Browsing: SURVIVOR BENEFITS

Q. My husband wasn’t married at the time of retirement in 1993. When we got married, he didn’t provide a survivor benefit for me. Now we’ve been married for 18 years. If he dies will I be able to get a monthly benefit check? If not, can he do something about that now? A. Unfortunately, it’s too late. To provide you with a survivor annuity, he would have had to agree to a reduction in his annuity to pay for that benefit within two years of the date of your marriage.

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.

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…

Q. I’m 58 years old and will be retiring at the end of the year. I’ll be keeping my FEHB coverage. Currently, my wife – who is 52 years old – is covered under my FEHB plan. When I reach age 65, I will be covered by Medicare as my primary health provider, while my FEHB plan will be my secondary health provider. Will my wife continue to be under my FEHB plan as her primary provider? A. Since she won’t be old enough to qualify for Medicare, she’ll continue to be covered by your FEHB plan.

Q. I retired from the Civil Service Retirement System in 2012, and was divorced at the time. My ex-wife won’t receive a survivor annuity based on my divorce decree. I am going to get remarried this summer and will elect full survivor annuity for my new wife. I know my monthly annuity will be reduced, but I want to know if the reduction would be the same as if I had been married all these years, or will there be an additional amount deducted to make up for the years since I retired? A. If you marry and elect to…

Q. I’m a 60-year-old CSRS employee with 38 years of service. I plan on working another few years. If I die before I retire, will my wife automatically receive a full survivor annuity? I plan on selecting a full survivor annuity when I do retire, but wonder what would happen if I die before that. A. If you die before retiring, your widow would automatically receive a full survivor annuity. The only exception to this rule is if there is a court order for a former spouse that would result in part or all of that benefit going to him…

Q. I retired and my present benefit is $3,002 per month. What is the survivor benefit? A. The answer depends on your retirement system. If you are covered by CSRS, your survivor spouse would be entitled to 55 percent of what your current annuity would be if you hadn’t elected a survivor annuity. If you are covered by FERS, it would be 50 percent of what your current annuity would be if you hadn’t elected a survivor annuity.

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