Q. My husband died suddenly. He had been away from work because of an illness for three weeks. Had he lived, which we expected, he would have gone on disability like his doctor recommended. He did not apply for that as his death came so suddenly — a week after he was told this. I am receiving a CSRS survivor benefit from his pension. However, if he had received it, it would be double. If he paid in all those years (37 at the U.S. Postal Service and three in the military), shouldn’t they be paying all of it out? Do they just get to keep half of his retirement annuity?
A. By law, the survivor spouses of CSRS employees are entitled to 55 percent of what their spouses would have received if they had retired. Financially speaking, it would have been pointless for your husband to apply for disability retirement. Because he had over 22 years of service, there wouldn’t have been a penny’s difference between a disability annuity and a regular annuity.