Q. I retired from the Civil Service Retirement System in 2012, and was divorced at the time. My ex-wife won’t receive a survivor annuity based on my divorce decree. I am going to get remarried this summer and will elect full survivor annuity for my new wife. I know my monthly annuity will be reduced, but I want to know if the reduction would be the same as if I had been married all these years, or will there be an additional amount deducted to make up for the years since I retired?

A. If you marry and elect to provide a survivor for your wife, there will be two reductions in your annuity. The first will be to provide the survivor benefit. This will be the same reduction that would have been made if you had elected a survivor annuity for a current spouse when you retired. The second reduction will be a permanent actuarial reduction. This will require a deposit that equals the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to you for each month since you retired, plus six percent interest. The reduction is calculated by dividing the amount of the deposit by an actuarial factor based on your age on the day your annuity is reduced to provide the survivor benefit. FYI: As a CSRS retiree, you have the option of electing a survivor annuity that ranges between $1 per year and 55 percent of your unreduced annuity.


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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

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