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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

What requirements must I fulfill if I am married and decide not to provide a survivor benefit for my spouse when I retire?

If you are married when you retire and you chose not to provide a spousal survivor benefit, you must obtain your spouse's consent to the election. The consent form, which is part of the application for (Civil Service (CSRS) PDF File [930 KB] or Federal Employees (FERS) PDF File [448 KB] Retirement Systems) benefits, must be completed before a notary public or other official authorized to take oaths.

The spousal consent requirement may be waived if it is shown that the spouse's whereabouts cannot be determined. A request for a waiver must be accompanied by:

  • a judicial determination that the spouse's whereabouts cannot be determined, or
  • affidavits by the employee and two other persons, at least one of whom is not related to the employee, attesting to the efforts made to locate the spouse and the inability to do so. The employee should submit other documentary evidence, such as newspaper stories about the spouse's disappearance.

The spousal consent requirement can be waived based on exceptional circumstances if the employee presents a judicial determination that exceptional circumstances warrant a waiver. The order must state that:

  • state that the case before the court involves a Federal employee who is retiring;
  • the employee's spouse was given notice and an opportunity to be heard in the matter;
  • the court considered 5 USC 8339(j)(1) and 5 CFR 831.618(b) as it relates to a waiver of the spousal consent requirements for a married Federal employee to elect an annuity without reduction to provide a survivor benefit to a spouse at retirement; and
  • the court finds that exceptional circumstances justify waiver of the spousal consent requirement.

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