Beneficiary on federal employee plan


Q.  My mother died in the first week of June 2010 as a retired nurse for the VA.  I am named as a beneficiary on her plan.  When I called about the lump-sum payment I was told that it would only contain funds that my mother did not receive during the month that she died.  What happens to the rest of the money that she had in the account that she would be drawing on if she had not died?  Why do I only get that one month’s check?

A.  Since you are neither a spouse nor, I suspect, a child under age 18 and unmarried, one between 18 and 22, unmarried and a full-time student, or one who was disabled before age 18, unmarried and incapable of self support, the only retirement payment you would be entitled to is the amount of your mother’s annuity accrued to the date of her death. However, you may be entitled to the proceeds of her Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance or her Thrift Savings Plan, if she had them.

To check on the former, call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 888-767-6738. To check on the latter, write TSP Death Benefits Processing Unit, Fairfax Post Office, DEDIS, P.O. Box 4450, Fairfax, VA 22038-9998. In both cases, you’ll need to provide your mother’s full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and civil service retiree ID number.



About Author

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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