Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) Divorce: Basic Employee Death Benefit

In our previous blog about Federal Civil Service Divorce, we discussed that the Employee must have at least 10 years of creditable service before a Former Spouse qualifies in divorce for award of a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity (FSSA).  To read that blog, click here.

When a Former Spouse does not qualify for a FSSA, the spouse may still receive the Basic Employee Death Benefit, if court ordered.  See Note 1.  A court order that awards the Basic Employee Death Benefit entitles the Former Spouse to the following (See Note 2):

  1. 50% of the Employees final annual basic pay; and,
  2. A lump sum of $15K (as adjusted for inflation according to the rules described in 5 U.S.C. Section 8462).

The Former Spouse receiving the Basic Employee Death Benefit may choose to receive the funds in a single lump sum, or, 36 monthly payments (if the Employee died on or after October 1, 2014).

The key point is that, when a Former Spouse will not qualify for a FSSA, his or her divorce attorney should ensure divorce decree includes an award of the Basic Employee Death Benefit.  To learn more about the FSSA, Basic Employee Death Benefit, and other issues in Federal Civil Service Divorce, speak with a qualified Federal Civil Service divorce attorney.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC.  Attorney Cramp has supervised and worked with hundreds of Federal civil servants during his nearly 30-year military career.  He and the firm specialize in Federal Civil Service and Military Divorce, along with providing a wide range of family law, probate and Wills and Estates services to persons and families in the greater San Antonio Region.

Note 1:  5 CFR Section 843.312 (permitting a court to award the Basic Employee Death Benefit to a Former Spouse).

Note 2:  5 CFR Section 843.309 (describing the Basic Employee Death Benefit)