Understanding survivor benefits


Q: I have been married to my husband for 28 years. He worked for the post office the entire length of our marriage. He is going to continue working for another five years, even though he is eligible to retire now. What happens if he passes away before he retires? An I still eligible to receive half of his retirement? How do I protect myself to make sure I can depend on receiving half of his retirement?

A: You don’t need to do anything. If he were to die while still employed by the government you would be entitled by law to a full survivor annuity. If he was employed under the Civil Service Retirement System, it would be 55 percent of what he would be entitled to receive had he retired; if he was under the Federal Employees Retirement System, 50 percent.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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