Survivor benefits


Q. My husband, age 84, has been retired from NASA since 1988. He is in a nursing home. He receives a retirement pension from CSRS. If he passes away before I do, what will be my benefits? I believe he had to decide the percentage way back in the 1950s or ’60s.

A. When your husband retired, he would have had to elect a full survivor annuity for you unless you agreed  in writing to a lesser amount. If he did elect the full amount, you would receive 55 percent of his original, unreduced annuity increased by any cost-of-living adjustments made since he retired. If you jointly elected a lesser amount, you would get that, also increased by any cost-of-living adjustments made since he retired.


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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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