The following are questions submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. They are answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.
Question: I am a married, retired postal employee receiving a CSRS annuity. I chose the surviving spouse benefit. My wife is a private sector employee who is not yet retired. If I pass away first and my wife begins collecting a CSRS surviving spouse annuity and then retires and files for Social Security benefits under her own work record, will either of her benefit payments be reduced? And would it matter if she applies for Social Security benefits before or after I pass away?
Reg’s Response: If you were to die, your wife would be entitled to a full CSRS survivor annuity. That would be true whether she filed for a Social Security benefit based on her own record before or after you pass away.
Question: I am a CSRS retiree who enrolled in a Medicare advantage plan on 1 Mar 2022 and I want to suspend my FEHBP. I have a BCBS Plus One plan under FEHBP. My wife is 62, retired and has her own plan with her former employer (not FEHBP) that is her primary and my FEHBP is her secondary. If I die while my plan is suspended can my wife reapply to FEHBP for coverage during an open season or if she loses her plan?
Reg’s Response: No, she could not reapply. For her to continue that coverage, you would have to be enrolled in the Self Plus One option when you die.
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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.