Survivor annuity


Q. I’m a FERS employee who is getting ready to retire. I plan to elect a full survivor benefit annuity for my wife. Will it be increased by COLAs or change with age?

A. If you elect a full survivor benefit, your basic annuity will be permanently reduced by 10 percent. If you die, your widow will receive a survivor annuity that equals 50 percent of your unreduced annuity; in other words, the annuity you would have received before you made the survivor election. That survivor annuity will be increased by any cost-of-living adjustments that were made to retiree annuities following your retirement. Any future COLA increases following your death will also be applied to her survivor annuity.


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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

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