Survivor annuity


Q. What happens to your own annuity if you elect a survivor annuity? And what happens to your annuity if your spouse dies?

A. If you elect a survivor annuity, your own annuity will be reduced to pay for that benefit. However, if your survivor died, your annuity would be increased prospectively to what it would have been if you hadn’t elected a survivor annuity.


About Author

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


    • Yes, but you only have 2 years from the date of the new marriage. There have been many, many appeals of this and OPM has denied survivor annuities to all who go over the 2 year window and won the appeals. It is critical to notify OPM immediately when you remarry. You will need the new spouse’s name, DOB, and SSN. You also need to specify what percentage of survivor annuity you are electing.

  1. Why is there a two year limit on selecting Survivors Benefits for a new spouse?We both notified OPM we were married since my wife changed her name. We do not remember anything from OPM stating if we wanted to select Survivor Benefits we had two years to select it.

    • You’ll find the basis for the two year limit in law and regulation:

      For CSRS:

      5 U.S.C. 8339(k)(2)
      5 CFR 831.631(B)

      For FERS

      5 U.S.C. 8416 b and c
      5 CFR 842.612 (a)

Leave A Reply