Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Spouse’s death and new survivor benefit request

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Q. Consider a retired federal employee who was married and has chosen a spouse survivor benefit at the time of retirement. If the spouse dies and the annuitant remarries:

1. Are further annuity reductions needed to cover the new spouse?

2. Is the nine-month waiting period still required?

3. If the original survivor benefit was less than full, can the benefit be increased (with increased annuity reduction)?

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Spousal health insurance

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Q. I am a federal retiree, and my husband is on my health insurance.

Will he be able to keep my health premium if I die before him?

A. Yes, if you elected a survivor benefit for him when you retired.

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Insurance after remarrying

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Q. My health insurance is carried by Rural Carrier Benefit Plan because my husband was a rural carrier for 26 years plus military time. He passed away seven years ago, and I receive a portion of his retirement pay. If I remarry, can I continue to carry the same insurance? I am 75.

A. Yes.

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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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