How is a child’s FERS survivor annuity calculated?
My two children and I survived my wife, who paid into FERS for 12 years. The children do not receive a FERS annuity now because they receive social security benefits. However, they will be eligible for FERS when their social security benefits expire on their 18th birthday until they turn 22, as long as they are in college. How is the annuity calculated?
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I am sorry for your loss. Any monthly FERS survivor benefit payable to any child of the deceased employee or retiree is reduced (offset) by the total amount of any Social Security survivor benefit payable to all children based on the Social Security earnings of the deceased employee or retiree. In many cases, the FERS benefit is reduced to $0.
There is no offset or reduction in any month for which the child is not entitled to insurance benefits from Social Security. For example, if Social Security benefits end because the child attained age 19, FERS survivor benefits are payable until age 22 if the child is still in school. To qualify for a survivor annuity, the child (including a legally adopted child) of a deceased employee or retiree:
1. Must have been dependent on the employee or retiree at the time of death;
2. Must be unmarried; and
3. Must be: Under age 18; or age 18 to 22 and a full-time student; or over age 18 and incapable of self-support due to a disability incurred before age 18.
The children’s survivor benefit is a specific dollar amount that is established by the formula in U.S.C. 8341(e)(2) and increased by CSRS COLA’s. This benefit is payable in addition to any survivor annuity payable to a spouse. Each child’s rate is determined individually based on circumstances described for the year 2019. A) When the child has a living parent who was married to the employee or retiree (either at death or at any time prior to date of death), the benefit payable to that child is usually the lesser of $537 per month per child; or $1611 per month divided by the number of eligible children. B) When the child has no living parent who was married to the employee or retiree the benefit payable to that child is usually the lesser of $644 per month per child; or $1932 per month divided by the number of eligible children. More details can be found at the following link?
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