Changing survivor benefits decisions


Q. My husband and I are civil service retirees. We elected not to provide survivor benefits to each other upon retirement several years ago. Is this irrevocable? I recently read something about the possibility of changing this election if the government declared an open season. I’ve never heard of that occurring for survivor benefits.

If this is true, does such an open season happen often? If could reverse our decisions, what type of lump sum or penalty would we incur to elect to provide the benefits?

A. There is no such thing as an open season for survivor benefits. The choice you made at retirement to not provide survivor benefits can’t be reversed.


About Author

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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