Survivor annuity


Q. I am under CSRS. I have 39 years of service and will retire when I get 40 years. If I elect to reduce my spouse’s benefits to less than 55 percent, how will that affect my retirement benefits? If I select a 40 percent annuity, will I receive the 15 percent difference in my retirement?

A. First things first. You can’t elect less than a full survivor annuity for your spouse unless he or she agrees to a lesser amount (or none at all) in a signed and notarized statement. Now to your questions:

To figure out how much your annuity will be reduced to provide for a survivor annuity use this formula:

2.5 percent x the first $3,600 used as a base for the survivor annuity, plus 10 percent of any amount over $3,600 used as a base.


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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