Does death before retirement affect survivor annuity?


Q: I am a federal employee under the Civil Service Retirement System with 35 years of service, and I am 60 years old. I plan on working another two to five years. If I die before I retire, will my wife automatically receive a full CSRS survivorship annuity? I plan on selecting a full survivorship annuity when I do retire but was wondering what happens if I don’t make it.

A: Yes, if you were to die before retiring, your widow would automatically receive a full survivor annuity. The only exception to this rule is if there is a court order for a former spouse that would result in part or all of that benefit going to her.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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