Survivor benefits, state retirement and Social Security


Q. My husband recently retired as a civilian working on a military base as a federal employee. Since I will have my own retirement (state of Virginia and Social Security), we opted for only a 20 percent survivor benefit for me should he die. Did we make a mistake? Since I can draw my own state retirement and Social Security, will this render me ineligible to draw his federal retirement should he die, since I will be drawing my own retirement? Are we wasting money by having that spousal benefit deduction taken from his check?

A. I don’t know if 20 percent was the right amount. What I do know is that you’ll be able to receive it, your own annuity and your Social Security benefit.


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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