Marriage, retirement and age


Q. I expect to marry a woman from abroad about two years after I retire. Does our age difference factor into her spousal annuity?

A. While her age doesn’t matter, when you marry and elect a survivor annuity does. If you marry before you retire, your annuity will be reduced to provide for that benefit (around 10 percent (CSRS) or exactly 10 percent (FERS)). If you marry after you retire and elect a survivor benefit, there will be two reductions in your own annuity: the standard reduction and a permanent actuarial reduction to pay the survivor benefit deposit. The deposit equals the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to you each month since you retired, plus 6 percent interest. The amount of the deposit would be divided by an actuarial factor based on your age on the date your annuity is reduced to provide for the 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

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