Survivor benefits


Q. I am retiring June 30. My spouse is also a federal employee. If we decide not to elect survivor benefits for her from my retirement, what would she receive if I were to pass away? Health care is not affected, as she will receive my military Tricare and she has her own federal plan?

A. If there were any unexpended retirement contributions in your account when you died, she’d be able to receive those in a lump sum. And the proceeds from any Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance you might have would go to her, unless you had already assigned them to someone else.


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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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