Survivor annuity


Q. When I married a federal retiree, she changed her health benefits and life insurance coverage to include me. While she planned to elect a survivor benefit for me, she didn’t. I only learned that when I reported her death and applied for a survivor annuity. Now OPM has told me that I’m not entitled to a survivor annuity and as a result am not entitled to coverage under the health benefit program. Is that right?

A. Yes, it is. Because you didn’t marry her until after she had retired, she wasn’t required to provide you with a survivor annuity. Since she didn’t elect to do that and have her own annuity reduced to pay for that benefit, you aren’t eligible for a survivor annuity. Unfortunately, that also means that you aren’t eligible to continue your coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program.


About Author

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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