Retirement money beneficiary

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Q. I’m planning to retire from the U.S. Postal Service in October. I have no spouse who would be eligible for a survivor annuity. However, I do have a daughter. I would like for her to get my retirement pay. I worked hard for it and I don’t want it going back to the post office as unclaimed income.

A. While you cannot name your daughter to receive a survivor annuity, you could elect to provide her with what is known as an insurable interest annuity, but only if you are in good health when you retire. If you make that election, your annuity would be reduced by a percentage that would depend on the difference in your age and her age. Alternatively, you could name her as your beneficiary. Then, if you died before all the money you contributed to the retirement fund had been returned to you in monthly annuity payments, she would receive the balance in a lump sum. Just be aware that, on average, you’ll receive all the contributions you made within 18 months.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

1 Comment

  1. Reg, I found this “But many federal employees are surprised that for tax purposes,their contributions are stretched out over their life expectancy.

    Years ago – your contributions would come back to you first. So many federal retirees would have about two years of tax-free income from their CSRS or FERS pension. But now the government considers your contributions to be stretched (amortized) over your life expectancy.”

    So, based on this, and with contributions into CSRS well over $100,000. I am guessing that the 18 months is too soon to use up all the contributions? Therefore, it is very important to have a form 2808 on file with OPM to designate how the unused contributions are given back to beneficiaries?

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