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Effect of Marriage on Federal Employees Benefit

You must inform your personnel office if you are a government employee at the time of your marriage. In this case, there are two compelling justifications. First, a survivor annuity for your spouse is a legal requirement. When an employee who is married retires, they must provide their spouse with a full survivor annuity unless the spouse agrees in writing to a lesser sum or no annuity at all. Under CSRS, that amount can be as high as 55 percent of your annuity entitlement or as low as $1 a year. Second, it’s important to let your spouse know so they won’t have to deal with any problems after your death. Whether or not you inform OPM of your marriage following retirement is your choice. Providing a survivor annuity for your spouse is entirely optional. A divorce is possible, but it must be filed within two years of the wedding. Your annuity would be decreased in two ways to help cover the cost of this benefit: first, by the amount needed to pay for the survivor annuity, and second, by a fixed amount assessed by an actuary. TSP beneficiaries can access the beneficiary designation form in the My Account section of www.tsp.gov; you can also access all other forms at www.opm.gov/forms. Consider a scenario where you get married while participating in the self and family option of the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. In that case, you need to notify your health plan that you now have a spouse. The rules differ when transitioning from self-only to self-plus-one coverage (or self-and-family coverage if you’ll additionally be covering a dependent kid or children). You can join the FEHB program if you still need to. The Standard Form 2809 must be completed 31 days before the wedding and 60 days afterward to make any enrollment modifications. You may also switch from one FEHB plan or option to another upon marriage. If you’re like the vast majority of federal workers, you signed up for the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program (FEGLI) the moment you started working for the government. If so, you likely completed a beneficiary designation form to specify the people you wanted to inherit the policy’s funds upon your passing. It would be best if you made that modification after you get married. The SF 2823 form is used for this purpose, whether employed or retired. To enroll in FEGLI for the first time or to enhance your current coverage, you must have had a “qualified life event,” and marriage is one such event. Human resources require an SF 2817 form to be submitted within 60 days. Without a beneficiary designate, the proceeds will go to your spouse according to the standard order of precedence. Similar to the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), a beneficiary designation is optional for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) (Form TSP-3). If so, revise the document to name your spouse as the sole or primary beneficiary. If you didn’t, your spouse would be entitled to the money first under the customary precedence sequence for such situations. Also, check and update your Designation of Beneficiaries (SF 2808 (CSRS) or 3102 (FERS)) in case your retirement system offers a lump sum payment upon your death.

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Bio:
Mack Hales has spent the past 4 decades helping clients prepare for retirement and manage their finances successfully. He also works with strategies that help clients put away much more money for their retirement than they could in an IRA or even a 401k. We involve the client’s CPA and/or their tax attorney to be sure the programs meet the proper tax codes.Mack works with Federal Employees to help them establish the right path before and after retirement. The goal is to help the client retire worry-free with as much tax-free income as possible and no worries about money at risk of market loss during retirement.•Mack has resided in Gainesville, GA since 1983, so this is considered home. Mack is married to his wife of 51 years, has two boys and five grandchildren.

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Mack Hales

Mack Hales has spent the past 4 decades helping clients prepare for retirement and manage their finances successfully. He also works with strategies that help clients put away much more money for their retirement than they could in an IRA or even a 401k. We involve the client’s CPA and/or their tax attorney to be sure the programs meet the proper tax codes. Mack works with Federal Employees to help them establish the right path before and after retirement. The goal is to help the client retire worry-free with as much tax-free income as possible and no worries about money at risk of market loss during retirement. ​ Mack has resided in Gainesville, GA since 1983, so this is considered home. Mack is married to his wife of 51 years, has two boys and five grandchildren.

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