The Civilian Benefits Center counsels the survivors of deceased Department of the Navy civilian employees regarding survivor benefits and assists with claim processing. If no survivors are eligible for a monthly annuity, any
contributions remaining in the retirement fund are paid to the beneficiary designated on a valid SF 3102, Designation of Beneficiary FERS or, if there is no valid SF 3102 on file, by order of precedence.
There are two types of FERS spousal survivor benefits: – a basic employee death benefit and a monthly survivor annuity. The employee and the spouse must meet the eligibility requirements before spousal benefits are payable.
The employee must have completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service and died while subject to FERS deductions. The spouse must meet one of the following requirements:
- The spouse and the employee were married for at least 9 months.
- A child was born of the marriage.
- The death of the employee was accidental.
For employee deaths that occur between December 1, 2011, and November 30, 2012, the FERS basic employee death benefit is equal to $30,792.98 plus 50 percent of the employee’s final or high-3 salary, whichever is greater.
The spouse may elect to receive the basic employee death benefit in a lump sum payment or 36 monthly installments, or he/she may roll it over into an Individual Retirement Arrangement.
If the employee completed at least 10 years of total creditable service subject to FERS deductions, the current spouse will be eligible to receive a monthly survivor annuity provided there is no court order awarding the total
survivor annuity to a former spouse. If a former spouse was awarded only a part of the total survivor annuity, the current spouse will receive the remainder.
The survivor annuity:
- Begins on the day after the employee’s death unless the entitlement to an annuity depends on the birth of a posthumous child, in which case the annuity begins on the day after the child is born.
- Ends on the last day of the month that precedes either the month in which the spouse dies or, if the spouse is younger than age 55, the month in which he or she remarries. If the remarriage occurs after January 1, 1995, and the
spouse was married for at least 30 years to the individual on whose service the survivor annuity is based, the survivor annuity will not be terminated.
- Is calculated based on the employee’s years of creditable service, high-3 average salary, and FERS annuity computation formula. The survivor annuity is calculated by multiplying 50 percent by the amount the employee would have
received in optional retirement (with no age reduction) as of the date of his or her death. Creditable service may include all creditable civilian service performed as a Federal employee, honorable active military service, and
unused sick leave.
A monthly annuity is payable to a child if the employee completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service and died while subject to FERS deductions. The child must be unmarried, dependent on the employee at the time of
death, and meet one of the following age criteria:
- Younger than age 18.
- Age 18 to 22 and a full-time student.
- Older than age 18 and incapable of self-support due to a disability incurred before age 18.
The provisions for a child’s monthly survivor annuity include the following:
- The survivor annuity is a specific dollar amount established by law and is reduced by any Social Security child’s benefits payable. For employee deaths that occur between December 1, 2011, and November 30, 2012, the survivor
annuity is payable as follows:
- Single Orphan Rate. When the child has a living parent who was married to the employee, the annuity is the lesser of $486.00 per month per child or $1,460.00 per month divided by the number of eligible children.
- Double Orphan Rate. When the child has no living parent who was married to the employee, the annuity is the lesser of $584.00 per month per child or $1,752.00 per month divided by the number of eligible children.
- The annuity begins on the day after the employee’s death, or in the case of a posthumous child, on the day following the child’s birth.
- If the child is younger than age 18, the annuity ends on the last day of the month preceding the month in which the child marries, dies, or becomes 18 years old.
- If the child is older than age 18 and attends school, the annuity ends on the last day of the month that precedes the month in which the child:
- Ceases to be a student.
- Transfers to a non-recognized school.
- Begins attending school less than full-time.
- Fails to submit proof, upon request, that he/she is attending school full-time.
- Enters military service or government service academy.
- Becomes 22 years old.