Survivor annuity


Q. Employees are advised to select at least a minimal survivor benefit when selecting retirement options. I understand the base for the survivor annuity can be as low as 1 percent of the overall annuity. The cost of that survivor benefit could be as little as a few dollars a month, as its cost would be based on the 2.5 percent rather than the 10 percent portion of the formula. For example, if the full annuity was calculated as $40,000, 1 percent would be $400; the annual cost of that would be just $10. What are your thoughts?

A. The survivor benefit reduction can be as low as $1 for a CSRS retiree; however, the smallest amount a FERS employee can designate is 25 percent of his base annuity.


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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