U.S Code last checked for updates: Oct 19, 2019
§ 8341.
Survivor annuities
(a)
For the purpose of this section—
(1)
“widow” means the surviving wife of an employee or Member who—
(A)
was married to him for at least 9 months immediately before his death; or
(B)
is the mother of issue by that marriage;
(2)
“widower” means the surviving husband of an employee or Member who—
(A)
was married to her for at least 9 months immediately before her death; or
(B)
is the father of issue by that marriage;
(3)
“dependent”, in the case of any child, means that the employee or Member involved was, at the time of the employee or Member’s death, either living with or contributing to the support of such child, as determined in accordance with such regulations as the Office of Personnel Management shall prescribe; and
(4)
“child” means—
(A)
an unmarried dependent child under 18 years of age, including (i) an adopted child, and (ii) a stepchild but only if the stepchild lived with the employee or Member in a regular parent-child relationship, and (iii) a recognized natural child, and (iv) a child who lived with and for whom a petition of adoption was filed by an employee or Member, and who is adopted by the surviving spouse of the employee or Member after his death;
(B)
such unmarried dependent child regardless of age who is incapable of self-support because of mental or physical disability incurred before age 18; or
(C)
such unmarried dependent child between 18 and 22 years of age who is a student regularly pursuing a full-time course of study or training in residence in a high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, junior college, college, university, or comparable recognized educational institution.
For the purpose of this paragraph and subsection (e) of this section, a child whose 22nd birthday occurs before July 1 or after August 31 of a calendar year, and while he is regularly pursuing such a course of study or training, is deemed to have become 22 years of age on the first day of July after that birthday. A child who is a student is deemed not to have ceased to be a student during an interim between school years if the interim is not more than 5 months and if he shows to the satisfaction of the Office of Personnel Management that he has a bona fide intention of continuing to pursue a course of study or training in the same or different school during the school semester (or other period into which the school year is divided) immediately after the interim.
(b)
(1)
Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, if an employee or Member dies after having retired under this subchapter and is survived by a widow or widower, the widow or widower is entitled to an annuity equal to 55 percent (or 50 percent if retired before October 11, 1962) of an annuity computed under section 8339(a)–(i), (n), (p), (q), (r), and (s) as may apply with respect to the annuitant, or of such portion thereof as may have been designated for this purpose under section 8339(j)(1) of this title, unless the right to a survivor annuity was waived under such section 8339(j)(1) or, in the case of remarriage, the employee or Member did not file an election under section 8339(j)(5)(C) or section 8339(k)(2) of this title, as the case may be.
(2)
If an annuitant—
(A)
who retired before April 1, 1948; or
(B)
who elected a reduced annuity provided in paragraph (2) of section 8339(k) of this title;
dies and is survived by a widow or widower, the widow or widower is entitled to an annuity in an amount which would have been paid had the annuitant been married to the widow or widower at the time of retirement.
(3)
A spouse acquired after retirement is entitled to a survivor annuity under this subsection only upon electing this annuity instead of any other survivor benefit to which he may be entitled under this subchapter or another retirement system for Government employees. The annuity of the widow or widower under this subsection commences on the day after the annuitant dies. This annuity and the right thereto terminate on the last day of the month before the widow or widower—
(A)
dies; or
(B)
except as provided in subsection (k), remarries before becoming 55 years of age.
(4)
Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this subsection, the annuity payable under this subsection to the widow or widower of a retired employee or Member may not exceed the difference between—
(A)
the amount which would otherwise be payable to such widow or widower under this subsection (determined without regard to any waiver or designation under section 8339(j)(1) of this title or a prior similar provision of law), and
(B)
the amount of the survivor annuity payable to any former spouse of such employee or Member under subsection (h) of this section.
(c)
The annuity of a survivor named under section 8339(k)(1) of this title is 55 percent of the reduced annuity of the retired employee or Member. The annuity of the survivor commences on the day after the retired employee or Member dies. This annuity and the right thereto terminate on the last day of the month before the survivor dies.
(d)
If an employee or Member dies after completing at least 18 months of civilian service, his widow or widower is entitled to an annuity equal to 55 percent of an annuity computed under section 8339(a)–(f), (i), (n), (p), (q), (r), and (s) as may apply with respect to the employee or Member, except that, in the computation of the annuity under such section, the annuity of the employee or Member shall be at least the smaller of—
(1)
40 percent of his average pay; or
(2)
the sum obtained under such section after increasing his service of the type last performed by the period elapsing between the date of death and the date he would have become 60 years of age.
Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the annuity payable under this subsection to the widow or widower of an employee or Member may not exceed the difference between—
(A)
the amount which would otherwise be payable to such widow or widower under this subsection, and
(B)
the amount of the survivor annuity payable to any former spouse of such employee or Member under subsection (h) of this section.
