Who gets my survivor annuity?


Q. I’m a FERS retiree. If I die and don’t have anyone who would be entitled to a survivor annuity, what happens to the money that I had deducted from my pay while I was working?

A. Any money that had not already been returned to you in annuity payments would 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.
However, it’s important to point out that under current law, the money you receive in your annuity comes first from the contribution you made to the retirement fund. As a result, if you live longer that 18 to 24 months after you retire, there won’t be anything left to go to anyone listed above.


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.


  1. Richard Robinson on

    Then it should not be taxed at all until you withdraw all that you have paid in. It is normally taxed as if about 20% comes from what you paid in (Already taxed) and the remainder is taxed.

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