Can I change my mind about providing a survivor benefit after retiring?
If you are married at retirement, you may change your decision not to provide a survivor annuity or you may increase a survivor annuity amount elected, up to 18 months after your annuity begins. Your new election must be made in writing on Form SF 2801 for CSRS, Form SF 3107 for FERS, available at

If you make such a change later than 30 days after the date of your first regular monthly payment, you must pay (1) a deposit representing the difference between the reduction for the new survivor election and the original survivor election, plus (2) a percentage of your annual annuity. Under FERS, this percentage is 24.5 percent of your annual annuity (at retirement) if you are changing from no survivor benefit to a full (50 percent) survivor benefit, and 12.25 percent if you are changing from none to a partial (25 percent) benefit or from a partial benefit to a full benefit.

Under CSRS, this percentage is 24.5 percent of the amount of the increase from the original base to the new survivor base. That increase can be in any amount up to a full (55 percent) survivor annuity. Interest on the deposit must also be paid, chargeable at the same rate used for other retirement system deposits and redeposits.

2021 Digital Almanac

Stay Connected

Latest Forum Posts

Ask the Expert

Have a question regarding your federal employee benefits or retirement?

Submit a question