The annuity of the widow or widower commences on the day after the employee or Member dies. This annuity and the right thereto terminate on the last day of the month before the widow or widower—
(i)
dies; or
(ii)
except as provided in subsection (k), remarries before becoming 55 years of age.
(e)
(1)
For the purposes of this subsection, “former spouse” includes a former spouse who was married to an employee or Member for less than 9 months and a former spouse of an employee or Member who completed less than 18 months of service covered by this subchapter.
(2)
If an employee or Member dies after completing at least 18 months of civilian service, or an employee or Member dies after retiring under this subchapter, and is survived by a spouse or a former spouse who is the natural or adoptive parent of a surviving child of the employee or Member, that surviving child is entitled to an annuity equal to the smallest of—
(A)
60 percent of the average pay of the employee or Member divided by the number of children;
(B)
$900; or
(C)
$2,700 divided by the number of children;
subject to section 8340 of this title. If the employee or Member is not survived by a spouse or a former spouse who is the natural or adoptive parent of a surviving child of the employee or Member, that surviving child is entitled to an annuity equal to the smallest of—
(i)
75 percent of the average pay of the employee or Member divided by the number of children;
(ii)
$1,080; or
(iii)
$3,240 divided by the number of children;
(3)
The annuity of a child under this subchapter or under the Act of May 29, 1930, as amended from and after February 28, 1948, commences on the day after the employee or Member dies, or commences or resumes on the first day of the month in which the child later becomes or again becomes a student as described by subsection (a)(3) of this section, if any lump sum paid is returned to the Fund. This annuity and the right thereto terminate on the last day of the month before the child—
(A)
becomes 18 years of age unless he is then a student as described or incapable of self-support;
(B)
becomes capable of self-support after becoming 18 years of age unless he is then such a student;
(C)
becomes 22 years of age if he is then such a student and capable of self-support;
(D)
ceases to be such a student after becoming 18 years of age unless he is then incapable of self-support; or
(E)
dies or marries;
whichever first occurs. On the death of the surviving spouse or former spouse or termination of the annuity of a child, the annuity of any other child or children shall be recomputed and paid as though the spouse, former spouse, or child had not survived the employee or Member.
(4)
If the annuity of a child under this subchapter terminates under paragraph (3)(E) because of marriage, then, if such marriage ends, such annuity shall resume on the first day of the month in which it ends, but only if—
(A)
any lump sum paid is returned to the Fund; and
(B)
that individual is not otherwise ineligible for such annuity.
(f)
If a Member heretofore or hereafter separated from the service with title to deferred annuity from the Fund hereafter dies before having established a valid claim for annuity and is survived by a spouse to whom married at the date of separation, the surviving spouse—
(1)
is entitled to an annuity equal to 55 percent of the deferred annuity of the Member commencing on the day after the Member dies and terminating on the last day of the month before the surviving spouse dies or remarries; or
(2)
may elect to receive the lump-sum credit instead of annuity if the spouse is the individual who would be entitled to the lump-sum credit and files application therefor with the Office before the award of the annuity.
Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, an annuity payable under this subsection to the surviving spouse of a Member may not exceed the difference between—
(A)
the annuity which would otherwise be payable to such surviving spouse under this subsection, and
(B)
the amount of the survivor annuity payable to any former spouse of such Member under subsection (h) of this section.
(g)
In the case of a surviving spouse whose annuity under this section is terminated because of remarriage before becoming 55 years of age, annuity at the same rate shall be restored commencing on the day the remarriage is dissolved by death, annulment, or divorce, if—
(1)
the surviving spouse elects to receive this annuity instead of a survivor benefit to which he may be entitled, under this subchapter or another retirement system for Government employees, by reason of the remarriage; and
(2)
any lump sum paid on termination of the annuity is returned to the Fund.
(h)
(1)
Subject to paragraphs (2) through (5) of this subsection, a former spouse of a deceased employee, Member, annuitant, or former Member who was separated from the service with title to a deferred annuity under section 8338(b) of this title is entitled to a survivor annuity under this subsection, if and to the extent expressly provided for in an election under section 8339(j)(3) of this title, or in the terms of any decree of divorce or annulment or any court order or court-approved property settlement agreement incident to such decree.
(2)
(A)
The annuity payable to a former spouse under this subsection may not exceed the difference between—
(i)
the amount applicable in the case of such former spouse, as determined under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, and
(ii)
the amount of any annuity payable under this subsection to any other former spouse of the employee, Member, or annuitant, based on an election previously made under section 8339(j)(3) of this title, or a court order previously issued.
