Survivor Benefits

Under CSRS and FERS, your survivors are eligible for benefits if you die while in service or during retirement.

Monthly survivor benefits may be payable to your spouse, and/or to your ex-spouse, if you elected these benefits or if a benefit was court-ordered. Benefits to children, which are automatically provided without need to elect them, are payable until age 18. A lump sum payment, covering benefits you earned from the first of the month through the date of your death, may also be payable.

For most federal employees, electing some level of survivor annuity makes sense, as the annuity is paid for the life of the survivor, with annual adjustments for inflation. It allows the retiree’s annuity to be restored if the beneficiary dies first. And though the survivor benefit reduces the retiree’s annuity, it also reduces his or her taxable income.

When planning for your survivors’ needs, some essential questions to ask include:

  • What are the particular benefits due to my survivors under my retirement system?
  • What role will any savings, investments or insurance play in helping meet my survivors’ needs?
  • Should I elect a survivor annuity — full or partial — for my spouse when I retire?
  • If I waive the spousal annuity, how will I replace his or her health benefits, which are waived at the same time?

We’re ready to help you determine the answers to these questions and develop a comprehensive financial plan to help you pursue your goals. To learn more, contact a trusted first Command Financial Advisor today.

This description is provided for informational purposes only. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of, or otherwise endorsed by the federal employee benefits programs referenced on this web site or by the U.S. Government or U.S. Armed Forces.


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