Are child survivor benefits retroactive?


Q. My father was a federal employee for 30 years, and he passed away in November 2010. He listed me as his death benefit beneficiary with the intent to grant me an annuity. I applied as his disabled dependent child survivor. I filed my paperwork in January. I heard nothing for months. I finally contacted them by phone in June and asked for them to send me forms for doctors to fill out for my claim. Are child survivor annuities retroactive? I heard that they begin on the day the retiree passes away. If this much time has gone by,  can I collect all past monthly annuities due to me?

A. If you were approved for a survivor benefit because you were disabled before age 18, are unmarried, and were dependent on your father for support, that benefit would be retroactive. As a result you would receive an initial payment that would cover all the months that had elapsed since his death.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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