In most cases, the survivor benefits for children end at age 18. 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 circumstance in which they can be continued for the life of a child. That’s when an unmarried child is incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability incurred before the age of 18.
In order for a child to be approved for an “incapable of self-support” benefit, OPM will need information about the child’s education, employment (if any), and residence. In addition, the child’s doctor must provide information about the child’s medical condition. The information needed is listed in OPM Form RI 25-43, available at www.opm.gov/forms.
OPM will also accept a copy of a letter from the Social Security Administration awarding benefits to the child if it finds that he or she is incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability incurred before age 18.
A disabled child’s survivor benefit is the same as a non-disabled child’s benefit, as described in my column last week.
However, the benefit for the children of deceased FERS or CSRS Offset employees or retirees is reduced by the amount paid to the child or children by the Social Security Administration.