Deceased spouse


Q. My father retired from the federal government and elected a survivor benefit for my mother. She recently passed away. He was told by someone in the Office of Personnel Management that he couldn’t name me to receive that a survivor benefit. Is this right?

A. Yes, it is. Only a spouse (or a former spouse under a court order) can receive a survivor benefit. When your mother passed away, he should have informed the Office of Personnel Management. At that point, the reduction in his annuity to provide for a survivor benefit would have been eliminated and his annuity would have been restored to what it would have been without that election. He can start that process now by calling OPM at 1-888-767-6738 and notifying them of her death.


About Author

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

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