Survivor benefit, FEHB


Q. If an employee retires and elects an insurable interest for his spouse, will that payment be a monthly payment or a lump-sum payment? Also will the spouse be able to continue in FEHB if the annuitant had self and family coverage?

A. First things first. You are required by law to provide a full survivor benefit to your spouse unless 1) there is a court order assigning that benefit to a former spouse or 2) she agrees in writing to a lesser amount or none at all. The insurable interest annuity is designed to provide a benefit to someone dependent on you but not otherwise entitled to a survivor annuity. It’s my understanding that if your spouse is covered under an FEHB self and family option and entitled to an annuity, she will be eligible to continue that coverage when you die. To be sure, check with your personnel office.


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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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