(B)
The applicable amount, for purposes of subparagraph (A)(i) of this paragraph in the case of a former spouse, is the amount which would be applicable—
(i)
under subsection (b)(4)(A) of this section in the case of a widow or widower, if the deceased was an employee or Member who died after retirement;
(ii)
under subparagraph (A) of subsection (d) of this section in the case of a widow or widower, if the deceased was an employee or Member described in the first sentence of such subsection; or
(iii)
under subparagraph (A) of subsection (f) of this section in the case of a surviving spouse, if the deceased was a Member described in the first sentence of such subsection.
(3)
The commencement and termination of an annuity payable under this subsection shall be governed by the terms of the applicable order, decree, agreement, or election, as the case may be, except that any such annuity—
(A)
shall not commence before—
(i)
the day after the employee, Member, or annuitant dies, or
(ii)
the first day of the second month beginning after the date on which the Office receives written notice of the order, decree, agreement, or election, as the case may be, together with such additional information or documentation as the Office may prescribe,
whichever is later, and
(B)
shall terminate—
(i)
except as provided in subsection (k), in the case of an annuity computed by reference to clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(B) of this subsection, no later than the last day of the month before the former spouse remarries before becoming 55 years of age or dies; or
(ii)
in the case of an annuity computed by reference to clause (iii) of such paragraph, no later than the last day of the month before the former spouse remarries or dies.
(4)
For purposes of this subchapter, a modification in a decree, order, agreement, or election referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be effective—
(A)
if such modification is made after the retirement or death of the employee or Member concerned, and
(B)
to the extent that such modification involves an annuity under this subsection.
(5)
For purposes of this subchapter, a decree, order, agreement, or election referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be effective, in the case of a former spouse, to the extent that it is inconsistent with any joint designation or waiver previously executed with respect to such former spouse under section 8339(j)(1) of this title or a similar prior provision of law.
(6)
Any payment under this subsection to a person bars recovery by any other person.
(7)
As used in this subsection, “court” means any court of any State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Virgin Islands, and any Indian court.
(i)
The requirement in subsections (a)(1)(A) and (a)(2)(A) of this section that the surviving spouse of an employee or Member have been married to such employee or Member for at least 9 months immediately before the employee or Member’s death in order to qualify as the widow or widower of such employee or Member shall be deemed satisfied in any case in which the employee or Member dies within the applicable 9-month period, if—
(1)
the death of the employee or Member was accidental; or
(2)
the surviving spouse of such individual had been previously married to the individual and subsequently divorced, and the aggregate time married is at least 9 months.
(k)
(1)
1
1
 So in original. No subsec. (j) has been enacted.
Subsections (b)(3)(B), (d)(ii), and (h)(3)(B)(i) (to the extent that they provide for termination of a survivor annuity because of a remarriage before age 55) shall not apply if the widow, widower, or former spouse was married for at least 30 years to the individual on whose service the survivor annuity is based.
(2)
A remarriage described in paragraph (1) shall not be taken into account for purposes of section 8339(j)(5)(B) or (C) or any other provision of this chapter which the Office may by regulation identify in order to carry out the purposes of this subsection.
(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 577; Pub. L. 90–83, § 1(80), Sept. 11, 1967, 81 Stat. 216; Pub. L. 91–93, title II, § 206, Oct. 20, 1969, 83 Stat. 140; Pub. L. 91–658, § 3, Jan. 8, 1971, 84 Stat. 1961; Pub. L. 92–243, § 1, Mar. 9, 1972, 86 Stat. 56; Pub. L. 92–297, § 7(4), May 16, 1972, 86 Stat. 145; Pub. L. 93–260, § 1(a), Apr. 9, 1974, 88 Stat. 76; Pub. L. 94–183, § 2(36), Dec. 31, 1975, 89 Stat. 1058; Pub. L. 95–317, § 1(b), July 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 382; Pub. L. 95–318, § 2, July 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 384; Pub. L. 95–454, title IX, § 906(a)(2), (3), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1224; Pub. L. 95–598, title III, § 338(c), Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2681; Pub. L. 96–179, § 1, Jan. 2, 1980, 93 Stat. 1299; Pub. L. 98–353, title I, § 112, July 10, 1984, 98 Stat. 343; Pub. L. 98–615, § 2(4), Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3199; Pub. L. 99–251, title II, §§ 205–207, Feb. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 25; Pub. L. 99–272, title XV, § 15204(a)(2), Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 335; Pub. L. 101–428, § 2(d)(7), Oct. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 929; Pub. L. 102–378, § 2(63), Oct. 2, 1992, 106 Stat. 1354; Pub. L. 104–208, div. A, title I, § 101(f) [title VI, § 633(a)(1)], Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–314, 3009–362; Pub. L. 105–61, title V, §§ 516(a)(4), 518(a), Oct. 10, 1997, 111 Stat. 1306, 1307; Pub. L. 106–553, § 1(a)(2) [title III, § 308(h)(7)], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2762, 2762A–89.)
cite as: 5 USC 8341