Survivor annuity


Q. I am a FERS employee. When I retire, I do not wish to name my spouse for a survivor annuity because I do not want my annuity reduced. (She has a secure financial plan in place). However, I do want her to continue to be included in my FEHB plan after I retire. I am currently enrolled in a family option. I was told that she cannot be included in my health benefit package (after my retirement) unless I at least partially name her for a survivor annuity. Is this true?

A. You are required by law to provide a full survivor annuity for your wife unless she agrees in writing to a lesser amount or none at all. Because you are a FERS employee, the only lesser amount is 25 percent of your unreduced annuity. If you were to die and she wasn’t entitled to a survivor annuity, her FEHB coverage would end.


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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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