Survivor annuity


Q. I’m a 79-year-old single federal retiree in CSRS. If I marry a woman 10 years younger, what percentage of my retirement will she receive when I die? I also am a military retiree with Medicare and Tricare for Life, so I wouldn’t need the civilian health insurance.

A. As a CSRS retiree, you could elect any amount of annuity for your spouse, from $1 a year to 55 percent of your annuity. To pay for it, there would be two reductions in your annuity. The first would be the standard reduction to provide for the survivor benefit. The second would be an actuarial reduction to pay the survivor benefit deposit. That deposit would equal the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to you for each month since you retired, plus 6 percent interest. The first reduction would be eliminated if the marriage ended in the death of your spouse or divorce; the second reduction would be permanent. Note: The difference in age between you and your spouse has no bearing on the election of a survivor annuity.


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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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