Browsing: spouse benefits

Q. When I married a federal retiree, she changed her health benefits and life insurance coverage to include me. While she planned to elect a survivor benefit for me, she didn’t. I only learned that when I reported her death and applied for a survivor annuity. Now OPM has told me that I’m not entitled to a survivor annuity and as a result am not entitled to coverage under the health benefit program. Is that right? A. Yes, it is. Because you didn’t marry her until after she had retired, she wasn’t required to provide you with a survivor annuity. Since she…

Q. My husband retired under CSRS in 2015 and had his annuity reduced to provide a survivor benefit for me. He was 59 when he died in 2018. Along the way he had paid into Social Security for enough years to qualify for a Social Security benefit at age 62. I also am a federal employee, under CSRS and still working. I was told that I’d be eligible to receive some of his Social Security benefits until I retire. Is this true? A. Yes, it is. As long as you are working, you are entitled to a Social Security survivor benefit based…

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…

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…

Q. If I get married after I retire and elect a survivor annuity for my husband, I understand that I would need to pay the difference of what I would have paid had we been married at retirement plus 6 percent interest. For example, if I retired in January and married in June, if I understand this correctly, I need to wait 9 months for it to be effective so 9 plus 5 (months I would be married) would equal 14 months. If, for example, the difference in the annuity would be $50, I would owe $50×14 = $700 plus…

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.

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