Canceling survivor benefit


Q. I have been retired with CSRS for 15 years. I remarried very shortly after retirement. My first wife had died several years earlier. I added my second wife for full survivor benefit soon after retirement and well within the two years of marriage. Is it simple to remove my second wife’s survivor benefit to save money and receive more pension each month now? I understand it’s a 10 percent reduction to have a full survivor, so would we receive 10 percent more now? Would we receive a benefit of the equivalent of the permanent actuarial reduction that one pays when one adds a survivor? Can we add her back on at some point? Also, if she no longer has survivor benefit, would she still be eligible to receive health insurance while I’m alive?

A. Since you can’t cancel your survivor benefit election, the rest of your questions are moot.


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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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