Survivor annuity for new wife

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Q. I retired in 1995 and included a small survivor benefit for my spouse. In 2014, we divorced, and I have since remarried. I would like to leave a survivor benefit for my new wife. Does the Office of Personnel Management permit me to provide a survivor benefit to my second wife? If yes, what is the correct way to proceed?

A. Yes, you can provide a survivor benefit for your new wife; however, the maximum amount of that benefit would be the difference between what you have already provided to your former spouse and the full amount. Just be aware there would be two reductions in your own annuity. First would be the standard reduction to provide a survivor benefit. Second would be an actuarial reduction in your annuity 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.

To find out more about the process and what it would cost you, write OPM’s Retirement Operations Center at P.O. Box 45, Boyers, PA 16012-0045. Include your full name, CSA number and a copy of your marriage certificate.

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About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

7 Comments

  1. Elaine Lumsden on

    This is a time limit for making this change. Depending on when you remarried, here is a quote from the CSRS FERS Handbook, Chapter 52: If the retiree was married at retirement, that marriage ends, and he or she marries again, the retiree may elect, within 2 years of remarriage, a reduced annuity to provide a current spouse survivor annuity for the new spouse.

  2. Elaine Lumsden on

    There is a time limit for making this change. Depending on when you remarried, here is a quote from the CSRS FERS Handbook, Chapter 52: If the retiree was married at retirement, that marriage ends, and he or she marries again, the retiree may elect, within 2 years of remarriage, a reduced annuity to provide a current spouse survivor annuity for the new spouse.

  3. Thomas Langdon on

    After my divorce My survivor’s annuity never stopped being taken out, it still comes out to this day. I remarried and added my new wife after the 2 year time limit period . O.P.M. said submit your divorce degree and they said they will male a decision on weather to add my new wife, since survivore’s annuity never stopped being taken out. My case has dragged on for 5 years now is still pending with no decision made by O.P.M. . I’m in limbo . If decision is against me I can proceed to Merit Protection Board for appeal . With no decision my money still comes out . Secondly if I lose final decision from Merit Protection Board would I get my pro rated money back from time of me filing to add new wife

    • I have forwarded you email to OPM and asked for them to reply directly to you and copy me on their response.

      • thomas langdon on

        Thank you sir, just to add I’m retired CSRS employee .I have contacted O.P.M. many times over this and there standard reply its in legal dept for a decision to be made, hopefully before I die. Mr Jones thank you so much I did’t even expect a reply let alone so quick.Tom

  4. I have read quite a few cases on the MSPB.gov site regarding survivor annuities. The 2 year rule seems to be hard and fast.. Since you added your new wife after the 2 year deadline, it doesn’t look good, in my opinion. If I were you, I’d do a quickie divorce, then remarry her. Then immediately contact OPM and ask to leave her a survivor annuity. That’s one workaround. The catch is you need to be married to her at least 9 months before you die.

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