Identifying the Places to File and the Forms to Use!
A close family friend who was a federal retiree (under the Civil Service Retirement System) passed away recently, and it was an honor to help the family manage the correspondence needed to file for survivor benefits and life insurance.
Many federal retiree organizations, and the credit unions that serve the federal population, have checklists to work through in reporting the retiree’s death, claiming survivor benefits, veteran’s benefits as appropriate, survivor annuities, life insurance, etc. Federal organizations regularly change their forms, and the preferred means to make contact, so we’d like to offer some guidance, up-to-date as of today.
Office of Personnel Management’s Retirement Operations has an overall brochure with useful information. Specific OPM notifications include:
- report the death either by phone 1-888-767-6738 or online
- claim the survivor annuity if the retiree opted for that with Form SF 2800under CSRS or Form SF 3104 under FERS. Both forms detail the documentation that must be sent with the application, including death certificate and proof of marriage.
- The application for death benefits (Form 2800) will also cover a lump sum payment of any unpaid CSRS retirement contributions not yet paid to the federal retiree.
- if the surviving spouse is also a federal retiree, and took a reduced annuity to provide spouse with survivor’s benefits, after the death has been reported, OPM will send a Form SF 2802 to complete to request that the reduced annuity be restored to a full annuity.
Office of FEGLI:
make a claim for life insurance proceeds with Form FE6. OFEGLI will offer the choice of a lump sum payment by check or a Total Control Account, effectively a debit card available in the full amount of the insurance proceeds.
Social Security: many funeral homes will report the death for the family, but if they do not, it can be done by phone at 1-800-772-1213. Social Security will make an appointment to take the application for survivors benefits by phone, and offers information online on what documents to have ready. You may also qualify for a lump sum death benefit of $255.
Health Insurance: Federal retirees have the option to take their health insurance into retirement, and if the retiree had a family or spouse plus one plan, the surviving spouse can opt to convert to a self-only plan using Form SF 2810. There are a variety of health insurance plans available, including Blue Cross, Mail Handlers, Foreign Service and Compass Rose.
Veterans Benefits: go to the VA website for details of a burial benefit and American flag.