The benefits are statutorily determined by Section 806(c) of the Foreign Service Act and adjusted each year to reflect the change in the COLA. The amount of benefits depends on the number of surviving children and whether or not there is a surviving spouse. Annuity benefits payable under FERS/FSPS, which reflects full participation in Social Security, are reduced by the amount of Social Security survivor benefits attributable to the deceased parent. Benefits are generally paid to the surviving parent or the person who has the care and custody of the children. If the surviving spouse qualifies for survivor benefits, the children's benefits will be included in the monthly payment sent to the spouse.
An unmarried participant in good health who does not have a former spouse entitled to a survivor benefit can also elect to provide a survivor benefit under Section 806(f). However, this would be very costly, reducing the retiree's annuity by as much as 40%.