FERS death benefits


Q. I have read if there is no spouse, former spouse, or some other insurable interest named to receive a survivor annuity upon the death of a FERS annuitant, then a lump sum of the employee’s contributions to the FERS Retirement and Disability Fund will be paid (tax free) under the order of precedence (i.e. designated beneficiary; widow; child). What does this mean?  Does it mean any monies left in a FERS retiree’s account at the time of his or her death will be paid out to the people as listed in the order of precedence?

A. Yes. It means that when no one is entitled to a survivor benefit or other legal entitlement, any retirement contributions that haven’t been expended at the time of the employee’s or retiree’s death will be paid out according to the standard order of precedence found in law:

First, to the beneficiary or beneficiaries designated;

If none, to the widow or widower;

If none, to a child or children, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child;

If none, to the parents in equal shares or the entire amount to the surviving parent;

If none, to the executor or administrator if the estate;

If none, to the next of kin as determined under the laws of the state where the deceased lived.


About Author

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

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