Q. I worked in the civil service program for 34 years and retired in 1998. I named my wife as the survivor annuitant.
In August 2005, she and I divorced. Even though the annuity was not mentioned in the divorce documents, I did not change the designation. Now I have been residing with a significant other for more than six years.
I would like to marry this woman and name her as the annuitant for my federal retirement. With no mention of the annuity in the divorce documents, can I make this change? If so, and since I have continually made the monthly adjustment to my retirement for a survivor annuitant, can this change become effective immediately, or must we conform to the nine-month waiting period?
A. Anyone electing a survivor annuity after retirement will have two deductions made in his annuity. First is the standard deduction to pay for the survivor annuity, an amount that depends on the amount of survivor annuity elected. Second is a permanent actuarial deduction to pay the survivor benefit deposit. The deposit equals the difference between the new annuity rate and the amount of annuity paid to you for each month since retirement, plus 6 percent. Only OPM can tell you how much of the total bill would be offset by the fact that you didn’t have your annuity restored after your divorce. You’ll have to start by calling OPM at 1-888-767-6738 and talking to a benefits specialist. What I can tell you is that the fact that you didn’t have your annuity restored wouldn’t alter the nine-month requirement.