Q. Employees are advised to select at least a minimal survivor benefit when selecting retirement options. I understand the base for the survivor annuity can be as low as 1 percent of the overall annuity. The cost of that survivor benefit could be as little as a few dollars a month, as its cost would be based on the 2.5 percent rather than the 10 percent portion of the formula. For example, if the full annuity was calculated as $40,000, 1 percent would be $400; the annual cost of that would be just $10. What are your thoughts?

Q. I am a retired U.S. Postal Service employee. I work another job full time but maintain my federal Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage. I am now married, effective with the same-sex marriage law. My spouse, who is 70, also works full time and has BCBS through his employment. When he retires, can I add him to my insurance as he does not have any health insurance benefit other than Medicare? What would be the cost? Would/could we both have Medicare and BCBS?

Q. I am 55 years old (born Dec. 29, 2960). I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 26 years, and now I have obtained a degree trying very much to get a different job within the government. If I leave the government and get another job until I am 60, can I get the Social Security supplement until I reach 62? Would I be able to collect two pensions if I do this?

Q. What percentage of my husbands annuity do I get when he dies? He is retired from the US Army Corps of Engineers. From what I am reading we would need to be married at least nine months, but I am having a hard time finding out much more. A. Assuming that (1) a former spouse isn’t already entitled to all or a portion of your husbands’s annuity; (2) you have been married to him for at least 9 months before he dies; (3) he applies for a survivor annuity within two years of your marriage; and (4) he pays to OPM a…

Q. I was told by my employer’s human resources specialist in charge of retirement and benefits that I will not get the 1.1 percent retirement at 20 years of service (when I reach 61 years old). He said I will get 1.1 percent after 20 years of service (starting at 21 years of service). Is that true? A. Your HR is right. While you are eligible to retire on an unreduced annuity at age 60 with 20 years of service, the law states that you will only be entitled to the 1.1 percent multiplier if you retire at age 62.

Q. I’m 70 years old and retired with 27 years in government law enforcement in 2002, but I’ve been informed I need two quarters for my Social Security benefits. I worked in private industry prior to government work. Is it possible to pay the remaining quarters to Social Security?

From Nov. 11 through Dec. 9, employees, retirees, and survivors who are enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program can once again take advantage of their annual opportunity to decide which health benefits plan or option they want to be covered by in the next calendar year. And employees who aren’t already enrolled will have a chance to sign up.

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