Q. I plan to retire in July of this year. In order for my spouse to continue to receive FEHB if I die before him, do I have to elect survivor benefits or can he pay monthly for the payments? What is the minimum survivor benefit if I select it?
A. You are required by law to provide a full survivor benefit for your spouse unless he or she agrees in writing to a lesser amount or none at all. If you are covered by CSRS, a full survivor annuity is 55 percent of your basic annuity before any deductions. Your own annuity would be reduced by approximately 10 percent to pay for that benefit. However, under CSRS a survivor annuity can range anywhere from $1 per year to the full amount 55 percent. Your annuity would be reduced in proportion to the amount selected.
If you are covered by FERS, there are only two survivor annuity choices: 50 percent of your basic annuity or 25 percent. If you elect the full amount as required by law, your annuity would be reduced by exactly 10 percent; 5 percent if you elect the 25 percent amount. If you elect the lesser amount or none at all, your spouse would have to agree to that in writing.