Coping with the loss of a loved one is a difficult process, and the associated administrative duties can be overwhelming. If the deceased was a federal employee or annuitant, it's essential to notify their Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) as this can affect the pension payments and possible survivor benefits.
Who Should Be Notified
The Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) should be notified. FERS is a retirement plan that provides benefits from three different sources: a Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security, and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). If your loved one was a federal employee or an annuitant, you would need to notify the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that manages these benefits.
When to Notify
As a best practice, you should notify the FERS as soon as possible after the death of your loved one. This helps to prevent any overpayments of benefits which would later need to be returned.
How to Notify
To report a death to the OPM, you should call their Retirement Office at 1-888-767-6738. Be prepared to provide the deceased's full name, date of birth, retirement claim number (CSA or CSF), and Social Security number. You will also need to provide a certified copy of the death certificate.
What to Expect After Notification
Once OPM is notified of the death, they will stop the annuity payment and calculate any final benefits. They will also provide information about potential survivor benefits or a lump sum payment that may be due to a named beneficiary or the estate.
Tips for Notification
It's advisable to keep a record of all interactions with the OPM, including dates and details of phone calls or emails. This can be helpful in case of discrepancies or issues in the future. Ensure that the designated beneficiary, if there is one, is involved in the process.
Notifying the Federal Employee Retirement System after the death of a federal employee or annuitant is an important step in finalizing their affairs. The process can be daunting, but with the right information and proactive steps, it can be handled efficiently during this challenging time.
Q: Can I notify the OPM of a death online?
A: At present, there is no online process to report a death to the OPM. You must call their Retirement Office.
Q: What happens if there's an overpayment?
A: If an overpayment happens because the death was not reported in time, OPM will request the money back. It's best to notify them as soon as possible to avoid this situation.
Q: What if there's no named beneficiary for the pension?
A: If there's no named beneficiary, any remaining benefits will be paid out according to the order of precedence established by law, starting with the surviving spouse, then children, and so on.