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Designation of Beneficiaries

Several Federal benefits result in the payment of money after an employee's death. Benefits are paid in the following order, which is set by law:

  • To your widow or widower
  • If none, to your child or children in equal shares, with the share of any deceased child distributed among the child's descendants
  • If none, to your parents in equal shares or the entire amount to your surviving parent>
  • If none, to the executor or administrator of your estate
  • If none, to your next of kin under the laws of the state where you lived at the time of your death

If you want payment to be made differently, you should designate a beneficiary. If you are satisfied with the legal order of precedence, you do not need to complete any beneficiary forms. Once you decide to file a designation, be sure it remains accurate and reflects your intentions.

NOTE: If a qualifying court order or an assignment of benefits is on file for the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program, the court order or assignment takes precedence over any designation of beneficiary and the above normal order of precedence.

Please read carefully the specific instructions on each designation form before making your designation.


  • SF-2823 PDF [119.90 K]- Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program
  • SF-1152 PDF [34.18 K] - Unpaid Compensation of a Deceased Civilian Employee
  • TSP-3 PDF [61.34 K]- Thrift Savings Plan Designation of Beneficiary

Use the following two forms to designate who is to receive a lump-sum payment which may become payable under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). These forms do not affect the right of any person who is eligible for survivor annuity benefits.

  • SF-2808 PDF [69.67 K] - Designation of Beneficiary, Civil Service Retirement System
  • SF-3102 PDF [55.03 K]- Designation of Beneficiary, Federal Employees’ Retirement System
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Human Resources Division | (301) 763-4748 |  Last Revised: April 08, 2013