Survivor benefit


Q. I was going to select the survivor benefit option with my annuity. If my husband passes before me, can I change my decision and stop the option and reduced annuity payment? How long does it take to receive your first “paycheck” once you retire?

A. You are required by law to provide a survivor benefit for your spouse, unless he or she agrees in writing to a lesser amount or none at all. If your spouse were to die, your annuity would be restored prospectively to what it would have been had you not elected a survivor annuity.

There is no way to know how long it would take for a retiree to receive the first annuity payment. It would depend on how quickly your agency got your retirement application to OPM, OPM’s workload, and whether your work history was straight forward or complicated.



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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