Insurable interest vs. survivor annuity


Q. I am a retired federal employee under CSRS Offset. My male partner and I are getting married soon. My pension is set up so he has an insured interest. I took a reduction in my monthly annuity, so if he survives me, he will get a portion of my pension. I believe it is 35 percent. As married spouses, how will this change? What percentage would he get? Would my annuity be reduced some more for him to receive the spousal as opposed to insured interest annuity?

A. According to the Office of Personnel Management, “If an annuitant marries the beneficiary of the insurable interest annuity, the annuitant can change the survivor election from an insurable interest survivor annuity to a regular spouse’s survivor annuity by filing an election with OPM within two years of the marriage. Because the annuity has already been reduced to provide the insurable interest annuity, and because the reduction for the insurable interest is at least equal to, and in most cases greater than, the reduction to provide the spouse’s annuity, there is no additional cost to make the election. In many cases, the annuitant’s gross monthly rate will prospectively increase as the result of the election to convert the insurable interest survivor benefit to the spouse’s survivor benefit.”

To make the election, complete a Standard Form 2801 (available at and send it to OPM, Retirement Operations Center, P.O. Box 45, Boyers, PA 16017.


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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