Applying for benefits
- By Milt x_Zall
- Oct 28, 2001
For federal employees who were injured in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,
as well as the family members of employees who were killed, knowing what
benefits you are entitled to can be a challenge. Here is some information
that hopefully will be of help.
Survivors of federal civilian employees killed in the line of duty may
be entitled to workers' compensation benefits administered by the Labor
Department's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP); payments
under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees
Retirement System (FERS); Federal Em.ployees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)
proceeds; Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account proceeds; Social Security survivors'
benefits administered by the Social Security Administration; lump sum final
salary payments; a death gratuity payment; and public safety officers' benefits.
Federal civilian employees injured in the line of duty may be entitled
to workers' compensation benefits administered by OWCP; disability payments
under CSRS or FERS; FEGLI proceeds; and Social Security disability benefits.
Benefits that may be payable when a federal civilian employee is killed
or injured, but not while in the line of duty, include survivor or disability
payments under CSRS or FERS; FEGLI proceeds; Social Security survivor or
disability benefits; TSP account proceeds; and lump sum final salary payments.
A survivor of a federal civilian employee killed in the World Trade
Center or Pentagon may qualify for a recurring CSRS or FERS monthly survivor
annuity. However, in most cases, workers' compensation benefits and federal
retirement benefits cannot be paid for the same period of time. This means
that the survivor must choose between the two benefits. In most cases, the
primary bene.fits are paid by the Labor Department.
A survivor of a federal civilian employee killed on one of the hijacked
airplanes may qualify for workers' compensation benefits if the employee
was traveling in a duty status. If the employee was not in a duty status
at the time of death, workers' compensation would generally not be paid,
and the survivor may qualify for only a recurring CSRS or FERS monthly survivor
If a survivor chooses bene.fits from the Labor Department, a lump sum
payment of the employee's retirement contributions under CSRS or FERS may
be paid. If the survivor chooses workers' compensation benefits over the
FERS basic employee death benefit and/or survivor benefits, the employee's
retirement contributions in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability
Fund, plus interest, are payable.
The employee's retirement contributions are paid to the first person
eligible based on an order of precedence starting with the beneficiary designated
in writing by the deceased. A beneficiary form must have been signed, witnessed
and received at the employee's agency prior to his or her death. For more
information, visit www.opm.gov.
Zall is a retired federal employee who since 1987 has written the Bureaucratus
column for Federal Computer Week. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.