Back payments for annuity deductions


Q. My father-in-law has an annuity taken out of his pension for the last 26 years. His wife died in 1998, and to this day he thinks he can’t stop the annuity from coming out of his pension. Is there a law he can turn to that would stop the 10 percent from going out of his pension?

A. He (or you on his behalf) should call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738 and explain the situation. He needs to provide them with his full name, date of birth and CSA (Civil Service Annuity) number. Then he’ll need to provide them with his wife’s full name, date of birth and date of death. They’ll ask for a copy of her death certificate, which he can send them. Once that’s done, he’ll be entitled to back payments for all of the money that should not have been deducted from his annuity. In addition, his annuity will be prospectively restored to what it would have been had he not 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


  1. I am a retired Fed and my former spouse was authorized to have survivor benefit which she was required to pay for. My former spouse died on March 4 2018 and OPM was notified by phone in March and on April 2 they were notified in writing with a copy of death certificate. I received a letter from the court order branch in August 2018 that I have a debt for the cost of survivor benefit from the date she died until the end of July. Also they said I would have continue to pay for the cost of survivor benefit until they got around to processing a refund for me. It is now October 13, 2018 and OPM continues to charge me for survivor benefit for my former spouse who died more than 7 months ago. Her estate is getting her former annuity. How to I get them to stop withholding from my monthly check the so called debt and the cost of survivor benefit and refund to me all the cost back to March 4 2018. I do have a letter dated September 4 from the court order people that I will get refunded those cost but opm had not assigned anyone to my case.

    • OPM is understaffed and overworked. Their primary focus is on getting retirement benefits to those who have just retired and are in need of an income. You’ll just have to be patient.

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