The FEHB program allows a federal employee’s children to be covered up to age 26, regardless of whether the child is married or unmarried, dependent on you or independent of you. The rules are different when it comes to the payment of annuities to children of deceased employees or annuitants.

With two exceptions, annuity benefits only extend to age 18. First, they extend to age 22 if a child is a full-time student. Second, they extend indefinitely if the child is incapable of self support due to a disability that occurred before age 18.

The rules governing the amount of annuity payments to children are the same for CSRS and FERS employees and retirees. However, the annuity payments to a child of a deceased CSRS Offset or FERS employee or annuitant will be reduced by the amount of the Social Security benefit payable based on the employee/retiree’s Social Security-covered federal service.

The annuity payable is based on a formula contained in law and increased by annual cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs). For 2017, when a child has a living parent who was a current or former spouse of the deceased employee or retiree, the annuity benefit payable is generally the lesser of about $512 per month per child or $1,536 per month divided by the number of eligible children.

If the child has no living parent who was married to the deceased employee or retiree, the benefit payable is generally the lesser of about $615 per month per child or $1,845 per month divided by the number of eligible children.

Benefits may also be adjusted if a parent who was married to the employee or retiree dies before the benefit to the child or children ends. They may also be adjusted if they are being paid to more than three children and the annuity for one of them in terminated for any reason. In that case, the annuities of the remaining children are increased proportionately. Or, if a child is born to the employee/retiree after his or her death, individual rates may be decreased proportionately.

The survivor annuity to each qualified child begins the day after the employee or retiree’s death and ends on the last day of the month before the one in which the child dies, marries, reaches age 18 (22, for students as described above) or becomes capable of self-support, if benefits were continuing beyond an age cutoff due to disability.