Q: My father was a federal employee for 30 years. He died Nov. 11, 2010. My mother predeceased him by eight years. I received notice in the mail that I was the beneficiary of his death benefit. There is the option of taking the lump sum. But when he put me down as a beneficiary I was his dependent because of multiple mental disabilities. I would like to apply for the annuity for a disabled child. I can trace the start of one my disabilities to when I was between 11 and 13. However, I have no documentation of it. But I am under the care of a psychologist and psychiatrist. My particular disability is known to start during adolescence. For the past two years my father couldn’t claim me as a dependent because I worked a part-time job. What do I need to do to get approved for annuity payments? Do you have any idea how much they would be? I am 47 and have been collecting SSDI since 1996.
A: There are only two ways that a child can receive a survivor benefit. First, if that child is an unmarried dependent who is younger than 18 or up to age 22 if a full-time student. Second, if that unmarried dependent child is incapable of supporting him- or herself because of a disability that began before age 18. Only OPM can make that determination. If they conclude that you alone qualify for a child’s survivor benefit, you would receive $469 a month.