Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Getting survivor benefits early

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Q. My husband is a FERS retiree. He may eventually have to go to a nursing home. Can the nursing home take my designated survivor benefits? He has been retired for more than five years.

A. Your husband elected a survivor annuity for you, his own annuity was reduced to provide for it, and that election can’t be changed. If he were to die and you were to begin receiving that survivor benefit, it would depend on the arrangement you made with the nursing home whether they would have a claim against you for any remaining bills. It would be a good idea to check with an attorney before you agree to anything.

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