Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Survivor annuity

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Q. I am a CSRS employee. If I elect survivor benefits and my nongovernment spouse dies before I do, will my annuity return to the full amount? If I should die before him, will he receive my full amount or the survivor amount? Does it matter if I elect a lower survivor benefit annuity — that is, not 55 percent?

A. If you elect a survivor benefit for your spouse and he dies before you, your annuity will be restored to what it would have been if you hadn’t made that election.

If you die before he does, he’ll receive 55 percent of the annuity you were receiving when you died. You may only elect less than a full survivor annuity with the signed and notarized consent of your spouse.

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