Retroactive annuity


Q. I retired a year-and-a-half ago. When my wife died, I informed OPM and sent them the paperwork needed to eliminate the reduction in my annuity to provide a survivor benefit for her. OPM recomputed my annuity and increased it, but only for the months between when she died and the present. Shouldn’t I have received a payment that was retroactive to the date I retired?

A. No. Because the law doesn’t provide for retroactive payments, OPM could only increase your annuity prospectively beginning with the month in which your wife died.


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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


    • If you are not getting an annuity now, you may be referring to claiming a Deferred Retirement annuity. You will have to file the appropriate form with OPM in order to get that. CSRS is OPM Form 1496-A, FERS is Form RI 92-19. Both are available on the OPM website.

  1. I am 72 years old and I am receiving my pension as a Government Retiree. I worked for 30 years as Civil Service Federal Government Employee. I was married for 16 years to a military , got divorced. He passed away in 2001. If congress approved the Windfall elimination provision will I be entitle to collect SS on his account?.

    • You may be thinking of the government pension offset provision. The GPO reduces or eliminates the Social Security benefit of anyone who is receiving an annuity from a retirement system where they didn’t pay Social Security taxes. Unfortunately. Congress has shown little interest in eliminating that provision.

  2. kevin whitney on

    Hello. I retired from a government position and my last day of work was 4/8/20. I was informed that I would start receiving the pension amount calculated in apx 2-3 months. When I do receive the first payment. will this be retro active pay back to 4/8/20.

    Thank you
    Kevin Whitney

    • No, it won’t be retroactive to April 8. Because you retired after March 31 (FERS) or April 3 (CSRS), your first month’s annuity began to accrue on May 1 and would first be payable on June 1.

  3. I am expecting a substantial retroactive payment from OPM that goes back to February 2018. Am I entitled to interest on this retro payment? A reference with your response would be great.

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