/annuitant occurs during the same period, the student may be eligible for a monthly annuity.

Notify us immediately if any of the events listed above occurs. If benefits are paid after one of these events, the person who received the payment may be indebted to the Civil Service Retirement System, and repayment will be required.

Reemployment in Federal Service

CSRS Annuity

Annuity Stops

Reemployment will cause your annuity to stop if–

  • You are a disability annuitant whom OPM has found recovered or restored to earning capacity prior to reemployment;
  • You are a disability annuitant who was medically disqualified for continued membership in the National Guard;
  • Your annuity is based on an involuntary separation and your new appointment is permanent in nature; or
  • You received a Presidential appointment subject to retirement deductions.

Federal Employees Health Benefits Coverage (FEHB)

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your health insurance coverage as an annuitant stops. If your appointment is one that gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, you can enroll in the program when you are reemployed.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Coverage (FEGLI)

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your life insurance as an annuitant stops without a right to convert to an individual policy. You acquire life insurance coverage as an employee under the same conditions as any other employee who is rehired in the Federal service.

Future Benefits

When your reemployment ends, a new determination about your rights to retirement benefits will be made. Your prior retirement benefit generally has no impact on your new retirement benefit.

Dual Compensation Waiver

If reemployed with a Department of Defense agency, you are subject to a dual compensation waiver that allows you to be reemployed with receipt of both annuity and salary. You will not be entitled to further retirement benefits under this waiver. If you retire under a discontinued service provision, you may elect to not receive this waiver and become subject to the CSRS reemployment provisions, which will effectively make you an employee since your annuity would terminate.

In addition, there is a temporary provision of the law that allows you to be reemployed on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. See Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 (PDF file) [61.51 KB].

Annuity Continues

If your annuity does not stop under the rules above, you will continue to receive your CSRS annuity while you are working. Your pay will be reduced by the amount of your annuity paid for the period you work. If you do not work full time, the reduction in pay will be adjusted proportionately.

There is a temporary provision of the law that allows you to be reemployed on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. See Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 (PDF file) [62 KB].

Federal Employees Health Benefits Coverage (FEHB)

If your annuity continues after you are reemployed, your FEHB coverage will generally be withheld by your agency in order to take advantage of the premium conversion for health benefits. Your agency should alert OPM to your reemployment and inform OPM that they will take over your FEHB coverage. OPM will suspend your coverage as an annuitant until you have separated from your reemployed position. If your appointment does not make you eligible for FEHB with the agency or if you elect not to participate in HB premium conversion with the agency, OPM will continue to withhold premiums from your annuity payment.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Coverage (FEGLI)

If your annuity continues after you are reemployed, you retain the life insurance you have as a retiree. However, if the type of appointment you have makes you eligible for FEGLI coverage as an employee, any Basic Life insurance, Standard Option (Option A), and Family Optional (Option C) insurance you have as an annuitant are suspended and you will have coverage as an employee. If you have Additional Optional (Option B) insurance, you may continue your Option B annuitant, or elect to have it as an employee.

Future Benefits

Reemployment may increase your retirement and death benefits. As a reemployed annuitant, you can earn either a-

  • Supplemental annuity, or
  • Redetermined annuity.

A supplemental annuity is an annuity that is added on to your present annuity. If you work as a reemployed annuitant on a full time, continuous basis for at least 1 year, you may be entitled to a supplemental annuity. If you work part time, you must work a proportionately longer period to earn a supplemental annuity.

A redetermined annuity is a recomputed annuity that takes the place of your present annuity. If your reemployment continues for at least 5 years, or the part-time equivalent, and you qualify for a retirement upon separation from your reemployment service you may elect a redetermined annuity.
Intermittent service cannot be counted in establishing eligibility for a supplemental or redetermined annuity, and cannot be used in the computation of a supplemental annuity.

CSRS reemployed annuitant service cannot be credited in a supplemental or redetermined annuity unless a deposit is paid after separation, or retirement deductions are withheld. If you are reemployed in a full-time or part-time position, you may elect to have retirement deductions withheld from your pay. The amount of retirement deductions or deposit is a percentage of your basic pay before it is reduced by the amount of your annuity.

If you die while reemployed, after establishing eligibility for either a supplemental or redetermined annuity, your surviving spouse may have his or her survivor benefit either increased or recomputed.

