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Frequently Asked Questions Retirement

How do I provide a survivor benefit for my new husband or wife?

If you get married after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse. You must make this election within two years of the date of your marriage.

Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), you can elect any portion of your annuity as a basis for the survivor benefit payable in the event of your death.

Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), a full benefit is 50 percent of your unreduced annual basic annuity and a partial benefit is 25 percent of your unreduced annual basic annuity.

If you remarry the same person to whom you were married at retirement, you cannot elect a survivor annuity greater than the one you elected at retirement.

There will be two reductions in your annuity if you elect to provide the survivor benefit. One will be the reduction to provide the survivor benefit. The first reduction depends the amount you elect for the survivor annuity.

Your annuity is also reduced by a permanent actuarial reduction equal to the difference between the new annuity rate with the survivor benefit and the old one without the survivor benefit since your retirement, plus 6 percent interest. In most cases, the actuarial reduction amount is less than 5 percent of your annuity. The actuarial reduction continues even if the marriage ends.

When you contact us, we will send you a statement describing the cost of the election and ask you to confirm your election.

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