top of page

Survivor Benefits from Government/Agency: Understanding Death Benefits for Your Loved Ones

Ameer C. Federal Benefits Consultant | Helping Federal Employees Maximize Retirement Benefits | Providing Strategic Financial Solutions for a Secure Retirement

 

employee benefits
Government/Agency Understanding Death Benefits for Your Loved Ones

Employee Death Benefit (BEDB) in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)


The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) extends a lump-sum benefit to an eligible spouse (current and/or former, in full or a ratio if awarded in divorce) upon the demise of an employee who had completed a minimum of 18 months of creditable service and was married for at least 9 months. In cases of accidental death or if there was a child born of the marriage to the employee, the 9-month requirement is waived.


The basic death benefit is equal to 50 percent of the employee's final salary (or average salary, if higher) plus a lump sum of about $41,500, inflation-indexed annually. subject to annual indexing for inflation. The Essential Employee Death Benefit (BEDB) is calculated as 50% of the employee's final salary (or average salary if higher), Notably, the $15,000 component has seen an increase to $32,423.56 for deaths occurring after December 1, 2016. The surviving spouse has the option to receive this amount as a lump sum or in 36 equal monthly installments.

The surviving spouse is entitled to:

  • One-half of the deceased's annual pay or High-3, whichever is higher.

  • A check for the deceased's accrued unused annual leave.

  • The deceased's final paycheck.


For an employee with a minimum of 10 years of creditable service under FERS, OPM will provide a monthly annuity to an eligible surviving spouse (who must be married for at least 9 months) upon the employee's death. This annuity is calculated as 50% of the deceased employee's accrued annuity. The surviving spouse will receive annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).

It's crucial to note that FERS employee death benefits are complex, and for a comprehensive understanding of these benefits, you can visit OPM's Employee Death Benefit - FERS for detailed information and resources.


Surviving Spouse Benefits in the Event of a FERS Employee's Demise

In the unfortunate event of a FERS employee's passing, the surviving spouse becomes eligible for recurring monthly payments provided the deceased employee fulfilled a minimum of 10 years of creditable service, with 18 months dedicated to civilian service.

To qualify for the monthly benefit, the surviving spouse must meet the following criteria:

The marriage to the employee must have lasted for at least nine months.

In cases where the death occurred before the nine-month threshold, a survivor annuity may still be payable under the following circumstances:

  • The employee's death was accidental.

  • There was a child born of the marriage.


Former Spouse

In the aftermath of a deceased employee's passing, regular monthly payments can be allocated to the former spouse based on a court order. Similar to the surviving spouse, the former spouse is also subject to the nine-month marriage requirement. For more detailed insights into court-ordered benefits for former spouses, it is recommended to consult the pamphlet titled 'Court-Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses


Lump Sum Benefits in the Absence of Survivor Annuity

In cases where no survivor annuity is eligible upon the death of the employee or former employee, a lump sum may be disbursed, encompassing the outstanding balance of retirement contributions made by the individual. The allocation of this lump sum follows the established order of precedence.


 

Ameer Cox

Federal Benefits Consultant | Helping Federal Employees Maximize Retirement Benefits | Providing Strategic Financial Solutions for a Secure Retirement

Phone - (681)220-4494 


Comments


bottom of page