Survivor benefits


Q. My husband passed away as a CSRS employee with over 30 years service. Would I be eligible to collect his pension as well as Social Security on his record. And, as my Social Security is less than his, would the CSRS Social Security be affected?

A. You are automatically entitled to an annuity and to the greater of the two Social Security benefits. To receive them, you’ll have to immediately report his death to OPM and the Social Security Administration. Your late husband’s personnel office can help you do that.


About Author

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


  1. I retired from Federal Service in 2006 under the CSRS program.. My first wife received half my pension until her death. In 2013 I remarried a Federal retiree who is under the FERS program. If one of us pass first will the survivor be eligible for any of our spouses pension.

    We are both collecting SSA benfits but her whole is larger than mine.

    • You would not be entitled to a survivor annuity unless she elected one for you within two years of the date you married. And she would not be entitled to one unless you elected one for her within that same time limit.

  2. What happens if i pass my husband is undet csrs old sytem therefore no ss was taken from his pay and ss is lower than mine what would he get if i pass 1st

    • If he died, you’d receive the larger of the twp Social Security be benefits. If you died, any Social Security benefit you receive would be subject to the government pension offset provision of law, which would probably cancel out his entitlement to a Social Security benefit based on your employment

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