Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Paying for survivor annuity

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am not married, and will retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System. After I retire, if I then get married, can I then elect survivor annuity? If so, what is required to make the election?

A. Yes, you can, as long as you do that within two years after the date of your marriage. To pay for the survivor annuity, there will be two reductions in your annuity. The first will be the standard reduction to provide for the survivor benefit. The second will be an actuarial reduction to pay the survivor benefit deposit. That deposit equals the difference between the new annuity rate and the annuity paid to you for each month since you retired, plus 6 percent interest. The first reduction will be eliminated if the marriage ends in the death of your spouse or divorce; the second reduction is permanent.


  1. Annuity Rates UK Says:
    May 20th, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    If you are divorced and a court has given a survivor annuity to your former spouse, you may still elect a survivor annuity for your current spouse. Doing this can protect him or her if your former spouse loses entitlement to that annuity, for example, by remarrying before age 55.

  2. Thomas Williams Says:
    May 23rd, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I just did some reading on the OPM website and called OPM. Here is what I understand about an additional requirement: After the remarried annuitant requests survivor benefits, the marriage must last at least nine months, at which time the reduced annuity will begin. If the annuitant dies during the nine month wait, the survivor will not receive benefits.

  3. T. Williams Says:
    May 24th, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I think there is another requirement. The marriage must last 9 months, and the annuitant must not die before that period has passed. Otherwise, the spouse will not receive any survivor benefits. After 9 months has passed, if the marriage continues and both annuitant and spouse are living, the annuity reductions begin, and the spouse would be entitled to the survivor benefit selected.