U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Feb 01, 2023

§ 843.301 - Purpose.

This subpart explains the survivor benefits payable under FERS to current and former spouses based on the death or retirees, employees, and separated employees.

§ 843.302 - Time for filing applications for death benefits.

A current or former spouse of a deceased retiree, employee, or separated employee may file an application for benefits under this subpart, personally or through a representative, at any time within 30 years after the death of the retiree, employee, or separated employee.

§ 843.303 - Marriage duration requirements.

(a) The current spouse of a retiree, an employee, or a separated employee can qualify for a current spouse annuity or the basic employee death benefit only if -

(1) The current spouse and the retiree, employee, or separated employee had been married for at least 9 months, as explained in paragraph (b) of this section; or

(2) A child was born of the marriage, as explained in paragraph (c) of this section; or

(3) The death of the retiree, employee, or separated employee was accidental as explained in paragraph (d) of this section.

(b) For satisfying the 9-month marriage requirement of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the aggregate time of all marriages between the spouse applying for a current spouse annuity and the retiree, employee, or separated employee is included.

(c) For satisfying the child-born-of-the-marriage requirement of paragraph (a)(2) of this section, any child, including a posthumous child, born to the spouse and the retiree, employee, or separated employee is included. This includes a child born out of wedlock if the parents later married or of a prior marriage between the same parties.

(d)(1) A death is accidental if it results from homicide or from bodily injuries incurred solely through violent, external, and accidental means. The term “accidental” does not include a death caused by or the result of intentional self-destruction or intentionally self-inflicted injury, while sane or insane.

(2) A State judicial or administrative adjudication of the cause of death for criminal or insurance purposes is conclusive evidence of whether a death is accidental.

(3) A death certificate showing the cause of death as accident or homicide is prima facie evidence that the death was accidental.

[52 FR 2074, Jan. 16, 1987, as amended at 52 FR 23014, June 17, 1987]

§ 843.304 - Commencing and terminating dates of survivor annuities.

(a) A current or former spouse annuity under this subpart commences on the day after the death of the person on whose service the annuity is based.

(b) A current or former spouse annuity under this subpart terminates on the last day of the month before the current or former spouse remarries before age 55 or dies.

(c) A current spouse annuity under this subpart terminated for reasons other than death may be restored under § 843.305.

(d) A survivor annuity accrues on a daily basis, one-thirtieth of the monthly rate constituting the daily rate. An annuity does not accrue for the 31st day of any month, except in the initial month if the survivor's (of a deceased employee) annuity commences on the 31st day. For accrual purposes, the last day of a 28-day month constitutes 3 days and the last day of a 29-day month constitutes 2 days.

§ 843.305 - Reinstatement.

(a) If a current spouse annuity is terminated because of a remarriage of the recipient, the annuity is reinstated on the day of the termination of the remarriage by death, annulment, or divorce if -

(1) The surviving spouse elects to receive this annuity instead of another survivor benefit to which he or she may be entitled (under FERS or another retirement system for Government employees) by reason of the remarriage; and

(2) Any lump sum paid on termination of the annuity is repaid (in a single payment or by withholding payment of the annuity until the amount of the lump sum has accrued).

(b) If present or future entitlement to a former spouse annuity terminates because of remarriage of the recipient or potential recipient, the entitlement is permanently extinguished. An annulment of the remarriage does not reinstate the entitlement.

§ 843.306 - Basic benefits on death of a non-disability retiree.

(a) Except as provided in §§ 843.307 and 843.312, and paragraph (b) of this section, if an annuitant dies and is survived by a current spouse, the current spouse is entitled to a current spouse annuity equal to 50 percent of an annuity computed under subpart D of part 842 of this chapter, with respect to the retiree, unless -

(1) The right to a current spouse annuity was waived under § 842.603 of this chapter (and no election was subsequently made under § 842.610 of this chapter nullifying the waiver); or

(2) In the case of a marriage after retirement, the retiree did not file an election under § 842.612 of this chapter.

(b) A current spouse who married the retiree after retirement is entitled to an annuity under paragraph (a) of this section only upon electing this annuity instead of any other survivor benefit to which such spouse may be entitled under this subpart, subpart B of this part, or under another retirement system for Government employees.

