Paying for survivor annuity


Q. I am not married, and will retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System. After I retire, if I then get married, can I then elect survivor annuity? If so, what is required to make the election?

A. Yes, you can, as long as you do that within two years after the date of your marriage. To pay for the survivor annuity, there will be two reductions in your annuity. The first will be the standard reduction to provide for the survivor benefit. The second will be an actuarial reduction to pay the survivor benefit deposit. That deposit equals the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to you for each month since you retired, plus 6 percent interest. The first reduction will be eliminated if the marriage ends in the death of your spouse or divorce; the second reduction is permanent.


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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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