Alternative annuity


Q. I have some questions regarding retirement under FERS:

1. They used to allow lump-sum withdrawal of your own contributions to your retirement so you could transfer to your own IRA. Is that still an option, or has that since been rescinded?

2. My wife and I are contemplating not taking survivor benefits because she will get my Thrift Savings Plan and Social Security payments. Also, I have provided enough life insurance to cover her income. The question was raised that she would then not be eligible for my Federal Employees Health Benefits for medical if I was deceased. What is the rule concerning that issue?

A. The alternative form of annuity is only available to those who have a condition that leads to a life expectancy of less than two years. If you don’t elect an annuity for your nonfederal spouse, she wouldn’t be able to continue her coverage in the FEHB program. It would end at your death.


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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