Marrying after retirement and survivor annuity


Q. If I should marry after I have already retired from federal service, could I change my annuity status from not married, no spousal annuity selected, to married with a spousal annuity elected so my wife can receive some money after I pass away? Or is it too late once you retire and file as single?

A. You can elect a survivor annuity for your new spouse within two years of your marriage. If you do, there will be two reductions in your annuity: the standard one to pay for the survivor annuity 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 retirement, plus 6 percent interest. The reduction is determined by dividing the amount of the deposit by an actuarial factor for your age on the date your annuity is reduced to pay for the survivor benefit. To find out what the cost would be, call the Office of Personnel Management at 888-767-6738 and talk to a benefits specialist. When you submit the paperwork, OPM will tell you what the cost would be. Then you can make a decision.


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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