CSRS: Lump Sum Payment Upon Death of Employee or Annuitant
If you die leaving no survivors who qualify for a survivor annuity, your contributions to the Civil Service Retirement Fund, plus any applicable interest, will be paid as a lump-sum death benefit.
No interest is payable if you had paid into the retirement fund for less than 1 year or had more than 5 years of civilian service.
If you leave survivors who qualify for a survivor annuity, no lump-sum death benefit is payable immediately. A lump-sum payment may be made later if, when the survivors' annuities end, they have received in annuities an amount less than your contributions to the retirement fund, plus any applicable interest. Then the remainder of your contributions would be payable.
If a lump-sum death benefit is payable, it will be paid to the person or persons you named as beneficiary.
If you did not designate a beneficiary, the lump-sum death benefit would be payable in this order:
- to your widow or widower
- to your child or children in equal shares, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child
- to your parents (or parent)
- to the executor or administrator of your estate
- if none of the above, to 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 to receive the lump-sum death benefit unless you wish the benefit to be paid differently from the order set out above. A designation of beneficiary is for lump-sum death benefit purposes only and does not affect the right of any person who can qualify for a survivor annuity.
A designation of beneficiary must be in writing (on Standard Form 2808) and must be received in the Office of Personnel Management (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.
Source: RI 83-5