Surviving spouse's retirement benefits


Q. My husband retired under CSRS, and I expect to retire under FERS in a few years. When he retired, he elected survivor benefits for me, and I will do the same for him. What will be the rate the survivor will receive: only their benefit or their benefit plus the survivor portion? The answer will make a big difference in how comfortable we can live in retirement, before and after one of us passes.

A. If your husband were to die, you’d continue to receive your own earned annuity, plus 55 percent of his unreduced CSRS annuity. If you were to die, he would continue to receive his own earned annuity, plus 50 percent of your unreduced FERS annuity.


About Author

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

Leave A Reply