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

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