If you die leaving no survivors who qualify for a survivor annuity, your contributions to the retirement fund, plus any applicable interest, will be paid as a lump-sum death benefit.
If you leave survivors who qualify for a survivor annuity, no lump-sum death benefit is payable immediately. However, a lump-sum payment may be paid later if the survivor annuities end and what they have received is less than the amount you contributed to the fund.
Lump-Sum Payment Order of Precedence
If a lump-sum death benefit is payable, it will be paid to the person or persons you named as beneficiary(ies). If you did not designate a beneficiary, the lump-sum death benefit would be payable according to the standard order of precedence.
- Your widow(er);
- Your child or children in equal shares, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child, if any;
- Your parent(s);
- The executor of your estate;
- Your next of kin who may be entitled under the laws of the state in which you live at the time of your death.
You do not have to designate a beneficiary unless you want the benefit to be paid in a different order from the one shown above. However, any designation of beneficiary you do make will be for the purpose of lump sum death benefits only and will not affect the right of any person who is qualified for a survivor annuity.
Any designation of beneficiary must be in writing on a Standard Form 2808 (CSRS/CSRS Offset) or SF 3102 (FERS) and must be received by OPM before your death. If you designate a beneficiary, remember to review your designation periodically. If your marital or family status changes, you may want to reconsider the designation you have on file.