FEHB and marrying after retirement


Q. I have selected a retirement date of June 28, 2014. I will be 59½ years old with 33½ years of government service. I have been FERS my whole career. If I were to marry after retirement, what is the policy for covering my future spouse on my Federal Employees Health Benefits? If I choose to want a survivor benefit for my future spouse, is it possible to change from a self-only pension to one with survivor benefits?

A. If you married, you would be able to change your FEHB enrollment to self and family under Permissible Change 2B. You could also elect a survivor annuity for your spouse. You could do that within two years of your marriage. There would be two reductions in your annuity to pay for the benefit. One is the standard reduction to provide the survivor benefit.

The second is a permanent actuarial reduction to pay for the benefit. The deposit equals the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to you for each month since retirement, plus 6 percent interest, divided by an actuarial factor for your age. Note: The benefit would only be payable if you were married for at least nine months before your death.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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