Survivor annuity


Q. My husband will be retiring for the Postal Service in November. Should he get a spousal annuity for me, a CSRS employee who will be retiring in 2016? Will I be eligible to draw Social Security benefit from his retirement and my CSRS retirement upon his death?

A. Your husband is required by law to provide a full survivor annuity for you unless you agree to a lesser amount or none at all. That decision is one the two of you will have to reach after considering your financial needs should he die. The same determination will have to be made by the two of you when you retire.

Although you’d be eligible for a Social Security benefit based on his work history, because you’ll be receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, that benefit will be subject to the government pension offset. The GPO will reduce that benefit by $2 for every $3 you receive in your CSRS annuity.


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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