Last week I wrote about the annuity benefits of children where one or both of the parents have died. In most cases, those benefits end at age 18. And although they can be extended to age 22 if the child is a student regularly pursuing a full-time course of study or training, there is only one situation in which they can be continued for the life of a child. That’s when a child is incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability incurred before age 18 and is unmarried.
In order to qualify your child for such a benefit, you have to provide OPM with information about the child’s education, employment (if any), and residence. In addition, your child’s doctor must provide information about the child’s medical condition. You’ll find an outline of the information needed in OPM Form RI 25-43, which is available in agency personnel offices or on-line at www.opm.gov, click on Find Form(s).
OPM will also accept a copy of the letter from the Social Security Administration awarding benefits to your child based on its findings that he or she is incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability incurred before age 18.
The amount of a child’s survivor benefit is the same under CSRS or FERS. It is a specific dollar amount established in law and increased by CSRS cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). If the child has a living parent who was married to the employee or retiree, the benefit payable in 2012 is $487 per month per child or a maximum of $1,460 divided by the number of children. If there is no living parent, the benefit is $584 per month per child or a maximum of $1,752 divided by the number of children. Note: For the children of FERS or CSRS Offset employees or retirees, the benefit is reduced by the amount paid to the child(ren) by the Social Security Administration..