Q. I am looking at my Federal Employee Benefits Statement. Can you tell me what the difference is between the estimated annuity without survivorship, with max survivorship, and annuity to survivor?

A. If you are unmarried, you would receive the full benefit to which you are entitled based on your years of service, high-3 and the formula used to calculate an annuity (either CSRS or FERS). If you are married, you are required by law to provide a full survivor annuity to your spouse (55 percent for CSRS; 50 percent for FERS). Under CSRS, you could provide any amount of survivor annuity from $1 up or none at all with the written consent of your spouse; for FERS, the choice is either 25 percent or none. It is also possible for qualified retirees to provide an insurable interest annuity to someone who has a financial interest in their continuing well-being. Since there’s such range of possible arrangements for a reduced insurable interest annuity, you’ll have to check with your payroll office to learn what they mean when they say annuity to survivor.


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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



    I was medically retired in June 2020(FERS) and I am getting interim payments. My husband recently told me we don’t need to get the survivorship payment taken out of my monthly check because it is going to be a significant amount. He is still working and our age is not close to 65. How can I change my survivorship of my annuity? I have contacted OPM and they said I would need an affidavit or contact the agency. I would like to know which form I need to fill out as I’m having a hard time getting in touch with my agency?


    • There isn’t any form. You’ll need to write the U.S. office of Personnel Management at 1900 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20415. The letter must contain your full name, date-of-birth, Social Security and CSA numbers, and clearly state that you want to wive your entitlement to a provide a survivor annuity. You must sign it as the requester and your husband as the one who is waiving his right to a survivor annuity. You must both sign that letter in the presence of a notary who will emboss it with his seal and sign it.

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