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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. Elaine Lumsden on

    The following can be found at https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/pamphlets/ri38-116.pdf on page 45.

    § 838.237 Death of the former spouse.

    (a) Unless the court order acceptable for processing expressly provides otherwise, the former spouse’s share of an employee annuity terminates on the last day of the month before the death of the former spouse, and the former spouse’s share of employee annuity reverts to the retiree.

    (b) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, OPM will honor a court order acceptable for processing or an amended court order acceptable for processing that directs OPM to pay, after the death of the former spouse, the former spouse’s share of the employee annuity to-­

    (1) The court;
    (2) An officer of the court acting as a fiduciary;
    (3) The estate of the former spouse; or
    (4) One or more of the retiree’s children as defined in section 8341(a)(4) or section 8441(4) of title 5, United States Code.

  2. I am an ex-spouse receiving military retirement benefits. Will my annuity from the military retirement be discontinued when my former spouse retires after 20 years as an air traffic controller?

    • The two aren’t connected. You’d continue to receive former spouse retirement benefits. Whether you’d be entitled to any additional former spouse benefits based on his employment as an air traffic controller would depend on the terms of the court order ending your marriage.

  3. my husband was a sheet metal worker he gets 82% of normal benefit am I able to get part of the pension without his death I am retired also but my pension pays for our health and life insurance

    • Assuming that he was a federal employee, the answer is no. However, you would only be entitled to a survivor annuity if he died. If he wasn’t a federal employee, you’ll have to check with his former employer.

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