[52 FR 2074, Jan. 16, 1987, as amended at 52 FR 23014, June 17, 1987]

§ 843.307 - Basic benefits on death of a disability retiree.

(a) Except as provided in § 843.312, the widow or widower of a retiree who retired based on disability under part 844 of this chapter is entitled to a current spouse annuity based on the service of the disability annuitant computed under paragraph (b) of this section.

(b)(1) In the case of a current spouse entitled to an annuity based on the service of a disability annuitant who died after attaining age 62, the amount of the current spouse annuity is one-half of the amount of the annuity to which such disability annuitant was entitled as computed under part 844 of this chapter (including any appropriate reduction under § 844.302(b)(2) or (c)(2) of this chapter, and any adjustments under section 8462 of title 5, United States Code) as of the day before the date of the disability annuitant's death.

(2) In the case of a current spouse entitled to an annuity based on the service of a disability annuitant who dies before age 62, the amount of the current spouse annuity equals 50 percent of the amount to which the disability annuitant would have been entitled under § 844.303 of this chapter, if the disability annuitant had attained age 62 on the day before his or her death. However, in determining the amount under § 844.303(a) of this chapter, creditable service includes the period of time between the date of death and the date of the 62nd anniversary of the birth of the annuitant, but average pay is adjusted (under section 8462 of title 5, United States Code) only through date of death.

[52 FR 2074, Jan. 16, 1987, as amended at 52 FR 23014, June 17, 1987]

§ 843.308 - Supplementary benefits on death of a retiree.

(a) Except as provided in § 843.312 and paragraph (d) of this section, a current spouse of a deceased retiree who is entitled to a current spouse annuity based on the retiree's service is also entitled to a supplementary annuity.

(b) The amount of the supplementary annuity under this section equals the lesser of -

(1) The amount by which the survivor's assumed CSRS annuity exceeds the annuity payable to the current spouse under § 843.306 or § 843.307; or

(2) The amount equal to the widow's or widower's insurance benefits that would be payable to him or her under title II of the Social Security Act (without regard to section 202(f)(2) of the Act) based on the wages and self-employment income of the deceased annuitant, except that for purposes of this calculation -

(i) The social security earnings test (section 203 of the Act) does not apply; and

(ii) The benefit is computed -

(A) As of the date on which the retiree dies; and

(B) As if the survivor had attained age 60 and made application for those benefits under subsection (e) or (f) of section 202 of the Act; and

(iii) In computing the primary insurance amount -

(A) For years of service under FERS, only the retiree's basic pay is considered to be wages; and

(B) For each year after age 21 for which the retiree did not work under FERS, the retiree's wages are deemed to equal the National Average Wage Index (as determined by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) corresponding to that year, multiplied by the retiree's basic pay for his or her first full year of employment under FERS, divided by the National Average Wage Index corresponding to the retiree's first full year of employment under FERS.

(c)(1) The supplementary annuity terminates at the beginning of the month in which the survivor first satisfies the minimum age requirement under section 202(e)(1)(B)(i) or 202(f)(1)(B)(i) of the Social Security Act.

(2) The supplementary annuity is not payable to a survivor -

(i) Who would not be entitled to benefits under section 202 (e) or (f) of the Social Security Act based on the wages and self-employment income of the deceased annuitant (determined, as of the date of the annuitant's death, as if the survivor had attained age 60 and made appropriate application for benefits, but without regard to any restriction relating to remarriage); or

(ii) For any calendar month in which the survivor is entitled (or would, on proper application, be entitled) to benefits under section 202(g) of the Social Security Act (relating to mother's and father's insurance benefits), or under section 202 (e) or (f) of the Act by reason of having become disabled, based on the wages and self-employment income of the deceased annuitant.

(d) For purposes of this section -

(1) “Assumed CSRS annuity,” as used in the case of a survivor, means the amount of the annuity to which such survivor would be entitled under CSRS based on the service of the deceased annuitant, which is determined -

(i) As of the day after the date of the annuitant's death;

(ii) As if the survivor had made appropriate application therefor; and

(iii) As if the service of the deceased annuitant were creditable under CSRS.

(2) “Basic pay” means “basic pay” as defined in section 8401 of title 5, United States Code.

(e) An amount payable under this section will be adjusted under section 8462 of title 5, United States Code, and will be treated in the same way as an amount payable under § 843.306 or § 843.307.

