Spousal benefits


Q. I am retiring at the end of this year and will be a 30-year FERS annuitant. I expect to receive a FERS pension and Social Security in retirement. My wife only worked part-time and will receive a much smaller amount from Social Security. In the event of my death, what will my wife receive? Will she be able to get my FERS survivor benefit and my Social Security, since it is larger?

A. The answer is yes to both questions.


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.


  1. This couple needs to check the numbers with social security but her spousal benefit on his earnings may be higher than her earned benefit. Even if her benefit would be slightly higher than the spousal benefit she may also be able to collect the spousal benefit until she maxes out her earned benefit before claiming hers.

  2. I’m a recent retired federal employee, 2018, 27 yrs with FERS LEO supliment. My wife passed away a few years ago. At the time of her passing I became eligible for her Social Security death/survivor benefits. Because I made more than the minimum earnings allowed I did not apply for those benifts.
    Now that I’m retired LEO. If I applied and received her death/ survivor benefits would this affect or reduce my LEO supliment? If so by how much, if not would the supliment pay out in full till the time I reach 62 and the supliment ends?

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