Survivor annuity


Q. I have two employees that do not want to leave their spouses a survivor annuity, without the spouse signing anything. One is CSRS and the other is FERS. The FERS employee has been separated for two years now and does not want to leave him anything, since she is not legally separated. But if she was legally separated, does she have to leave him anything?

A. Both those employees are required by law to provide a full survivor annuity for their spouses, unless their spouses agree in writing to a lesser amount or none at all.


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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


  1. My question is do the spouse have to sign off on the paper work for retirement. spouse retired without me knowing and I wasn’t aware of paperwork that I should have signed. .can I do anything about this? ??

    • There is no requirement that you sign off on your spouse’s retirement unless he chose to provide you with something less than than a full survivor benefit – or none at all. If he tried to do that without your agreement – in writing -his decision would automatically be rejected.

    • My ex husband retired from Union Pacific 3 years ago he left me and his two children 3years ago for a younger woman after he married her our son and I were disabled his son was over 22 but it caused us both mental problemstate from it now I am turning 65 I have to take his r.r.retirement it is going to cause us to lose benefits that help us survive what should I do

  2. I am a retired with Civil Service Federal Pension which my wife got 40%. She remarried before 55 so she lost survivor benefits. The California court awarded her part of the pension as community property. The paperwork says she can award my pension to the kids upon her death instead of returning it to me. (The kids are all adults with more income than me) Will the Federal government honor that and give the adult kid the other half of my pension?

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