Remarriage and survivor annuity


Q. I am a single, retired CSRS annuitant, age 69, whose wife passed away before I retired in January 2004.  It is my understanding that if I marry after retirement, I have two years from the date of marriage to sign my new wife up for survivor benefits. Then, nine months after I sign my wife up for the benefits, my annuity will be reduced to pay for the benefits.  If I were to die before the nine months has passed, what happens to my survivor benefit request? Also, if I were to die after nine months but before the benefits are paid for, what happens to the survivor benefits?

A. If you were married for at least nine months and had applied for a survivor benefit for your wife, she would be entitled to that benefit. If you had been married for fewer than nine months, your spouse wouldn’t be entitled to a survivor annuity.

If your marriage were to end because of death, divorce or annulment, the reduction in your own annuity would stop. Once you notified the Office of Personnel Management, your annuity would be prospectively restored to what it would have been had you not elected a survivor benefit.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. I am a widow 77 years old of a 100% disabled Veteran and would like to remarry. He he passed away 5 years ago. Would I loose my medical benefits? since I am in need of such and couldn’t afford to pay for any medical service either. I had triple B
    Bypass and I’m in remission from Lymphoma among other problems.

    • Because this is a site for federal employees and retirees, we aren’t able to answer your question. You’ll have to check with the carrier that is providing your survivor benefits. If they are uncertain, you’ll have to check with his former branch of service.

Leave A Reply