Dual Compensation Waivers

There are two laws that permit reemployment without salary offset or benefit termination.

Special Reemployment Provision of PL 108-136

Under Public Law 108-136, effective November 24, 2003, reemployment with a Department of Defense (DOD) agency is automatically under a dual compensation waiver. This means that DOD can reemploy an annuitant without taking an offset of salary or without OPM terminating the annuity if the annuitant retired under a CSRS discontinued service retirement. A CSRS discontinued service annuitant may elect to waive the dual compensation and become an employee (that is, their annuity will be terminated). A disability annuitant would still be subject to medical recovery (before age 60) and restored to earning capacity criteria. However, under the special DOD dual compensation waiver, a disability annuitant would not be subject to administrative recovery. If someone is reemployed under a dual compensation waiver, no further retirement benefits, such as a supplemental or redetermined annuity, are payable. The agency still needs to contact OPM regarding the reemployment since health benefits and life insurance need to be handled in the same manner as any reemployed annuitant.

Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 (PDF file) [62 KB] (The National Defense Authorization Act)

Public Law 111-84, approved on October 28, 2009, allows reemployment of CSRS and FERS annuitants on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. This provision applies to Executive agencies (excluding the Department of Defense and GAO), the Postal Service, and the Judicial and Legislative Branch agencies.

This authority may be used by agencies when they determine that it is necessary to-

  • Fulfill functions critical to the mission of the agency, or any component of that agency;
  • Assist in the Implementation of oversight of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or the Troubled Asset Relief Program under title I of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
  • Assist in the development, management, or oversight of agency procurement actions;
  • Assist the Inspector General for the agency in the performance of the mission of the Inspector General;
  • Promote appropriate training or mentoring programs of employees;
  • Assist in the recruitment or retention of employees; or
  • Respond to an emergency involving a direct threat to life or property or other unusual circumstances.

Individuals reemployed under this provision, serve under appointments limited to a year or less. An annuitant may not serve under this provision for more than 520 hours of service during the period ending 6 months following the individual’s annuity commencing date; for more than 1040 hours of service during any 12-month period; or for more than a total of 3120 hours. Individuals employed under these provisions are not entitled to any additional annuity benefits based upon that employment.

This provision expires on October 27, 2014.

Special Information for CSRS Disability Annuitants Considering Federal Reemployment

  • If you are reemployed on a permanent basis in a position equivalent in grade and pay to the position from which you retired, OPM may find that you have recovered from your disability.
  • If you are reemployed subject to medical and physical qualification standards equivalent to those of the position from which you retired, OPM may find that you have recovered from your disability.
  • The pay of the position in which you are reemployed, prior to the offset of annuity, will be included as earnings in determining whether the disability annuity will stop due to restoration to earning capacity.
  • Receipt of, or continued entitlement to receive, full or partial injury compensation benefits from the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation during reemployment, when those benefits are based on the same injury or medical condition that is the basis for OPM’s award of disability retirement, is conclusive evidence (unless there is contravening medical evident) that you have not recovered from your disability.
  • If you are age 60 or over, your annuity cannot be stopped because of your earnings, and OPM can find that you are recovered only if you request to be found recovered.

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP)

Not receiving an annuity

If you are no longer an annuitant, then your FEDVIP coverage as an annuitant ends. If your appointment is one that gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, then you may enroll in the FEDVIP program when you are reemployed.

Still receiving an annuity

If you go back to work and you are in a position that conveys FEDVIP eligibility, you must contact BENEFEDS (1-877-888-3337), if you want your premiums to be deducted from your paychecks. Most reemployed annuitants want to make that change because retirees pay FEDVIP premiums with post-tax dollars and employees pay FEDVIP premiums with pre-tax dollars. If your new position does not convey FEDVIP eligibility you may retain the coverage as an annuitant.

Employment in the Private Sector

Effect on Your Basic Annuity:

  • If you retired under CSRS –

CSRS Basic Benefit

Your employment outside the Federal service will not affect your basic annuity payments unless you’re receiving a disability annuity and are under age 60. If you’re a disability retiree under age 60, you will be subject to the 80% earnings limit. You reach the 80% earnings limit if, in any calendar year, your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay for the position from which you retired.

