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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

What elections are available to provide a survivor benefit for my spouse when I retire?

You may make one of the following elections regarding a benefit to be paid to your spouse in the event of your death:

  • no survivor benefit;
  • partially reduced annuity; or
  • a fully reduced annuity.

These elections may provide the following benefits:

  • no survivor benefit;
  • a full or partial annuity for a spouse;
  • a full or partial annuity for a former spouse; or
  • a combination of the two.

Things to consider when making the election include:

  • your spouse's future retirement benefits based on his or her own employment;
  • other sources of income;
  • whether the other sources of income are protected against inflation with Cost-of-Living Adjustments; and
  • your spouse's need for continued coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.

There is an opportunity to increase survivor benefits within 18 months after the annuity begins. However, this election may be more expensive than one made at retirement.

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