Lump sum payment


Q: What would happen to the employee’s own CSRS contributions if the survivor annuity was less than the full survivor benefit, i.e. the example above $1.00? Would the survivor be able to take the contributions in a lump sum?

A: No.As long as a survivor benefit was elected, that benefit would continue to be paid until the survivor died. That’s true regardless of the amount of the survivor annuity that was elected. If the survivor died, any unexpended contributions would be paid out according to the standard order of precedence. Note: Any survivor benefit that is less than the full amount can only be elected with the written consent of your spouse.


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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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