Survivor annuity


Q. I’m a FERS employee. I understand that when I retire I will have two survivor annuity options, either 50 percent or 25 percent of my full annuity. What does “full annuity” mean? Does it mean that my wife will get 50 percent of what my annuity would be before the 10 percent reduction to pay for it, or will she get 50 percent after the 10 percent is taken out to pay for the full survivor annuity?

A. If you die, she would get 50 percent of what your annuity would have been if your annuity hadn’t been reduced to provide that benefit. Further, her survivor annuity would be increased by any COLAs you received after you retired.


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


  1. My name is Michael Ross. My father was a postal employee of over thirty years. He died in 2006
    His wife and my mother recently passed. I am their disabled son, have been before I was 18 years
    old. Mom and I lived and shared expenses(I helped with my SSI payments) and I was covered under his insurance policy and believe I will continue to be as long as his retirement insurance premium is paid. As the surviving disabled child am I entitled to receive any other benefits, such as his retirement income,
    which my mother received until her passing. Thank you for your time and efforts

    • The survivor benefit your mother was receiving was based on your father’s work record. While that benefit ended with your mother’s death, you will continue to be entitled to a children’s survivor benefit. However, because you have no living parent that benefit will be increased from $522 per month to $627 per month.

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