FERS Annuity (Basic Benefit)

Annuity Stops

Reemployment will cause your FERS annuity to stop if–

  • You are a disability annuitant whom OPM has found recovered or restored to earning capacity prior to reemployment;
  • You are a disability annuitant who was medically disqualified for continued membership in the National Guard;

Federal Employees Health Benefits Coverage (FEHB)

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your health insurance coverage as an annuitant stops. If your appointment is one that gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, you can enroll in the program when you are reemployed.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Coverage (FEGLI)

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your life insurance as an annuitant stops without a right to convert to an individual policy. You acquire life insurance coverage as an employee under the same conditions as any other employee who is rehired in the Federal service.

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP)

Not receiving an annuity

If you are no longer an annuitant, then your FEDVIP coverage as an annuitant ends. If your appointment is one that gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, then you may enroll in the FEDVIP program when you are reemployed.

Still receiving an annuity

If you go back to work and you are in a position that conveys FEDVIP eligibility, you must contact BENEFEDS (1-877-888-3337), if you want your premiums to be deducted from your paychecks. Most reemployed annuitants want to make that change because retirees pay FEDVIP premiums with post-tax dollars and employees pay FEDVIP premiums with pre-tax dollars. If your new position does not convey FEDVIP eligibility you may retain the coverage as an annuitant.

Future Benefits

When your annuity stops, you have the same status as any other Federal employee employed in an equivalent position with a similar service history. When you again leave Federal service, you will be entitled to either an immediate or deferred annuity based on this new separation. Generally, the annuity will be computed on the basis of your service and salary history at the time of the future separation from Federal service.

If reemployed with a Department of Defense agency, you are subject to a dual compensation waiver that allows you to be reemployed with receipt of both annuity and salary. You will not be entitled to further retirement benefits under this waiver. If you retired under a discontinued service provision, you may elect to not receive this waiver and become subject to the FERS reemployment provisions, which will apply an offset to your salary based on the monthly amount of your annuity. The reemployment service can be applied to your retirement depending on the amount of service you perform.

In addition, there is a temporary provision of the law that allows you to be reemployed on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. See Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 (PDF file) [61.51 KB][62 KB].

Annuity Continues

If your annuity does not stop under the rules above, you will continue to receive your FERS annuity while you are working. Your pay will be reduced by the amount of your annuity paid for the period you work. If you do not work full time, the reduction in pay will be adjusted proportionately.

There is a temporary provision of the law that allows you to be reemployed on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. See Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 (PDF file) [62 KB].

Federal Employees Health Benefits Coverage (FEHB)

If your annuity continues after you are reemployed, your FEHB coverage will generally be withheld by your agency in order to take advantage of the premium conversion for health benefits. Your agency should alert OPM of your reemployment and that they will take over your FEHB coverage. OPM will suspend your coverage as an annuitant until you have separated from your reemployed position. If your appointment does not make you eligible for FEHB with the agency or if you elect not to participate in HB premium conversion with the agency, OPM will continue to withhold premiums from your annuity payment.

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Coverage (FEGLI)

If your annuity continues after you are reemployed, you retain the life insurance you have as a retiree. However, if the type of appointment you have makes you eligible for FEGLI coverage as an employee, any Basic Life insurance, Standard Option (Option A), and Family Optional (Option C) insurance you have as an annuitant are suspended and you will have coverage as an employee. You have the option of keeping Additional Optional (Option B) as an annuitant or having it as an employee.

Future Benefits

Reemployment may increase your retirement and death benefits. As a reemployed annuitant, you can earn either a-

  • supplemental annuity, or
  • redetermined annuity.

A supplemental annuity is an annuity that is added on to your present annuity. If you work as a reemployed annuitant on a full time, continuous basis for at least 1 year, you may be entitled to a supplemental annuity. If you work part-time, you must work a proportionately longer period to earn a supplemental annuity.

A redetermined annuity is a recomputed annuity that takes the place of your present annuity. If your reemployment continues for at least 5 years, or the part-time equivalent, and if you qualify for a retirement at separation from your reemployment service you may elect a redetermined annuity. Intermittent service cannot be counted in establishing eligibility for a supplemental or redetermined annuity, and cannot be used in the computation of a supplemental annuity.

If you die while reemployed, after establishing eligibility for either a supplemental or redetermined annuity, your surviving spouse may have his or her survivor benefit either increased or recomputed.

