587 Death Benefits — Death in Service


Reference Note:

For additional material concerning the subject matter found in 587, refer to:

587.1 Basic Employee Death Benefit

587.11 General

A basic employee death benefit is payable to the current spouse if the following conditions are met:

  1. The employee dies after completing 18 months of creditable civilian service; and
  2. The marriage has lasted at least 9 months; or
  3. A child was born of the marriage; or
  4. The death was accidental.
587.12 Amount

The basic employee death benefit consists of

  1. 50 percent of the final annual rate of basic pay, and
  2. $21,335.30 in 1998 and as adjusted under title 5, United States Code, 8462.
587.13 Payment

A spouse may elect to receive the basic employee death benefit as either

  1. A one-time payment, or
  2. Thirty–six equal monthly installments.

587.2 Survivor Benefit — Spousal

587.21 General

When an employee dies after completing at least 10 years of creditable service, the spouse is entitled to an annuity equal to 50 percent of the annuity the employee had earned through the day of death. This is in addition to the basic employee death benefit. (see 587.1)

587.22 Beginning and Ending Date
587.221 Beginning

An annuity begins on the day after the death of the employee on whose service the annuity is based.

587.222 Ending

An annuity ends on the last day of the month before the spouse remarries before age 55 or dies.

587.223 Reinstatement

If a current spouse annuity is terminated because of a remarriage, the annuity can be reinstated on the day of the termination of the remarriage. A former spouse annuity may never be reinstated.

587.3 Refund of Contributions

587.31 Eligibility

If there is no survivor entitled to monthly survivor annuity benefits, the employee’s contribution to the retirement fund are paid in accordance with the normal order of precedence.

587.32 Normal Order of Precedence
  1. First, to the beneficiary or beneficiaries designated by the employee on SF 3102, Designation of Beneficiary;
  2. Second, to the widow or widower;
  3. Third, to the child or children of the employee;
  4. Fourth, to the parents of the employee or the surviving parent;
  5. Fifth, to the duly appointed executor or administrator of the estate;
  6. Sixth, to such other next of kin of the employee as OPM determines to be entitled under the laws of the domicile of the employee at the date of death.

587.4 Former Spouse(s)

Any benefit (or a portion of any benefit) payable to a current spouse is payable to a former spouse instead if the former spouse is entitled to the benefit under the terms of a qualifying court order.

587.5 Child Annuities

587.51 Eligibility

A surviving child of an employee who dies after completing 18 months of creditable civilian service is entitled to an annuity.

587.52 Rates of Annuities

The amount of the annuity payable is the difference between the amount that would be paid by CSRS (see 567.143) and the amount actually paid by Social Security. In cases where the Social Security amount exceeds the amount otherwise payable under CSRS regulations, no payments are made from the retirement fund.

587.53 Beginning and Ending Dates
587.531 Beginning Date

The annuity begins on the day after the employee dies.

587.532 Ending Date

An annuity ends on the last day of the month before the child:

  1. Becomes 18 years old unless she or he is a full–time student or incapable of self–support;
  2. Becomes capable of self–support after becoming 18 years old unless a full–time student;
  3. Becomes 22 years of age if he or she is a full–time student and capable of self–support;
  4. Ceases to be a full–time student after becoming 18 years of age;
  5. Marries or dies.
587.54 Disabilities

A child is eligible for a continued annuity if the Social Security Administration finds that the child is incapable of self–support.

587.6 Procedures Upon Death of an Employee

587.61 Contacting Next of Kin

When an employee dies, the HRSSC does the following:

  1. Contacts the next of kin and advises such person of benefits payable and of the right to apply for them; and
  2. Provides assistance in completing SF 3104, Application for Death Benefits.

The HRSSC Bereavement Team should refer the family to the Social Security Administration and provide assistance concerning the Thrift Savings Plan.

587.62 Filing Death Claim Applications

The person filing for survivor benefits of a deceased employee sends SF 3104 to the Eagan ASC through the HRSSC or sends it directly to the following address:

PO BOX 200
BOYERS, PA 16020-0200

587.63 Flag Recognition Benefits for Fallen Federal Civilian Employee

The Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-73) authorizes an agency to furnish a United States flag on behalf of employees who die of injuries incurred in connection with their employment under specified circumstances. An authorized Postal Service official may provide, upon request of the beneficiary, a flag on behalf of an individual who meets the following requirements:

  1. Was an employee of the Postal Service; and
  2. Died on or after December 20, 2011, due to injuries the individual received because of his or her employment with the Postal Service. These injuries must be a result of one of the following circumstances:
    1. A criminal act;
    2. An act of terrorism;
    3. A natural disaster; or
    4. Other circumstances as determined by the President.