Survivor annuity election


Q. I will be retiring the end of May. My wife and I are both federal employees, and she will continue to work for another year and a half.  We are both FERS employees. We’re on the fence regarding a spousal annuity. If I were to leave her a full spousal annuity, would I be able to change that to a partial at a later date? 

A. With the spouse’s consent, a survivor annuity election can be revoked, increased or decreased not later than 30 days after receipt of the first annuity payment. While you can change from having made no survivor election to an increased benefit within 18 months, the amount elected at retirement cannot be decreased.


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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

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