Survivor annuity


Q. Both my wife and I will be retiring the last work day in January 2016. If the spouse for whom a survivor’s annuity benefit is chosen predeceases the other spouse, does the other spouse then get their annuity restored to the full amount?

Also, I understand that a survivor’s annuity must be elected in order for the survivor to maintain FEHB coverage from its spouse. Is it correct that the election can be for less than a 55 percent annuity (e.g., CSRS)?
A. Yes, if the person for whom a survivor annuity was elected dies, the elector’s annuity will be restored prospectively, to the full amount. As a CSRS employee, you can elect a full annuity (55 percent) or, with your spouse’s written and notarized approval, any lesser percentage or dollar amount.

If your spouse is also a federal employee or retiree and covered by the self and family option of your plan, his or her FEHB coverage would continue, regardless of whether he or she was receiving a survivor annuity. If not, a survivor annuity in some amount would be a required for that coverage to continue.


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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