Lack of survivor annuity


Q. My husband, a federal retiree, died. OPM send me letter stating I do not appear to be eligible for a survivor annuity because he did not choose a reduced retirement. I cannot believe it. I married him after he retired. I did not know what my rights were; he did not ask me what I wanted, and OPM did not inform me. How could OPM and my husband decide if I would receive a survivor annuity or not without my knowledge?

A. While the outcome is unfortunate for you, by law, a retiree’s decision about whether to provide a survivor annuity is entirely up to the retiree.

Whereas making an election to provide you with a survivor annuity would have required that he notify OPM and pay the cost of that election, the fact that he didn’t meant that OPM would have had no knowledge of his decision.


About Author

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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