Q. My husband was retired from the U.S. Forest Service 12 years ago and receives a pension. His first wife died a year after he retired, and the pension plan was still deducting the survivorship amount from his pension. We married in 2007, and he realized that I am not eligible for the survivorship because he did not change the spouse information in the time allowed. They are going to refund the survivorship deduction over the last 11 years, but is there anything else we can do to become eligible? What if we divorce and then remarry?
A. He can still elect a survivor annuity for you right now. However, he’ll have to ask OPM to tell him how much that benefit would cost and then compare it with what he’ll be receiving in his refund. Divorcing and remarrying would make no sense. The cost of electing a survivor annuity would be the same and that survivor benefit wouldn’t be effective until you had been married for nine months.