Annuity reduction for 2nd wife


Q: My friend is a retired civilian under the FERS program. When he retired in the 1990s, an amount of some $6,000 was reduced from his annuity to provide for his wife’s survivor benefits. His wife died before him, so there were no survivor benefits paid. Now he wants to remarry. Will his new wife receive survivor benefits based on the old deduction, or will another deduction take place?

A: While he can elect a survivor benefit for his new wife, there will be two reductions in his annuity to provide it. First, there will be the standard reduction to provide for the survivor benefit. The amount will depend on whether he elects a full or partial benefit. Second, his annuity will be actuarially reduced to pay for a deposit, which equals the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to him for each month since retirement, plus 6 percent interest. That 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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