Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Terminally ill — survivor benefit

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Q. My wife, who is terminally ill, is covered by FERS and is an employee of the Postal Service. She is running out of sick and annual leave. If she goes on leave without pay and passes away while on leave without pay, will I, as her current husband (25 years +) still be eligible for the basic employee death benefit (50 percent of final salary plus $15,000)?

A. If your wife had more than 18 months service but less than 10 years, you’d receive a lump-sum payment of $31,316.46 plus a lump-sum of the higher of 50 percent on her annual basic pay at the time of her death or 50 percent of her high-3 average salary, plus any Social Security benefit that may be payable, plus any Thrift Savings Plan death benefits. If she had 10 or more years of service, you’d receive all of the above plus a survivor annuity equal to 50 percent of her basic annuity under FERS.

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