Dual Compensation Waivers

Special Reemployment Provision of PL 108-136

Under Public Law 108-136, effective November 24, 2003, reemployment with a Department of Defense (DOD) agency is automatically under a dual compensation waiver. This means that DOD can reemploy an annuitant without taking an offset of salary. A FERS discontinued service annuitant may elect to waive the dual compensation and come under the rules for a reemployed annuitant. A disability annuitant would still be subject to medical recovery (before age 60) and restored to earning capacity criteria. However, under the special DOD dual compensation waiver, a disability annuitant would not be subject to administrative recovery. If someone is reemployed under a dual compensation waiver, no further retirement benefits, such as a supplemental or redetermined annuity, are payable. The agency still needs to contact OPM regarding the reemployment since health benefits and life insurance need to be handled in the same manner as any reemployed annuitant.
Special Reemployment Provision of PL111-84 (PDF file) [62 KB] (The National Defense Authorization Act)

Public Law 111-84, approved on October 28, 2009, allows reemployment of CSRS and FERS annuitants on a limited basis with receipt of both annuity and salary. This provision applies to Executive agencies (excluding the Department of Defense and GAO), the Postal Service, and the Judicial and Legislative Branch agencies.

This authority may be used by agencies when they determine that it is necessary to-

  • Fulfill functions critical to the mission of the agency, or any component of that agency;
  • Assist in the Implementation of oversight of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or the Troubled Asset Relief Program under title I of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
  • Assist in the development, management, or oversight of agency procurement actions;
  • Assist the Inspector General for the agency in the performance of the mission of the Inspector General;
  • Promote appropriate training or mentoring programs of employees;
  • Assist in the recruitment or retention of employees; or
  • Respond to an emergency involving a direct threat to life or property or other unusual circumstances.

Individuals reemployed under this provision, serve under appointments limited to a year or less. An annuitant may not serve under this provision for more than 520 hours of service during the period ending 6 months following the individual’s annuity commencing date; for more than 1040 hours of service during any 12-month period; or for more than a total of 3120 hours. Individuals employed under these provisions are not entitled to any additional annuity benefits based upon that employment.
This provision expires on October 27, 2014.

Special Information for FERS Disability Annuitants Considering Federal Reemployment

  • If you are reemployed on a permanent basis in a position equivalent in grade and pay to the position from which you retired, OPM may find that you have recovered from your disability.
  • If you are reemployed subject to medical and physical qualification standards equivalent to those of the position from which you retired, OPM may find that you have recovered from your disability.
  • The pay of the position in which you are reemployed, prior to the offset of annuity, will be included as earnings in determining whether the disability annuity will stop due to restoration to earning capacity.
  • Receipt of, or continued entitlement to receive, full or partial injury compensation benefits from the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation during reemployment, when those benefits are based on the same injury or medical condition that is the basis for OPM’s award of disability retirement, is conclusive evidence (unless there is contravening medical evident) that you have not recovered from your disability.
  • If you are age 60 or over, your annuity cannot be stopped because of your earnings, and OPM can find that you are recovered only if you request to be found recovered.

Employment in the Private Sector

Effect on Your Basic Annuity:

If you retired under FERS

FERS Basic Benefit

Your employment outside the Federal service will not affect your basic CSRS or FERS annuity payments unless you’re receiving a disability annuity and are under age 60. If you’re a disability retiree under age 60, you will be subject to the 80% earnings limit. You reach the 80% earnings limit if, in any calendar year, your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay for the position from which you retired.

FERS Annuity Supplement

If you are receiving an annuity supplement, it will be reduced based on how much you earn over the Social Security annual earnings limit

  • Third Party Payees – If you are unable to handle your finances OPM will require a guardian or Representative Payee be appointed. OPM does NOT recognize Power of Attorney.

Third Party Payees

If a retiree is unable to handle their money, a court may appoint a guardian or the person responsible for their financial help may apply to become their “representative payee”.

If I Am Unable to Handle My Own Money

If you become mentally or physically unable to handle your own money, a family member or someone who is able to help you should contact OPM as soon as possible. When your family member or friends contact us, OPM will give them full instructions on what to do to take care of your retirement benefit for you. They will be asked for identifying information such as your claim number, name and Social Security Number, as well as the name and address of the person responsible for your care.

Power of Attorney

OPM does not recognize Power of Attorney filings. If you are responsible for the care or custody of a person who is either mentally or physically unable to handle his or her own money, you should contact OPM as soon as possible. OPM will give you full instructions on what to do to take care of the benefits. You should provide the claim number, name, and Social Security Number of the disabled person as well as the name and address of the responsible person.

