Restoration of annuity


Q. My mother-in-law just died, and my father-in-law is a civil-service retiree. Upon his retirement, they elected to lower his retirement check so that, if he should die first, she would be left with more of his retirement. Can he get that extra income added back to his retirement check? If so, what does he need to do? Also, what steps does he need to take to remove her from insurance?

A. Your father will have to call the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at 1-800-767-6738 and provide them with proof of his wife’s death. OPM will then cancel his designation of beneficiary for life insurance and prospectively restore his annuity to what it would have been if he hadn’t elected a survivor annuity benefit for her.


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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


    • No, that isn’t indicated on your annuity statement. If you were married before you retired, you were required by law to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse. You would have also confirmed that on a Standard Form 2808 (CSRS) or 3102 (FERS). If you married after retirement, electing a survivor annuity was optional. If you did do that, you would have had to write OPM and make the required deposit. Note: You can always call OPM at 1-888-767-6738 and ask them to check your file.

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