Post-retirement marriage

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Q. If I get married after I retire and elect a survivor annuity for my husband, I understand that I would need to pay the difference of what I would have paid had we been married at retirement plus 6 percent interest. For example, if I retired in January and married in June, if I understand this correctly, I need to wait 9 months for it to be effective so 9 plus 5 (months I would be married) would equal 14 months. If, for example, the difference in the annuity would be $50, I would owe $50×14 = $700 plus 6 percent interest, which would equal $42 for a total of $742. Would this $742 be paid back over the life of the annuity?

A. If you marry after retiring, there will be two reductions in your annuity. The first will be the standard reduction in your annuity, which will vary depending on whether you elect a full or partial survivor benefit. That reduction will be eliminated if your marriage ends.
The second will be a permanent actuarial reduction to pay the survivor benefit deposit. The deposit equals the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to you each month since retirement, plus 6 percent interest. That reduction won’t be eliminated if your marriage ends.

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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.

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