The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.

Question: I plan on retiring in 2024. My significant other (non-federal employee) and I plan on getting married as well. In regards to health benefits and survivor annuity, what are the pros and cons we should consider when deciding to complete the marriage before or after I retire?

Reg’s Response: If you get married before you retire, adding her to your existing FEHB coverage would be a piece of cake, which your personnel office could help you slice. You’ll find the authorization for making that change in Code 1C of OPM’s Qualifying Life Events (QLEs) That May Permit Change in FEHB Enrollment.

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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.

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