What are lump-sum death benefit payments?
If you do not provide for a survivor annuity and after retiring you die before receiving in annuity payments as much as you contributed toward the civil service retirement fund over your working career, the remainder is paid out as a lump-sum. The same is true if you do designate a survivor annuity and that person in turn dies before an equivalent amount is paid out in the combination of your own annuity and the survivor annuity.

You can designate that payment to a person of your choice by filing a Form 2808, available at www.opm.gov/forms. If you do designate a beneficiary, the amount will be paid according to a standard order of precedence. Note that this form applies only to this type of payment and is not a survivor benefit election.