Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Military-civilian-VA benefit breakdown

Bookmark and Share

Q: I retired from the Army in 2007 and receive both military retirement pay and Veterans Affairs Department disability pay. I immediately went to work for the federal government under the Federal Employees Retirement System. When I retire from government employment, will I be paid all of the following: military retirement pay, VA disability pay, FERS retirement pay and Social Security benefits?

A: Yes, you would be able to receive all four benefits. Just remember that your FERS retirement annuity would be based solely on your years of civilian service unless you chose to make a deposit for your years of active-duty service and waived your military retired pay.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Setting up a survivor annuity

Bookmark and Share

Q: My 76-year-old mother got married last year to a 76-year-old man. After they got married, they were getting about $5,000 a month from his Civil Service Retirement System annuity and about $1,500 a month from her Social Security. Sadly, he had a massive heart attack two weeks ago and passed away. They had been married 11 months.

This gentleman had told my mother that he had named her as the beneficiary of his survivor annuity and that she would receive about $3,000 a month if he died first. Will my mother’s $1,500-per-month Social Security be affected by this annuity? Basically, will she receive $4,500 per month, or something less?

A: Your mother would only be eligible for a survivor annuity if her late husband elected to provide one for her and accepted two reductions in his annuity. The first reduction would be to pay for the benefit; the second would pay for a deposit that equals the difference between the new annuity and the annuity he received each month after he retired, plus 6 percent interest. Simply naming her as his beneficiary in a will wouldn’t entitle her to a survivor benefit. To find out if he took the right steps to provide her with one, call the U.S. Office of Personnel Management at 888-767-6738. After reporting his death, ask whether you mother is entitled to a survivor annuity.

Tags: , , , ,

The end of retirement annuity

Bookmark and Share

Q: My uncle’s ex-wife has been receiving half of my uncle’s retirement annuity since he retired. She never remarried and is now claiming that she can pass on her portion of the annuity when she dies. She wants to leave the annuity to her church. Can she do this?

A: No, she can’t. Her survivor annuity will end with her death.

Tags: , ,