CSRS survivor benefits


Q. My wife’s uncle (age 87 with 42 years CSRS) asked me to find out if his wife would continue receiving his retirement should he die first. His wife is under social security retirement after a career in nursing. She is 85, both have been retired for a long time. In this scenario, how would her future retirement be computed?

A. Assuming that he elected a full survivor annuity for her, she would receive 55 percent of his basic annuity before any deductions were taken out, increased by any cost-of-living increases he received since he retired. Her survivor annuity would continue for the rest of her life.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. my sisters husband passed away Dec last year and she received his benefits
    at 55% and was told she is not entitled to any pay raises sense he retired and
    he retired 1996. So, If she is entitled, who would she contact

    • She isn’t entitled to any pay raises that her late husband would have received if he had continued working up to the day he died. Instead, she is entitled to 55 percent of the annuity he was actually receiving when he died. That annuity had been increased by any annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that occurred since he retired. She, in turn, will be entitled to receive any future COLAs that are added to the annuities of retirees and survivors.

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