Widow’s benefit


Q. My husband is deceased and left me with a survivor annuity. He was a Civil Service Retirement System employee with 42-plus years. I retired at 52 with my own FERS service. When I turned 62 they discontinued my FERS Annuity Supplement. I am planning on starting my Social Security soon. Will I continue to receive his CSRS survivor annuity and my own FERS annuity along with my Social Security? I was told by a friend that I could not have all three. Is this true?

A. No, it isn’t true. You’ll continue to receive all three.


About Author

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


  1. I will have 30 years Postal Service years in 2023. I’ll be 59. I’m a widow. I am supposed to get supplement from USPS, and at 60 Benefits for being a widow. Will I lose my supplement at 62? And when should I take my social security? How long does my widow benefits continue? Or do they stop? I’m confused.

    • When you apply for your Social Security benefit is up to you. However, by law the special retirement supplement ends at age 62 when you first become eligible for that benefit, whether you apply for it or not. While I don’t know which widow’s benefit you are referring to, it’s unlikely that it would be affected by your own annuity or the SRS.

      • Richelle Casey on

        The SS Office told me at 60 I get Widow’s (annuity) ???? I don’t know what it’s called. Whatever they said I would receive at 60 because he passed. When does that end? You said that the one lady would get all 3? What is ALL 3? And when does that end? My husband wasn’t a Postal Worker like me. He was a mechanic for Chevrolet, etc. So whatever they are referring to that I get at 60, when does that end? Do I get that, my retirement from the Postal Service and my Social Security too. Btw, I read an article that said I could use his benefits until I’m 70 and then I could take my social security then. I’m confused more-than-ever!

        • You can draw against your husbands Social Security as early as age 60 or anytime after that [widows benefits] but it is reduced for taking it early – it will not be the same amount as he would have gotten at his full retirement age if you take it before your full retirement age [Note there is a slight difference between full retirement age for widows benefits and your own benefit – but not that much. If you take your own SS benefit before your full retirement age – that is also reduced. You cannot receive both your SS and his SS at the same time – you have to take one or the other. You may take his first and allow yours to grow until your full benefit or up to age 70 for max benefit and then switch. Read more here https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/survivorchartred.html

      • Mr. Jones,
        I was medically retired from the Gov’t due to a career ending injury at age 60 and started receiving FERS benefits.
        I was widowed and met with Soc Security case worker who initiated my Soc Security Widowers benefit.
        The case worker told me that one income did not affect the other and I would simultaneously receive both!
        Two weeks later without warning I lost all but $79 of my $1,200 OPM FERS benefit!!
        I ended up homeless.

        • When you applied for FERS disability retirement, you were also required to apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). Under the law, for the first 12 months after reaching age 62, you were entitled to receive 60 percent of your high-3 average salary minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. After the first 12 months, you’d receive 40 percent of your high-3, minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. The rules governing the interaction of individual and survivor Social Security benefits are complex, you’ll need to go back to both OPM and the Social Security Administration and ask them to explain their positions. If that doesn’t resolve the matter, you should write to your members of Congress asking them to intervene on your behalf.

      • When you die, some one, such as a family member, friend or executor, will have to report your death to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. That can be done by calling their Retirement Information Office at 1-800-878-0500 or writing to the following address:
        U.S. Office of Personnel Management
        Retirement Operations Center
        P.O. Box 45
        Boyers, PA 16017-0045.
        In either case, a death certificate will have to be provided.

  2. I have been receiving a monthly annuity along with a $218 supplement. I called numerous times and get different answers. I just applied for widows benefits (SS) I’ll be 60 in January. I was told by the government I would continue to receive my annuity, health benefits but not the supplement #67 (on back of my yearly statement) and collect both widows benefits and social Security. My husband was under Fers not csrs..could someone please clarify if this is accurate? Also, how do I figure out how much federal tax gets taking out of the social security? Thank you

    • Your special retirement supplement would only be stopped before you reach age 62 if you were entitled to a Social Security benefit based on your own work record. As for your federal tax question, you’ll find out how that amount is determined in IRS publication 721.

      • Bonnie Potts on

        Hi , I will be retiring in a few years at age 60 . My husband is deceased ! He was civil service and I get a annuity monthly from him ! I plan on collecting social security survivor benefits . ( His ) at age 60 . Would I also be able to collect my bridge payment or special supplement from the post office until I’m 62 ?

        • Receiving Social Security spousal benefits would have no affect on either your entitlement to a FERS annuity or the special retirement supplement.

  3. Evelyn Castillo on

    I am a widow for two years and I am receiving a federal pension and also my social security, I’m 67 years old. If in the future I get married again I can lose my federal pension?

  4. My father worked for the post office until retiring about 9 years ago. He is soon to pass after a battle from cancer.

    Upon his death does his pension end? Or is what is left of his pension paid out or given to a listed “survivor”?

    He was divorce at the time of retirement and after six years ended up remarrying there same woman, oddly.

    It is assumed with this recent remarriage, that the spouse will get whatever is left of his pension.

    She already draws money from a prior ex husband as is.

    • The contributions he made to the retirement fund were long since returned to him in his annuity payments. Whether a survivor annuity would be payable to his spouse would depend on whether he named her as his beneficiary when they remarried. Employees who are married when they retire are required by law to provide a survivor benefit for their spouse. Retirees aren’t.

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