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Frequently Asked Questions Benefits for LGBT Federal Employees and Annuitants

May retirees receiving an annuity elect a survivor annuity for a spouse? For retirees who have been receiving an annuity payable only during their lifetime then choose to have their annuity reduced to provide for a survivor annuity for a spouse acquired after retirement, is there a reduction to the retirees’ monthly annuity? Does the adjustment take into account the amount the retirees have already received?

If a retiree is married at retirement, an election for a survivor annuity benefit must be made at retirement, or if an annuitant wants to increase the amount of a survivor annuity provided to a spouse at retirement, the annuitant must elect that increase within 18 months of the retirement.

If the retiree is not married at retirement but then gets married after retirement, the election needs to be made within the 2-year period following the marriage.  If a person elects a survivor annuity for a spouse acquired after marriage, OPM must reduce the annuitant’s annuity by the cost of the survivor annuity benefit. Additionally, OPM must collect a deposit (through an actuarial reduction to the annuitant’s annuity) representing the amount the annuitant would have received had the survivor election been in place from the annuity commencing date to the effective date of the election, plus interest.

You can find more information about electing survivor annuity benefits after retirement by going to the Life Events webpage on Marriage/Divorce. You can also call contact OPM Retirement Services to talk about the specifics of your case.

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