Survivor benefits and retirement timing


Q. I am considering getting married before I retire. Is there a time frame you have to be married for your spouse to receive survivor benefits?

A. Not if you marry before you retire. However, if you marry after retiring, there is a nine-month waiting period before the election of a survivor annuity is effective.


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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


  1. Where is it referenced that there is no specific amount of time an employee must be married to elect a survivor election at retirement?

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