[52 FR 2074, Jan. 16, 1987, as amended at 69 FR 69806, Dec. 1, 2004]

§ 843.309 - Basic employee death benefit.

(a) Except as provided in § 843.312, if an employee or Member dies after completing at least 18 months of civilian service creditable under subpart C of part 842 of this chapter and is survived by a current spouse who meets the requirements of § 843.303, the current spouse is entitled to the basic employee death benefit equal to the sum of -

(1) Fifty percent of the final annual rate of basic pay (or of the average pay, if higher) of the employee; and

(2) Fifteen thousand dollars as adjusted under section 8462 of title 5, United States Code.

(b) The current spouse may elect to receive the basic employee death benefit in one of the following forms -

(1) A one-time payment; or

(2) For deaths occurring on or after October 1, 2021, 36 equal monthly installments of 2.94259 percent of the amount of the basic employee death benefit.

(c)(1)(i) A current spouse who has elected to receive the basic employee death benefit in 36 installments under paragraph (b)(2) of this section may elect to receive the remaining portion of the basic employee death benefit in one payment.

(ii) The election to receive the remaining portion of the basic employee death benefit in one payment must be in writing and signed by the current spouse.

(iii) The election to receive the remaining portion of the basic employee death benefit in one payment is irrevocable when OPM authorizes the payment.

(2) Upon the death of a current spouse who was receiving the basic employee death benefit in 36 installments under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the remaining portion of the basic employee death benefit will be paid as one payment to the estate of the current spouse.

(3) As used in this section, “remaining portion of the basic employee death benefit” means the amount of the basic employee death benefit computed under paragraph (a) of this section that has not been paid. The amount is the remaining principal computed based on an amortization schedule with the initial principal equal to the amount computed under paragraph (a) of this section and the interest rate based on the applicable factor under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

[52 FR 2074, Jan. 16, 1987, as amended at 52 FR 23014, June 17, 1987; 52 FR 36389, Sept. 29, 1987; 56 FR 65419, Dec. 17, 1991; 69 FR 69806, Dec. 1, 2004; 76 FR 52540, Aug. 23, 2011; 76 FR 55213, Sept. 7, 2011; 79 FR 66279, Nov. 7, 2014; 84 FR 49636, Sept. 23, 2019; 85 FR 59379, Sept. 22, 2020; 86 FR 52952, Sept. 24, 2021]

§ 843.310 - Annuity based on death of an employee.

Except as provided in § 843.312, if an employee dies after completing at least 10 years of service, a current spouse is entitled to an annuity equal to 50 percent of the annuity computed under subpart D of part 842 of this chapter (without reduction for age), with respect to the employee. The annuity is in addition to the benefit described in § 843.309.

[52 FR 2074, Jan. 16, 1987, as amended at 52 FR 23014, June 17, 1987]

§ 843.311 - Annuity based on death of a separated employee.

(a) Except as provided in § 843.312, if a separated employee who has completed at least 10 years of service dies after having separated from the service with title to a deferred annuity under § 842.212 of this chapter, but before having established a valid claim for an annuity, and is survived by a current spouse to whom he or she was married on the date of separation, the current spouse may elect to receive -

(1) An annuity under paragraph (b) of this section; or

(2) The unexpended balance, if the current spouse is the individual who would be entitled to the unexpended balance.

(b) Except as provided in § 843.312 and paragraph (c) of this section, the current spouse annuity under this section equals 50 percent of an annuity computed under subpart D of part 842 of this chapter, for the separated employee. If the separated employee died before having attained the minimum retirement age, the computation is made as if the separated employee had attained the minimum retirement age.

(c)(1) The current spouse annuity commences on the day after the separated employee would have attained -

(i) Age 62 if the separated employee had less than 20 years of creditable service,

(ii) Age 60 if the employee had at least 20 years of creditable service but less than 30 years of creditable service; or

(iii) The minimum retirement age if the employee had at least 30 years of creditable service.

(2)(i) The current spouse may elect to receive an adjusted annuity beginning on the day after the death of the separated employee.

(ii) The rate of the adjusted annuity equals the annuity computed under paragraph (b) of this section multiplied by the factor in appendix A of this subpart for the age of the retiree as of the birthday before the retiree's death.

