Reduced annuity

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Q. I retired under CSRS in 1997. I had a reduced annuity until my wife died in 2009. I restored my annuity to full status. I remarried in October 2014 and applied for reduced annuity for my second wife. I now find that I have my annuity reduced further by some actuarial formula, which says I owe some $59,000 to the government as if I were still under a reduced annuity program after the death of my first wife. That’s under the provisions of Title 11, USC, Section 11002, of Public Law 103-66, which I am unable to find and read. What is this nonsense? I was a widow for some five years until I remarried. What a terrible penalty to someone who remarries. What about a retiree who would remarry or marry after 20 years of retirement? If I had known about this, I would have never applied for a reduced annuity.
A. While I can understand the reason for your dismay, the rules governing the cost of a post-retirement election of a survivor annuity are clear. You’ll find them at
www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/csrsfers-handbook/c052.pdf. Just scroll to Section 52A5.1-1.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

2 Comments

  1. Russell Spadea on

    I have a follow up question on the above question on reduced annuity. Since there are two reduction to someones salary, one for the survivor benefits for the new wife which reduces your salary and the second is the annuity reduction which covers the amount of time that you did not have survivor benefits between the two marriages. The first reduction, the survivor benefits, reduces your gross salary so that you pay reduced taxes to the IRS. Does the second reduction, the Post-Retirement Marriage Actuarial Reduction get taken of your gross pay so that you do not have to pay taxes twice on this money. Once when you did not have either reduction and now when you are paying the annuity reduction back.
    Thanks for your time and effort.
    May the Lord Jesus Bless You.

    • The permanent actuarial reduction to pay for the survivor benefit requires that you make a deposit to the retirement fund. The deposit is not tax deductible. P.S. You keep mentioning someone’s salary. Employees receive salaries; retirees receive annuities. The reductions apply only to the annuities of those who are marrying after they retire.

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