Same sex spouse benefits


Q. I retired as of March, 2013. At that time, same-sex marriages were  not recognized by the federal government. I designated my spouse as a person of insurable interest when I retired and submitted my paperwork. Now, I would like to process the annuity selection as spouse with a 50%  benefit. However, the OPM specialist working on my case has said that my status as single at the time of retirement means I must stick with the former choice.

Does it matter?  Isn’t my spouse entitled to benefits regardless?

A. According to OPM, “It can be done. You should write to our Boyers, Pa., office. There is an entire unit devoted to all thing ‘DOMA’ and ‘same sex’ that can assist. The adjudication would be done first and then the customer notified regarding the difference owed. The customer can then decide to proceed or not.”

Here’s the address: U.S. OPM, Retirement Services and Management, P.O. Box 45, Boyers, PA 16017-0045.


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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