1. Notify employee’s immediate supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service.

2. Notify Postmaster at the Postal facility where the employee worked.

3. Notify Personnel Section or Human Resources Office official.

4. Contact the following:

a. The American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO on the National, State, and Area Local/Local levels to check for any spousal benefits.

b. Office of Personnel Management at 1-888-767-6738 to check for eligible spousal benefits, such as spousal annuity, life insurance, health insurance, etc. The surviving spouse will get a Civil Service Final (CSF) annuity 7 digit number followed by the letter W (Widow or Widower).

c. If a veteran, contact the Veterans Administration and Veterans organizations to check for any spousal benefits you may be eligible for.

d. Local banks, savings and loans, credit unions for spousal benefits.

e. Safety Deposit Box at various financial institutions.

f. Social Security Administration to check for eligible benefits.

g. Insurance companies to check for any eligible benefits.

h. Internal Revenue Service and State & County Tax Departments.

i. Change deceased name on important papers to survivor’s name.

5. Notify immediate supervisor at USPS and President of APWU Area Local/Local of time and place of services for deceased.

6. Have mortuary obtain seven (7) copies of death certificate.

7. Turn in locker key, badge, and other postal property to immediate supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service.

8. Obtain copies of military discharge certificates, Form DD-214, if postal employee dies while still employed at USPS.

9. Have copies of birth certificates of dependent, underage children.

10. If previously married, have copies of your divorce papers.

11. If presently married, have copies of your marriage license.

12. A will or living trust is a vital necessity which will eliminate costly court probate procedures. We urge everyone to get one if you don’t already have this important document to protect your assets and to make sure your estate is distributed according to your wishes when you pass on.

13. Fill out the following papers (available from Personnel or OPM). Copies of the forms may be seen at
www.opm.gov/forms for review.

a. SF 2800 – Application for death benefits (CSRS).
b. SF 3104 – Application for death benefits (FERS).
c. Claim of designated beneficiary for unpaid compensation.
d. Claim for unpaid compensation (no designated beneficiary).
e. Claim for benefits such as Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI).
f. Check with Personnel section or Human Resources office for exact amount of annuity for yourself and children. Then telephone OPM to double check on everything for peace of mind.

Survivorship is not paid AUTOMATICALLY. You must apply for it. In most cases, if your spouse was a veteran, he/she is entitled to burial expenses.

If the cause of death is due to a job related injury, the Office of Federal Employees Compensation (OFEC) will pay for burial expenses minus any amount the VA gives.

The survivors, in case of a job related death, may also apply for an annuity from the OFEC. The survivors can then choose the higher annuity.

You might wish to save this APWU survivor action information. Hopefully, you will not have to use it, but will find it helpful to those who have the need.

In the event you do not already have a copy, we suggest you invest in your future and the future of your loved ones by purchasing the APWU Survivors Booklet costing only $3.00 per copy from the National APWU Retirees Department in Washington, D.C. To review this valuable keepsake booklet and other retiree info, go online to
www.apwu.org and click on Retirees Dept. for the latest news!

By all means, contact the office of Douglas Cowan Holbrook, Director, National APWU Retirees Department, by telephone at 1-202-842-8585 or toll-free 1-877-279-8669 (877-APWU NOW), and/or write to him at 1300 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005 to inform him of the death of your spouse, and let him know you wish to retain all the APWU benefits your spouse and you have fought for all these years.


If your death occurs while you are still employed at USPS, your surviving spouse and children will qualify for a monthly survivor annuity, provided:

1. You were subject to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) at death, and had completed at least eighteen (18) months of creditable civilian service.

2. You and your spouse were married for at least nine (9) months at the time of your death, or your spouse is the parent of a child born of your marriage. The nine (9) month requirement does not apply in cases of accidental death.

3. Your children are unmarried and under age eighteen (18), or full-time students in recognized educational institutions and under age twenty-two (22), or married and incapable of self support at the time of your death regardless of age, provided the disability occurred prior to age 18.

If your death occurs before retirement, your survivors should notify your employing office immediately. When your employing office is notified of your death, they will assist your survivors in filling the necessary claim forms for death benefits. Your employing office will provide the applicable claim forms. The following documents are required:

1. Two (2) certified copies of the death certificate.

2. Copy of military discharge certificates, form DD-214, report of transfer or discharge, if applicable.

3. Copy of marriage certificates.

4. Copy of birth certificates of dependent children under age twenty-two (22).


If your death occurs after you retire, your surviving spouse will qualify for an annuity if you accepted a reduced annuity with survivor benefits at retirement, and your spouse was married to you for a total of at least nine (9) months or is the parent of your child. The marriage duration requirement does not apply if your death is accidental.

Children described above automatically qualify for a survivor annuity regardless of your survivor annuity election.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must honor qualifying court orders that provide survivor annuity benefits for a former spouse.

If you have a former spouse who is entitled to a full survivor annuity based on a qualifying court order, your current spouse will receive monthly survivor benefits after your death only if the former spouse loses entitlement to the court-ordered survivor benefits, unless you elect to provide an insurable interest annuity for your spouse when you retire.

A court order providing survivor benefits to a former spouse will not affect survivor benefits for eligible children.

A survivor annuity for a spouse continues for life, unless the spouse remarries before age fifty-five (55). A child’s annuity ends when the child marries, reaches the age eighteen (18) or twenty-two (22) if a full-time student, or if disabled, becomes capable of self support.

Lump-sum benefits consist of the total amount credited to your retirement fund, plus any accrued interest. However, no lump-sum benefits for retirement contributions will be paid if your current spouse, former spouse, or children are eligible for a survivor annuity.

If your survivor annuity terminates before your retirement contributions are exhausted (paid out in the form of an annuity), the balance remaining in your account is payable in a lump sum. Any unpaid accrued annuity due you at death is also payable in a lump sum. A lump sum is payable in this order:

1. Designated beneficiary.
2. Spouse.
3. Child/children in equal shares.
4. Parents.
5. Executor or estate administrator.
6. Next of kin.

If you die after retirement, your survivor should notify OPM at 1-888-767-6738 between hours of 7:30 am-7:45 pm, Monday thru Friday. The best time to call is early of the morning or late in the evening to not have to wait a long time on line to talk to a real live person. The OPM toll-free telephone number automated system is available 24 hours seven days a week, if you choose this option.

Your survivor should give the deceased employee’s full name, Civil Service Annuity (CSA) claim number which has seven (7) digits, date of birth, date of death, and the name and address of the person entitled to death benefits.

Any OPM annuity checks not cashed should be returned with a statement to the return address on the U. S. Government envelope bearing the check or to the below address for the entire United States:

Department of U. S. Treasury,
Financial Management Services,
P.O. Box 7224,
San Francisco, CA 94120-7224

If your checks are being deposited directly into your bank account by OPM, your survivor should contact your bank or other financial institution, notifying them of the date of your death. When OPM receives notice of your death, they will review your retirement records and send applicable claim forms to the person entitled to the death benefits.

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