Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) Divorce: Former Spouse Survivor Annity (FSSA) Qualification

In a Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) divorce, the former spouse’s share of the Employee’s annuity stops on the death of the Employee.  Award of a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity (FSSA) provides a continuing stream of income to the Former Spouse after death of the Employee.  But, certain benchmarks must be met before the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will honor an award of a FSSA annuity in a divorce decree.

OPM requires that the Employee must have achieved at least 10 years of creditable service before OPM will honor an award of a FSSA annuity in a divorce decree.  See Note 1.  In cases where the Employee is short of 10 years of creditable service at time of divorce, the Former Spouse may qualify for a Basic Employee Death Benefit, if that alternate benefit is ordered in the decree.  See Note 2.

In our next blog, we’ll take a closer look at the Basic Employee Death Benefit.  Stay tuned.  Speak with a qualified Federal Civil Service divorce attorney if you have questions related to a FERS or CSRS divorce.

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.
Note1:  See 5 CFR § 838.921(b)(2) (requiring 10 years of creditable service before a former spouse is entitled to a FSSA).
Note2:  See 5 CFR § 843.312 (permitting payment of a portion of the Basic Employee Death Benefit to a former spouse, if ordered).