Survivor annuity


Q. My husband recently started working for the federal government. I am his second wife. His former wife died. I did not see his benefit papers, so I’m assuming that when he passes away, I will be able to receive his benefits and not his grown children from his first marriage. Is that correct? Is he allowed by law (without my consent) to add his grown children to his benefits without my knowledge and/or consent?

A. By law, you are entitled to a full survivor annuity if he were to die. The only way that amount could be reduced would be if you agreed to it in a notarized writing. While his children wouldn’t be entitled to any annuity benefits, they would be entitled to any life insurance benefits if he were to designate them, rather than you, as the recipients.


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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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