Survivor benefits


Q: I am a retired federal employee under CSRS. My wife is designated to receive a full retirement annuity upon my death (55 percent). We have two adult daughters. If my wife predeceases me, can I designate one or both of my daughters to receive the annuity that my wife would have received?

A: No, you cannot. Only a current or former spouse would be eligible for a survivor annuity. However, if there are any retirement contributions you made that have not been returned to you in your annuity, they would be distributed either to those you designated as your beneficiaries or, if you didn’t designate anyone, according to the standard order of precedence.


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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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