Money for disabled son once parents die


Q. I retired under CSRS nine years ago and took the survivor annuity.

Each year, my Notice of Annuity statement identifies the monthly survivor annuity amount payable to my wife upon my death. My wife and I are both in good health.

My only child is 34, has been identified by Social Security Administration as disabled (cerebral palsy) and receives SSDI and Medicare (based on his work history before he became completely disabled). He receives about $1,000 per month.

CSRS Brochure Retirement Facts 5 (October 1997) states that each child with no surviving parent receives $404 per month with COLA until he marries or dies.

The Social Security Administration knows my son receives hospital benefits under Medicare Part A.

OPM knows my son has a permanent disability since he receives other health benefits under my health benefit plan (GEHA).

What is my son entitled to receive when my wife and I die?

1. Does he continue to receive SSDI and Medicare?

2. Does he begin to receive a survivor annuity payment (how much?) and health benefits plan choice? I checked “disabled dependent son” on my retirement application nine years ago.

Since then, I have not been contacted by OPM, nor have I contacted OPM, about a survivor annuity for my son.

I pay the majority of my son’s living expenses/care.

Is there anything I need to do to insure my son receives his entitled benefits?

A. Your child would be eligible for a survivor benefit only if he were disabled before age 18 and is unmarried and dependent on you. If that’s the case, and you were to die, he would be entitled to the single parent survivor annuity rate. If both of you were to die, he’d receive the no surviving parent rate. Having checked the right box on your retirement application, you don’t need to do anything more than have someone notify OPM if you die.


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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