Confusion About FERS Lump Sum Payout

By on September 30, 2014 in Q&A with 4 Comments

Q: After reading this article (What Every Federal Employee’s Financial Planner Should Know About Federal Retirement and Benefits), I am confused. I am under FERS, and I did just submit a non-spousal beneficiary form to HR for my pension. If there is no lump sum payout, as you suggest, then what would the beneficiary form be for? Indeed, the form indicated that the beneficiary would have to request the benefit. Even though the form was submitted, unless requested, the benficiary would not receive what is to my understanding the lump sum of my pension should something happen to me.

A: The reason for your confusion is that the article is referring to the fact that the retiree does not get a choice to take a lump sum distribution instead of a pension. Your email refers to a refund of employee contributions to a beneficiary at the time of the employee’s death.

These two items are totally different.

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About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.