Tax withholding


Q. Why wouldn’t the Office of Personnel Management give you an option to have taxes withheld if a survivor annuity is taxable? What a huge shock to find out that I owe $6,000!

A. According to OPM: “Once the survivor benefit has been finalized, the ‘Your Federal Survivor Benefits’ booklet is sent to the survivor, and it includes information about Federal taxes and how they can be withheld.” Perhaps you didn’t you get a copy of that publication. Or, if you did, you may have missed that sentence.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. concerned ex wife on

    I was married over 30 yrs and during marriage husband retired from Fed govt under crcs plan with over 30 yrs, no military. We divorced over 2 yrs ago and I am getting part of his retirement pension. If I remarry will I still receive this pension? We are both over 60. In divorce decree I will receive survivor annuity if he dies. Also, I won’t get much from social security, but will he get any of this or only if I die before he does? I assume since I am paying for federal employee plan insurance this can continue until i can apply for medicare.


    • Remarrying after age 55 would have no effect on the pension you are receiving, nor will it affect your entitlement to a survivor annuity. You can continue your health benefits coverage whether you remarry or not. If you were to die before your ex-husband, his own annuity would revert to what it would have been before it was offset to provide you with a benefit.

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