If you are unable to handle your finances OPM will require a guardian or Representative Payee be appointed. OPM does NOT recognize Power of Attorney.

Third Party Payees

If a retiree is unable to handle their money, a court may appoint a guardian or the person responsible for their financial help may apply to become their “representative payee”.

If I Am Unable to Handle My Own Money

If you become mentally or physically unable to handle your own money, a family member or someone who is able to help you should contact OPM as soon as possible. When your family member or friends contact us, OPM will give them full instructions on what to do to take care of your retirement benefit for you. They will be asked for identifying information such as your claim number, name and Social Security Number, as well as the name and address of the person responsible for your care.

Power of Attorney

OPM does not recognize Power of Attorney filings. If you are responsible for the care or custody of a person who is either mentally or physically unable to handle his or her own money, you should contact OPM as soon as possible. OPM will give you full instructions on what to do to take care of the benefits. You should provide the claim number, name, and Social Security Number of the disabled person as well as the name and address of the responsible person.

You can choose any person to receive any life insurance and/or lump sum benefit payable upon your death by completing a Designation of Beneficiary form.

Designation of Beneficiaries

There are two types of designations of beneficiary that apply to retirees:

  • Designations for Life Insurance benefits under the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program, and
  • Designations for any lump sum benefit payable upon your death.

Designations for Lump Sum Benefit Payable Upon Your Death

You can choose any person to receive any lump sum benefit payable upon your death by completing a Designation of Beneficiary form. Lump sum death payments include:

  • Any amount by which your contributions to the retirement fund, plus any interest due, exceed the total amount of the annuity OPM paid you and all other eligible survivors (unexpended balance), or
  • Any annuity OPM owes you at the time of your death.

We pay an unexpended balance only after there is no longer a survivor entitled to a monthly payment.

If You Do Not Have Designation of Beneficiary on File

If you do not have a Designation of Beneficiary on file, OPM will pay the first person(s) listed below who is alive on the date the payment becomes due:

  • Your widow or widower,
  • Your child or children (descendants of a deceased child may qualify),
  • Your parents in equal shares or all to the surviving parent,
  • The administrator or executor of your estate, or
  • If none of the above, your next of kin as determined under the laws of the State in which you live.

If you are satisfied with the payment order shown above, there is no need for you to have a Designation of Beneficiary.

Keep Your Designation of Beneficiary up to Date

Remember that unless you change or cancel your designation, the person named-such as a former spouse-will receive the lump sum benefit.
You also need to keep your designated beneficiaries’ addresses current. Failure to do so may mean that your beneficiary cannot be located and therefore benefits will not be paid to that person. The preferred way is to file a new Designation of Beneficiary when a beneficiary’s address changes. A new address cannot be added directly to the Designation of Beneficiary form itself, since any cross outs, erasures, or alterations in your form may make it invalid.

Designation of Beneficiary Forms

For Life Insurance Benefits

Use SF 2823 (PDF file) [717.83 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/Federal Employees Group Life Insurance

For Lump Sum at Death

• If you retired under FERS:

o Use SF 3102 (PDF file) [472.2 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/FERS

• If you retired under CSRS:

o Use SF 2808 (PDF file) [243.47 KB], Designation of Beneficiary/CSRS

After you complete and return the designation form in duplicate to OPM, OPM will certify it and return the duplicate copy to you.

Moving to a new address – Notify OPM when your address changes so you continue to receive important information regarding your annuity.

You need to give us your new address. If your payments go to your financial institution or a Direct Express debit card, OPM still needs to have your current mailing address so OPM can send you important information about your benefits. If you are changing financial institutions, OPM also can take care of that when you contact us.

If You Are Enrolled in a Health Benefits Plan

If you are enrolled in a health benefits plan that serves a limited geographic area, you will need to ask us to help you change plans if you moved out of the service area. Contact the plan if you have questions about the service area.

If You Are Withholding State Tax

If you have state income tax withheld and you move to a different state, you need to tell us to stop the tax withholding. If you want to authorize state tax withholding for your new state, let us know.

Use Services Online to report the change in your mailing address when you move. If you changed banks because you moved, you should also use Services Online to give us your new account number and the routing number (found next to your account number on the bottom of your check) for your financial institution.