Education Update: Tips for Federal Employees Managing Annuities Benefits to Children

March 28, 2018

If you’re a federal employee, you have financial benefits available to you that are different from other retirement plans. If you directed your annuity benefits to your children, you have specific distribution details to consider. Here are answers to questions about managing annuity benefits for children:

When do the benefits pay out?

Your annuity as a federal employee pays out once you retire, and you officially start receiving the money after one full calendar month from your first date of retirement.[i]

Your children start receiving Federal Employee Retirement Systems (FERS) annuity payments after the employed or retired annuity holder dies.[ii]

Until what age can children receive benefits?

Your child will not receive your annuity payouts for an indefinite amount of time. Typically, the child is only eligible until 18 years old with two exceptions:[iii]

  1. Full-time student: Children enrolled full time at school can receive benefits until they are 22 years old.
  2. Child with pre-existing disability: Children who have been living with a disability since before they were 18 years old and are unable to continue self-care for themselves can receive the payouts indefinitely.

Do the same distribution rules govern the annuity when payouts go to a child?

No. The payment amounts do change for children. They receive reduced payments that depend on the amount of the deceased annuitant’s payable Social Security benefits.[iv]

When do children start receiving benefits?

Your qualified children can receive payments starting the day after the annuitant’s death and up until they turn 18 years old, with the age exceptions mentioned above. If children who live with disabilities are over 18 years old but become able to provide their own care, then they will no longer receive the annuity payments.[v]

Many other benefits are available to you as a federal employee, so be sure you understand how these details may apply to you. Ultimately, your unique financial situation and distribution strategies will further guide who receives your annuity benefits and when.

To learn more about distribution strategies or any other annuity details, feel free to contact us at any time.