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Federal Employees News Digest : Aug 12, 2013
T his fourth of six columns presenting survivor annuity benefits discusses the spousal survivor annuity for employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and who die while in ser- vice. A CSRS employee who dies in service must have at least 18 months of service to automatically give a spousal survivor annuity. If the employee's death was job-related, there may also be workers' compensation benefits paid to the surviving spouse. Death in service occurs when: (1) a CSRS/CSRS Offset applicant for disability retirement dies before final separation by the employing agency; or (2) a CSRS/CSRS Offset applicant for immediate retirement dies before the commencing date of the CSRS annuity even though separation from service has occurred. For a survivor annuity to be automatically paid, the following requirements must be met: • The surviving spouse and the employee must have been mar- ried for at least nine months while the deceased employee was in federal service, or • A child was born of the marriage, including : (1) a child born posthumously to the deceased employee and spouse; (2) a child born to the deceased employee and spouse before they were married; or (3) a child of a prior marriage between the deceased employee and spouse. Also, there can be no court order awarding a full survivor annu- ity to a former spouse. If a former spouse was awarded a portion of a survivor annuity, then the surviving current spouse could receive the remaining portion of the survivor annuity. But if a court order awards a full survivor annuity to a former spouse, then the surviv- ing current spouse will receive no survivor annuity benefits. In the event the former spouse loses entitlement to the survivor annuity due to death or remarriage before age 55, then the surviving cur- rent spouse could receive the full survivor annuity. The maximum spousal survivor annuity is equal to 55 percent of the higher of (1) computed CSRS annuity based on the deceased employee's high-3 average salary and length of service to date of death, including credit for unused sick leave; or (2) a “guaranteed minimum” which is the lesser of: (a) 40 percent of the deceased employee’s high-3 average salary; or (b) the computed CSRS annuity obtained after increasing the deceased employee's length of service by the period of time between the date of death and the date the deceased employee would have been age 60. survivor annuity benefits for the spouse of a deceased CsRs offset employee Survivor benefits to the spouse of a deceased CSRS Offset employee are the same as the benefits payable upon the death of an employee with full CSRS coverage until the sur- vivor becomes eligible for Social Security benefits. A surviving spouse who is not entitled to Social Security survivor benefits continues to receive full CSRS survivor benefits. If Social Security benefits are payable: 1. The surviving spouse receives full CSRS sur- vivor benefits until he or she becomes entitled to Social Security survivor benefits. This normally occurs at age 60 unless the spouse is disabled or has a minor child in care. 2. When the spouse becomes entitled to Social Security survivor benefits, the CSRS survivor annu- ity is reduced (offset) by the amount of the sur- vivor's Social Security benefit attributable to the period the deceased was under CSRS Offset. Effect of nondeduction and refunded service If the deceased employee performed nondeduction (tempo- rary time) service before Oct. 1, 1982, then: (1) the nondeduc- tion service is fully creditable for CSRS annuity computation purposes whether or not a deposit is made; and (2) if a deposit is not made, then the CSRS annuity earned by the employee, which includes the nondeduction service, will be reduced by 10 percent of the deposit due including interest charges. If the nondeduction service was performed after Sept. 30, 1982, then a deposit must be made for the temporary service time to be used in the CSRS annuity computation. No credit is given in the computation of the survivor benefit for refunded service unless the surviving spouse redeposits the refunded contributions plus any interest due. CSRS survivor benefits for military service of a deceased CSRS employee employed under CSRS If the deceased employee was first employed under CSRS before Oct. 1, 1982, then the decision to make a deposit for post-1956 military service will depend on the surviving spouse's eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits. If a surviving spouse is not eligible for Social Security benefits, then a military deposit need not be made. Survivors who do not know whether they are eligible for Social Security benefits should contact their local Social Security office for further information. If the deceased employee was first employed under CSRS after Sept. 30, 1982, then a surviving spouse must make a deposit for the deceased employee's post-1956 military service to have the military service time credited in the computation of the survivor annuity benefit. This deposit requirement applies whether or not the surviving spouse is eligible for a Social Security survivor benefit on the date of the employee's death or at any later date. Edward A. Zurndorfer is a Certified Financial Planner and Enrolled Agent in Silver Spring, MD. He is also a registered representative with FSC Securities Corporation, branch address: 833 Bromley St. - Suite A, Silver Spring, MD 20902. Phone: (301) 681-1652. Securities offered through FSC Securities Corporation,member FINRA/SIPC. EZ Accounting and Financial Services and FSC are independent companies. Informed Investor Deciding on Survivor Annuity Benefits Part IV: Death in Service (CSRS) August 12, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 4 7 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com
Aug 5, 2013
Aug 19, 2013