Survivor benefit


Q. If I remarry at age 66 as a retired federal employee, will I have an option to leave my partner any portion of income upon my death without penalty? She will be turning 60 this year.

A. Assuming that there’s nothing in the court order ending your former marriage that would affect your ability to provide a survivor annuity for your new spouse, that spouse would be entitled to a survivor annuity if he or she was married to you for at least nine months before your death. To pay for that benefit, there would be two reductions in your annuity. First would be the standard reduction, the dollar amount of which would depend on whether you elected a full survivor benefit or a partial one. Second would be a permanent actuarial reduction to pay the survivor benefit deposit. That deposit would equal the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to you each month since you retired, plus 6 percent interest. The reduction is determined by dividing the amount of the deposit by an actuarial factor for your age on the date your annuity is reduced to provide the survivor benefit.


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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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