What benefits are payable to my surviving children?
Survivor benefits to children are the same regardless of whether you are an active employee or a retiree at your death. The definition of child for this purpose includes those born within wedlock, adopted, a stepchild or recognized child born out of wedlock who lived with the retiree in a regular parent-child relationship, or a recognized child born out of wedlock whom the retiree supported, either based on a court order or with voluntary regular and substantial contributions.

The child must be: your dependent; unmarried; and under age 22 if a full-time student (under 18 if not) except that there is no age limit for those who can’t support themselves because of a disability that began before age 18.

If there is a surviving parent, the children’s rate is about $500 a month per eligible child, up to about $1,500 per month divided by the number of eligible children (if four or more). If there is no surviving parent, the rate is about $600 per month per eligible child or about $1,800 per month divided by the number of eligible children (if four or more). These rates are inflation-indexed each year.

These benefits are automatic; there is no charge to you for providing them. However, the amounts are reduced by any Social Security survivor benefits payable to the children.