[52 FR 2074, Jan. 16, 1987, as amended at 52 FR 23014, June 17, 1987; 57 FR 54681, Nov. 20, 1992]

§ 843.312 - Payment to former spouses.

(a) Any benefit (or a portion of any benefit) payable to a current spouse under this subpart is payable to a former spouse instead if the former spouse is entitled to that benefit under the terms of a qualifying court order or an election under subpart F of part 842 of this chapter.

(b) A current spouse annuity may not exceed the difference between -

(1) The amount of the annuity that would otherwise be payable to the current spouse under this subpart; and

(2) The amount of the annuity payable to any former spouse of the deceased employee, retiree, or separated employee based on an election made under subpart F of part 842 of this chapter or a qualifying court order.

(c) The basic employee death benefit paid to a current spouse may not exceed the difference between -

(1) The amount that would otherwise be payable to the current spouse under § 843.310; and

(2) The portion of the basic employee death benefit payable to a former spouse based on a qualifying court order.

§ 843.313 - Elections between survivor annuities.

(a) A current spouse annuity cannot be reinstated under § 843.305 unless -

(1) The surviving spouse elects to receive the reinstated current spouse annuity instead of any other payments (except any accrued but unpaid annuity and any unpaid employee contributions) to which he or she may be entitled under FERS, or any other retirement system for Government employees, by reason of the remarriage; and

(2) Any lump sum paid on termination of the annuity is returned to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.

(b) A current spouse is entitled to a current spouse annuity based on an election under § 842.612 only upon electing this current spouse annuity instead of any other payments (except any accrued but unpaid annuity and any unpaid employee contributions) to which he or she may be entitled under FERS, or any other retirement system for Government employees.

(c) A former spouse who marries a retiree is entitled to a former spouse annuity based on an election by that retiree under § 842.611, or a qualifying court order terminating that marriage to that retiree only upon electing this former spouse annuity instead of any other payments (except any accrued but unpaid annuity and any unpaid employee contributions) to which he or she may be entitled under FERS, or any other retirement system for Government employees.

(d) As used in this section, “any other retirement system for Government employees” does not include Survivor Benefit Payments from a military retirement system or social security benefits.

[57 FR 54681, Nov. 20, 1992]

§ 843.314 - Amount of survivor annuity where service includes credit for service with a nonappropriated fund instrumentality.

(a) The survivor annuity based on service that includes service with a nonappropriated fund instrumentality made creditable by an election under 5 CFR part 847, subpart D, is computed under 5 CFR part 847, subpart F.

(b) The survivor annuity based on service that includes service with a nonappropriated fund instrumentality made creditable by an election under 5 CFR part 847, subpart H, is computed under 5 CFR part 847, subpart I.

[68 FR 2178, Jan. 16, 2003]

Appendix Appendix A - Appendix A to Subpart C of Part 843 - Present Value Conversion Factors for Earlier Commencing Date of Annuities of Current and Former Spouses of Deceased Separated Employees

With at least 10 but less than 20 years of creditable service -

Age of separated employee at birthday before death Multiplier
26.1096
27.1162
28.1232
29.1305
30.1382
31.1464
32.1550
33.1643
34.1742
35.1845
36.1958
37.2074
38.2198
39.2327
40.2459
41.2609
42.2770
43.2936
44.3119
45.3308
46.3518
47.3735
48.3969
49.4220
50.4490
51.4781
52.5094
53.5430
54.5792
55.6178
56.6601
57.7059
58.7555
59.8092
60.8674
61.9308

With at least 20, but less than 30 years of creditable service -

Age of separated employee at birthday before death Multiplier
36.2254
37.2389
38.2532
39.2682
40.2836
41.3010
42.3195
43.3388
44.3599
45.3818
46.4059
47.4311
48.4581
49.4871
50.5182
51.5518
52.5878
53.6265
54.6682
55.7128
56.7615
57.8142
58.8712
59.9329

With at least 30 years of creditable service -

Age of separated
employee at birthday before death
Multiplier by separated employee's year of birth
After 1966 From 1950 through 1966
46.4988.5332
47.5298.5664
48.5631.6019
49.5987.6401
50.6370.6810
51.6781.7249
52.7224.7722
53.7698.8229
54.8209.8775
55.8759.9363
56.93551.0000
[86 FR 52952, Sept. 24, 2021]